Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Zoo Hill Ride Report August 10, 2008

It was this steep.....

I rolled up to El Falcon’s place under partly sunny skies. To be specific, it was clear to the north and solid clouds to the south. After the usual fiddling, we departed south past Greenlake. A sprinkle of climbing and then down to Lake Union and on to the UW and then we just flew up the Arboretum. The traditional S-curve descent and we were tooling along Lake Washington to meet Clifton “the” Beast and start the ride “proper.”

Clifton was his usual cheerful self and after some pleasantries, the three of us were underway. The climb up to the I-90 bridge let me know that the Beast was sandbagging as he stayed glued to El Falcon’s wheel.

El Falcon was open to riding with us mortals as his traditional Sunday morning ride with the HPC group skips one week and month, and this was the week. Ironic then that as we hit Mercer Island along came over a dozen riders on expensive bikes with matching red Cycle University jerseys. The sight of this fast wheeling clan caused me to question my own balance between my affiliation and autonomy needs. The Beast fell right in with these guys and we rode with them for the next eight miles. This was the second instance of The Beast’s story about lacking fitness not matching up with what we saw today.

Stopping at a park to top off bottles El Falcon downed some CERA while The Beast and Crusher elected to stay with the more traditional HGH and Testosterone. Then we retraced out route to the base of Zoo Hill. The climbing started in earnest and my faithful VDO cycle computer indicated the grade quickly hit double digits. Up and up we went, staying together as the road wound its way up through the forest. Slugs were on the road, and I ‘m not referring to any riders. Although our pace dropped to single digits we kept going higher. Soon enough the road straightened out, but the lack of switchbacks only meant we could see the climbs before us.

El Falcon stood up opened a gap and then Beast shook off a determined Crusher on the final climb that topped out at an elevation of over 1,140 feet, more than a thousand feet higher than the start of the climb. Everyone was able to find their limit today. In my head I could hear Paul Sherwin describing me as completely and utterly blown. The three tired souls crested the summit and began the short, but joyful descent. Despite his best efforts to tell a story of needing more miles, The Beast showed he has found his legs.

I noted that my Oakley M-Frames had sweat drops blurring my vision, none the less I made it down and after a brief water stop, we were again climbing, this time the Newport Country Club road and this time a rejuvenated Crusher was able to match pedal strokes with El Falcon, while Beast, took a more conservative, and no doubt -wiser, approach.

We then found our way back to Lake Washington and across Mercer. On the bridge we tagged onto the wheel of a rider who was determined to drop us. We were flying and when the bridge steepened, we kept flying hitting the top at seventenn mph. We soon dropped
down to Leschi for a well deserved break. From here The Beast decided he wanted to return home via Renton and went his own way to log some more miles.

On the way back to "Château Falcon" the two of us really got it going up Wallingford and then again up 5th. We were able to keep it above about twelve mph on both steep climbs, so my quads would have that “special” feeling going down the stairs in my house all afternoon.

I had just over 58 total miles, 3:46 total time for an average pace of 15.4 and 4,060 total climbing.

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