Got a nice ride in on Tuesday. Dropped Kim at the airport, came back to my Mom’s and then headed NW towards South Mountain park. I’ve always loved the climb up to the towers and was looking forward to the ride. It takes a little over an hour to get there, but the beauty of the greater Phoenix metro area is that almost every road has a bike lane. So getting there is pretty easy. The weather began to look ominous as I approached the park entrance, but luckily nothing ever came of it. The wind was brutal at times, but was mostly a tailwind going up. Once in the park I broke out my mp3. I had a good mix of music that was prepared for the assault (list below). The intention wasn’t to kill myself, but push the pace near threshold. The climb goes up for about 2.5 miles, then rolls and twists for about a mile, then the right turn to the towers. The finish is a steep pitch…my guess would be over 15%. In any case, it puts the hurt on. My average power for the climb was 331w for 21:37 minutes of climbing. According to the AZ hill climb page the record is 18:43. I’ve got some work to do. They’ve paved the park and climb road since I last climbed it (back in 2002 sometime I guess) which made for a great ride. The route…
The park is a landmark in Phoenix and one of the largest city parks in the world at over 16,000 sq acres. It has great mtb and hiking trails and is easily accessible from all sides. The only downside is the inversions you see when you get to the top. The smog gets trapped under warm upper atmospheric temperatures and sits like a crap blanket over the city. The day I went was too windy to allow for this stagnation, so no smog poo view for me.
I road home after and enjoyed the afternoon with my Mom pulling out an Olive tree roots from the tree she had removed. Good workout for the arms and back 🙂
Wednesday I road in the afternoon after my Mom put me to work pulling up carpet from her bathroom and hallway. Actually, it was nice to help out around the house and make myself more useful than a cycling slouch just taking up room and coming home smelling like ass. I road to the Wednesday night crits they have in Tempe north of the Town Lake. The course sucked – a parking lot crit – but it was fast and gave me more practice in crit racing. After the 1.5 hour ride to the race I jumped in the 4/5 group and pinned it at the front. My plan was to just go hard for the shortened (due to an earlier crash requiring a woman to get carted away by the meatwagon with broken teeth and a broken collarbone) race. Two guys attacked with 2 laps to go and I thought I could just sit on the front and reel them in, but I didn’t go hard enough near the end. I took 3rd. I had about 3 minutes of rest and then jumped in with the 3/4 race. I was hurting and struggle just to stay in the group. This race, besides me being tired, was noticeably faster than the previous – at it should be. Midway through the race things came around for me and I stayed near the front. With 2 to go I went to the front and drilled it again like the first race. However, this time I knew I stood little chance of taking it to the finish. In the 2nd to last corner guys started to come around so I pushed harder on the pedal, but in the last corner 4 guys had come around and I got pipped at the line for 5th – so I took 6th – just off the prize money. Nonetheless, I still made my entrance fee for both races with my 3rd place in the 4/5 race.
Thursday was a nice mellow ride south towards Sacaton and the VOS road race course. The hill was just as painful as I remember from the race on Saturday – as was the wind.
Well, I’ve got a mild tan going, good training in, and some frequent flier miles. Put some work in at Hotel de Casa Mama and enjoyed a nice hike with Mom at the San Tan mountains Thursday too. Great visit all in all.