Head for the hills
It hasn’t exactly been cycling weather around Bibleburg of late — nevertheless, I sucked it up yesterday, pulled on about half the clothes in my closet and got out for two and a half hours of hills.
This is not as easy as it sounds. Despite sitting in the shadow of Pikes Peak, the road riding around Bibleburg is less than stellar, and the one long, sustained paved climb into the high country — Highway 24 west — is just plain dangerous, going up and coming down.
So a guy has to improvise. Though I was going to be mostly on pavement, I broke out my red Steelman Eurocross (fatter rubber, lower gearing) and rode west through a moderately gooey Monument Valley Park to Mesa Road, then started climbing.
Mesa is a nice warmup, a steady-state ascent that dumps you out on North 30th Street by the Garden of the Gods. From there I hung a right on Garden of the Gods Road and descended to Centennial Boulevard for another short climb to Fillmore Street, then hung a right and returned to Mesa.
I was thinking about doing laps of this short circuit to minimize my exposure to a nasty south wind, then said screw it and headed north on 30th to Flying W Ranch Road (hey, if you have a tailwind, why not take advantage of it?). Flying W is a steeper climb than Mesa, and a short 40-mph descent dumps you out at Centennial and Vindicator Drive for the pièce de résistance, the ascent of Centennial Boulevard/West Woodmen Road.
Centennial-Woodmen is steeper than any of its predecessors and something of a challenge for the average fat bastard. It’s one of those pain-in-the-ass climbs that flattens out every now and then, even throws in a couple of short descents, just to fuck with your head. It’s why I rode the Steelman with its low gear of 34×28.
Anyway, I made it up without throwing a rod or blowing a seal, and on the way down the other side I saw this pretty little buck with a couple of his cousins, so I stopped to take a snap with the iPhone. It reminded me of living outside Weirdcliffe, where we always had a few mule deer camping out under our deck. We used to say that they were so dumb you could hunt them with a Twinkie and a ball-peen hammer.
But we never saw one stupid enough to be riding a ’cross bike on the roads in the dead of winter.