Monday, September 7, 2009

Road Climb: Little Cottonwood Canyon

Ouch! That hurt. I haven't been up Little Cottonwood on the road bike since I did it with Kris in 2007. I rode Butterfield Canyon a couple of times earlier this year and justified not doing Little C because I thought the former was a tougher climb. Well, I'm here to tell you that, in my opinion, Little Cottonwood is the hardest climb in the valley.

I haven't ridden with a heart rate monitor all year and my Suunto T6 recently died so I don't have any ride data other than mileage (which you already know) and time (which shall remain anonymous). Perceived exertion wasn't too bad except for the S Curves (killer headwind) and Tanners Flat (which always kicks my butt). There were a TON of cars on the road which kept the smell of burned rubber in the air all the way up. That smell is what Little Cottonwood is all about. The fact that cars struggle to make it up just proves how steep it is.

The wind kept changing - headwind, tailwind, cross wind. As the road turned so did the wind. This made for a more exciting than usual descent. 40+ mph and gusty wind don't mix well. Luckily I made it down safely (the new pavement on the top half is the sweetness!) and basically coasted all the way home. This was much appreciated as my legs were pretty toasty because, even though I wasn't pushing the pace, I didn't eat enough and ran out of gas between Snowbird and Alta.

Looking back I should have filled both bottles with Carborocket and brought my last Mung Bean Cake for fuel. Oh well, I limped in to the upper lot, ate a bar, drank some water and then headed down. At the 7-Eleven on the corner of 10000 S and 700 East I bought a Mexi Coke and banana which got me home without any further difficulty.


KanyonKris said...

Way to go hard on a holiday.

Mike said...

I agree. Lil' C is the hardest.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Driving up little c yesterday I was thinking I needed to ride it sometime soon. Then we got to Tanner's and I thought what a stupid idea it is to ride up that canyon. Way to hit it. I'm yet to ride it this year.

Anonymous said...

little cottonwood is a tough short climb!!

i think big cottonwood when you add guardsmans pass tot he top is a bit more tough though.