Ouray by Andy McKee
The Everest Challenge (EC) bicycle race and ride is coming up Sept. 27, 28. Two 100+ mile days, about 15,000 vertical feet of climbing each day. The EC is in the Bishop, California area, a climbing mecca on the eastern Sierra, the range of light. Here is a good graphic of the climbs involved. Antigravitycycling puts on the event. It is run spectacularly well and attracts a great community of riders. It is hard to train for.
I keep a riding diary of where I ride, for how long, who I met, things that stand out. Last week I rode about 20 hours, which is more than usual. To prepare for EC I’m climbing a lot and losing some weight. One thing I noticed today is I’m tired and grouchy. Why is that? These are signs that it is time to take a break! Looking back at the rides from last week I notice I didn’t do any easy rides. I rode Snowbowl Rd. (climbing from 7300′ to 9,250′ in just over 6 miles) twice on three different days, did the Wupatki-Sunset Crater loop from home, did Snowbowl plus the group ride around Mormon Lake on Saturday, and Snowbowl again Sunday, and took one day off the bike, which I always do. What’s missing are some easy rides.
Today I did a recovery ride, which for me means less than two hours, putting barely any pressure on the pedals (spin circles!), and avoiding any big hills (no Snowbowl!). Active recovery is even better than a day off. It is kind of like listening to your body and letting the training ferment and sending oxygen to the muscles for healing. My legs felt pretty good today but I’m guessing one more recovery ride may be a good idea tomorrow. Then something big on Wednesday coming back fresh. I enjoy the hard training days best but the discipline of being patient and allowing for resiliency may be the hardest part of the equation. I enjoy being outside and experiencing the weather and feeling the excitement of each day unfolding as I ride through places. The group ride was my favorite ride of the week. It is an improvisational community, different all the time. Someone visiting Flagstaff asked me once if I ever got tired of the San Francisco Peaks, our mountains above town. I never tire of them. I don’t get tired of the group ride either. The personalities from week to week are like the changing light on the mountain. It is never the same and always original with new energy. I love the bicycling life.