Saturday, December 3, 2011

I've had the time of my life...

Cue the Dirty Dancing song....bring in Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze for the romantic dance lesson scene. Remember that mountain lodge they danced in? Well, it's about 30 minutes from my house and the place where dear hubby and I had our wedding reception 16 years ago. If you look closely at the picture above, you might just see "Baby" and "Johnny" behind me wishing they'd been riding bikes instead of dancing.

Wedding Day at Mountain Lake

I rode my trusty road bike, Ace, up the mountain to that lodge - Mountain Lake - today with Coach Jim. It was one of the things on my triathlon "bucket list." The resort closes for the winter so traffic is minimal and the road surface is great (other than one patch of ice and snow on the road sides at the top). I'd never done this ride, or anything like it, before and when I saw that the forecast for today looked sunny and mild for December (low 40s at 10 am), it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

The ride was just under 50 minutes up and about 12 minutes down! It reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner - all that work to get ready, and the family scarfs it down in no time.

Coach Jim circling around

I do love living in the mountains and this ride with Coach was great! I showed my kids the elevation chart and I think they were imagining that it was somehow as steep as the picture and I had to explain that the horizontal and vertical scales are different and that it curves around the mountain as it goes up. We went up steady and conservatively but had enough left to finish with a short all-out sprint at the top. We dropped down the mountain pretty fast, topping out around 36 mph which was plenty of speed for me. We were pleased we had dressed right for the temps/effort up and the windchill down.

This is the front side of the mountain with about 2100' of elevation gain and average 6.4% grade. The grade is far from overwhelming, but there's not much letup either. The back side, which is significantly more steep and challenging, is also on my to-do list, but much further down :-) The front side was plenty fun!!