Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Don't Believe the Name

Ok, let's get one thing straight: Little Cottonwood Canyon is not little. As far as climbs go this baby is huge, massive, enormous. Just ask the finishers of the 2006 Tour of Utah what they thought about Stage 6! Once you hit the main climb it's game on until the top. Sure, after Tanner Flat is behind you the grade calms down to a manageable 6%-7%. However, you need to remember that the reason 6%-7% feels easy is because you just finished dealing with 8%-10%! The reality is that this climb doesn't ease up at all. There are no flat spots and no gentle downhills to catch your breath. It's game on from start to finish.

Given that I'm not much of a climber I was quite pleased with my effort. I started timing at the intersection of South Little Cottonwood Rd and Wasatch and stopped when I reached the pay station just before the pavement turns to dirt at the top of Alta. My time today was 1:13:20 which, compared to my previous best time of 1:18 set last fall, is nearly 5 minutes faster. It's nice to finally see some proof that I'm actually improving!

Kris put in a consistent, steady effort to climb Little Cottonwood for the first time. It's an intimidating canyon and he was excited to check it off his list of cycling "To Do's". Unfortunately, it doesn't get any easier the second and subsequent times up! However, understanding what is required and how to measure your effort does make a huge difference. The first time is always difficult as you don't know when to go hard and when to conserve.


Utah Mnt biker said...

Should I put it on my "To Do" list?

Unknown said...

If you're insane like me, sure! It was tough, but I was elated that I made it. Better have a triple or a compact double though.

UTRider was cranking well and topped out 6.5 minutes ahead of me - good job!