I've been doing longer and harder tandem rides with Mike lately. We got a newer tandem (only 11 years old) that is smoother to ride. I got some biking shorts with a padded chamois seat that was obviously designed by a woman for women. Thank you Pearl Izumi! And thank you Ebay for having them at a great price. Another product-that-must-have-been-designed-by-a-woman is Chamois Butter. This is crucial for women who are riding a bike for longer than 20 minutes. Remember, it goes on you and on the chamois seat. Enough said.
So Mike has helped me prepare for harder rides, and he knows when I am ready to take on the tough ones. July 2 we did "High Grade". The name says it all. It is long and steep. We planned a loop from our house that would go up a couple of climbs and in and out of some canyons before we got to High Grade Road. Then after we got to the summit of High Grade we would continue on to Evergreen and then down the canyon back to our house. 55 miles, ending on 15 miles of downhill. The hardest part would be over once we got to the top of High Grade.
A "friend" of Mike's told him to take an alternate road after High Grade that would get us to Evergreen with less traffic to deal with, so we planned on that.
High Grade was tough, but I was ready and hung in there. Mike was patient, and we made it to the top. We rested a bit and refueled. I felt good and was glad the hard part was over. We headed down the other side and made good time to get to the alternate road. Once we turned onto Blue Creek, I started feeling awful. I struggled to keep pedaling fast, I felt like we were pedaling through glue. I thought I was going to exhale a lung. After a while I gasped, "I have to stop. Something is wrong." I thought I was having a heart attack or some delayed reaction to a long climb.
We pulled over and I noticed Mike was gasping too. He said, "This is a 12% grade hill. That is why it is so hard. I didn't know this was a steep hill."
12 percent! I thought the hard climb was over. I was not mentally prepared for another steep climb after High Grade (which only has short sections that steep).
What kind of "friend" would suggest an alternate road like that?
He is off my "I think I will make some cookies and give some to our friends" list.
Anyway, we rested, braced ourselves, and made it up that hill. After a few more miles of rollers, we got to the downhill stretch home. Everyone passes the tandem on the uphill, but no one passes us on the downhill. It is long, stable and fast going downhill.
2 days later we rode up to Echo Lake over Juniper Pass at almost 12,000 feet. It was gorgeous.
Tomorrow we start the Temple to Temple Ride. We will leave from the Provo Temple at 7 a.m. on the tandem. 80 miles, 6 temples and maybe 6 hours later, after crossing Utah Valley and Salt Lake Valley, and climbing over into Draper, we will arrive at the Salt Lake Temple. After that I will drive the support car, and others will join us for hours or days or a week until we get to Billings.
Wave if you see us. We'll be the ones wearing the cool jerseys and enjoying the roller coaster ride.