Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mount Baldy

Before when I was heavier, I HATED this climb. Now, it's my favorite. As a sprinter I won't be blasting up the climb anytime soon, but there is a certain sort of feeling one get's on an ascent. As I climb I feel like I am accomplishing something, like I am going somwhere...Instead of simply spinning around. Everytime I ask people if they want to climb to Baldy village no one answers the email or makes an excuse not to. The only person that will be game everytime is Chris DeMarchi. But he's Chris DeMarchi. While on that note it was Chris who showed me the beauty of climbing Baldy road. Suffering behind Chris (which inevitably happens on every ride with him) I have grown to love that road. Baldy is unique because of it's steepness, and if you go all the way to the switchbacks and the ski lifts, it's harder than Alp d'huez. I used to ride with music every ride, now I leave the ipod at home if I climb anywhere. I ride from down in the valley from my home to the foot of the climb, which takes about one hour. It's actually a steady climb all the way through Ontario, so it's mainly the small ring the whole ride up. One you get into the climb it is peaceful and quiet. I remember one day it was misty and a little foggy as I ascended, and all I could hear was my breath and my tires on the road. It's almost a spiritual experience. The climb starts to get rough at the second tunnel, but I can still stay in zone 3 comfortably now. By the time I hit hogsback ridge, at the gradient climbs I am more towards the red zone. I remember I couldn't even make it past the second tunnel and I would have to get off and go back down. It's a great feeling when you know you've gotten stronger and lighter. Of course, being 185 lbs it's still a chore. There is a slight reprieve after the sign and a small descent before the last climb into the village. I climbed up on Wednesday this week and no one was there. I usually stop at the post office to water up and head back down unless I am going to the icehouse or ski lifts. The best part about the ride is that once you are done it's downhill all the way home. It's takes me about 1 1/2 hours to get from home to the village, and about 27 minutes to get home. Pretty funny actually, since I am going up the steep part at like 7-8 mph and down at 55 mph. Anyway, this has now become my favorite climb next to GMR-Baldy. GMR-Baldy is also a great ride, and a good test of your fitness since you can ride the whole climb without stops. Lot's of poeple ride to the climb but I take the hour to ride from home, it's a good way to warm up and get extra miles in.

No comments: