The Route: GMR to Chrystal Lake and back.

Goals:  test food choices, saddle height, gearing, get Nate’s take.

It hurts.  We hammered up GMR (2300′) and now we are hammering up to Chrystal Lake (4000′).  It’s my first time to the lake.  The ProEco’s (Chris, Slayer and Jerry) are pulling away.  I’m in full diesel mode, 160 bpm.

I never wonder why I do this, I know why… because it feels so good and it quiets my over-active mind.

Unlike GMR, which is quite twisty, Chrystal Lake has long, lying stretches that look easy… Garmin speaks truth, 7-10% grades.  We are a lot higher.  Tall, thick pines reach above casting lonely shadows.

A 911 nearly spun out passing me down East Fork.  On this climb, multiple motos skim by.

The guys are waiting for me at the famous Cafe – basically an ancient burger shack that sells 12oz cans of soda and 16oz bottles of water with their burgers and burritos… I’m parched.  Chris is covered in his own salt.

We refuel, after 2 hours and 40 minutes to cover 6000’+ in 35 miles.

Time to go down.

Descending is the only time I’m able to fully concentrate on one thing, ever.  Everything is quite, everything is visible.  All my senses functioning beautifully.  It’s calming and I’m confident.  I’m an eagle…

About those goals:

Food… at a very fast tempo, I can’t eat.  I can only drink.  So, I’m going to have to go all liquid the first 100 of LoToJa.  My friend Paul Ruggiero, a high-level CTS coach, told me 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.  I couldn’t do that effectively today because:  one, the pace was to high to eat a Honey Stinger an hour; two, we stopped multiple times for water and food.  Next Saturday, I’m rolling out with 4 hours of food and not stop… which is how far we go until the first aid station in LoToJa.

Saddle height… so, I decided to give the POWER saddle in the correct width a try mainly because a lot of my friends love that saddle.  I didn’t get the position perfect and my knees are a tad tender.  I’m still not sure about the saddle.  The Romin should be in this week, I’m probably going to wind up going with it.

Gearing… ordered my 34t small ring for the front but didn’t have time to install it.  It would have been great today.  My 36t/28t is fine for GMR but Chrystal Lake’s pitches were just a little much over a long climb, and we have very long climbs in September.

Nate’s take… Nate has done LoToJa multiple times and I was anxious to hear the comparison between today’s climbs.  He said today’s climbs were steeper, and today’s pace faster.

(Garmin said 34 hours to recover, I actually find these assessments useful)

(Inside the Chrystal Lake Cafe)

(It was nice outside the cafe: ProEco’s Slayer on the right, Jerry on the left, and Chris)

(We are dudes in nature using… this stenching hut… we must be tired!)

(Couldn’t get enough of these big, burly dudes hugging each other before separating)

(Who else but Hartono does all you can eat sushi after an epic ride?!… we’re gonna miss this kid)