I PACKED MY BAGS LAST NIGHT PRE-FLIGHT, ZERO HOUR 8AM. The idea was to meet up with the fellas and leisurely stroll up the wash 20 miles then do the 9 mile climb up one of my faves. 90% dirt. 2 on gravel bikes, one MTB...
... but is an 80 mile ride with 9000' of vert ever really leisurely?
Two and a half hours in we were at the base of the climb. TBH, I was fine skipping it... and I doubt it would have taken much convincin' to scrap the plan and grab some donuts.
Funny how we can lean on each other and do crazy shtuff. Who the heck rides gravel bikes up a 9 mile rugged dirt road? People like us... you and me. As long as someone else is willing, it's on.
We were already behind schedule and we weren't about to busts any PRs on the way up.
But, it gave us time to chat.
I've ridden with Charlie for at least 15 years... but today, spinning along, we shared all kinds of new things about our lives. Just another reason to love on this sport of ours.
Then the conversation got serious.
Hey man, maybe we should turn around early.
I think I'm good.
It's right there! See, we'll be at the top in no time.
We made it.
Tired and salty.
I thought we'd be way, way, way, way, way off the pace. It wasn't a fast time, but it was respectable. Surprisingly.
We had a snack. I polished off my water.
To say I love this descent would be an understatement... I get a big smile and shove off.
Rocket Man comes into my head.
I think it's because being in the gravel position...
hands in the drops
flying over water bars
ripping at nearly 30 mph
over marble-sized rocks on hard pack
... it feels awesome, like I'm flying...
... burning the fuse alone...
... a 9 mile descent even at this speed...
...it's gonna be a long, long time to touchdown.
I almost forgot to tell ya... this is the inspiration for the KOM jacket. I developed specifically for this climb. Many times we are pressing hard for a good time or to test fitness.
It's not the kind of place to carry heavy clothes.
But, coming down can be cold as hell.
Fold it into it's own pocket and slide into your jersey pocket.
We use a very lightweight membrane fabric.
Wind stopping and water resistance are remarkable.
Plus, the fabric is stretchy so we cut the jacket to be aero... modern rocket men don't need parachutes.
Side note... I find myself using a vest and arm warmers less and less. The jacket folds up smaller, and is just as warm.
Stretch and HyperVolt