Saturday, July 14, 2007

I'm a wimp

Originally I had planned to race the Snowbird ICUP today but after my pre-ride Tuesday evening I pretty much decided to skip it. You see, the course just wasn't suited to my abilities. Not that I really have any abilities, but the few things I can sort of do ok on a mountain bike were not well served by this course. Basically you're either climbing or descending with a small amount of semi-technical singletrack thrown in to make you feel like you're not spending all of your time going up or down a cat track at a ski resort. Also, I should add that the downhill flat out sucks. I'm still learning to appreciate riding my mountain bike downhill but even with my limited dirt experience I know that the downhill at Snowbird is no good.

Anyway, my intention wasn't to dedicate this post to self-justification as the real reason I didn't race was alreay stated in the title. Let's just leave it at that.

So what I did do today was ride the Nebo Loop with Kris. I lived in Payson for 7 years, and while I only rode for 3 of those years, it was enough to make the move to Riverton painful. As RB can confirm, the riding in Utah County is fantastic. Each time I return to Payson I'm reminded of what I left behind. If it wasn't for the small fact that I work in downtown SLC I'd still be there.

We managed to get an early start, heading out from the church near the mouth of Payson Canyon at 7 am. We rode the loop clockwise, which meant we climbed first and finished with a hot 26 mile return to Payson via the frontage road along I-15 by way of Nephi, Mona and Santaquin. While the climb hurt (at 5,000+ feet of elevation gain I had no chance of avoiding pain!) our early start time resulted in very pleasant, cool temperatures on the way up. On the way down we ran into Kenny Jones and a group of other riders from Racer's in Provo heading up. I've never ridden the loop counter-clockwise but the thought of finishing with a nice, long descent is appealing. However, the climb up the south side, while a bit shorter, is much steeper and thus far I haven't had the courage to give it a go. Maybe later in the year...

Overall we managed to complete the 68.5 mile loop in just under 4:30. Kris' computer reported 5,500 total feet of elevation gain which sounds about right. If anybody with a GPS unit has ridden the Nebo Loop from the north I'd be interested to know the exact total elevation gain as well as the maximum altitude of the climb.

After the ride I pounded down a large bottle of chocolate milk which was good for a cool, refreshing 800 calories. However, I'm already hungry and am trying to figure out what burger joint I want to hit up for dinner. Nothing like a long, hard ride to bring out the craving for a burger, fries & a coke!

2 comments:

Kris said...

Thanks for inviting me on the ride. I enjoyed it, in the usual masochistic way. Since getting into road biking 3 years ago, the Nebo Loop has been on my list. To be honest, it was tougher than I expected. I was thinking it would be like the Alpine Loop (3,000') plus maybe another 1000'. But 5,500' and those rollers along the top took a toll on me. But it felt good to climb (even though I'm not in the best form right now) and the scenery and views are outstanding. The descent was fun, even though I took it easy since I didn't know the road. In focusing on the climb and descent I hadn't thought much about the return route from Nephi - turns out it added to the ride. I just love to get on a long stretch of road and settle into a nice rythm and pace. I started to cramp near the end - I don't think I've ever had cramps like that while cycling. And we had no bike problems and no wind to speak of. Overall a good ride.

Kris said...

I did a search for "Nebo Loop elevation" and as a fun coincidence found this GPS log from Adam Lisonbee. It seems the max elevation on the road is 9,290' - that's up there!