Alpine Loop Again

There was an ICup race at Sundance today. And even though it's a great place to mountain bike, I don't like racing there because it's so hard to pass - and being in the largest category (Sport 40+) makes it worse. But my wife was racing so I devised a plan to road bike over the Alpine Loop again and arrive at Sundance in time to see her finish.

I left the house at 8 am and quickly made my way north through Lindon and Pleasant Grove. I usually take the back roads, but I took State Street and it was fast and a good route. I took the Manilla Highway to the mouth of American Fork (AF) Canyon even though I don't like it for the high speed limit and bad shoulders.

I started up the canyon feeling pretty good from the 10 miles of warm up. Cranking the middle ring I was able to keep my speed up. I tried to keep my speed in the double digits up to the Tibble Fork turn off, but failed twice as I struggled to find my rhythm.

After Tibble Fork it turns steeper and for a mile or so I didn't do well. But after the gate I got rolling. Here's what it looked like near Altamont campground:



After I snapped that photo I decided to try a self portrait like I've seen Jeff Kerkove and others do:



When I got home and looked at that photo on the big computer screen I laughed out loud. A blank expression with this tinge of pain in the eyes. I didn't feel like I was hurting here, but I guess my face says otherwise. Next time I'll try to smile or look serious or put on some expression so I don't look so dorky. Funny.

Down by Timpanogos Cave I had passed one other cyclist. Just past Salamander Flats I passed another. I made a wild guess that he was with another rider who was up ahead and this helped me pick up the pace to finish the climb with a good push. There were some other riders at the summit, but I don't think they were with the rider I passed. The snow is gone from the summit:



Compare that with this photo from the ride last week:



I lingered a few moments at the summit then head down the Provo Canyon side. It was a nice descent. I could have taken it faster, but felt mellow so I took it easy. Just look at the scenery I had to enjoy:



I made it to Sundance and headed up the short stretch of road to the start / finish. The race course goes up this road too and I was expecting to see racers on the road, but didn't see any. At the start / finish I talked to some other UtahMountainBiking.com team boosters and learned that the race had started 15 minutes late.

I parked the bike and took a place along the road to cheer the racers and take some photos. I enjoyed watching the team and other racers come through - I recognized many of them. Here's Jolene finishing:



Pretty nice setting for a race, huh?



After chatting with a lot of racers and teammates, I got back on the road bike to finished the loop.



Yes, that's the new Fat Cyclist jersey out for it's first ride.

I flew down the road from Sundance to Provo Canyon following a big van and hitting someting over 40 mph.

I intended to take the highway down the canyon, but there was a good head wind so I took the paved parkway trail to get out of the wind and take it slow. Back on the roads I kicked up the speed back to my house.

It was an incredibly good ride on a near perfect day with warm temperatures and sunny skies and one of the most scenic routes in the state - and no cars since the gates are still closed. Hard to get much better.

3 comments:

j_e said...

To think you chose this ride instead of a butt numbing, thigh burning, lung ripping, hamstring tearing 40k time trial in elberta.

what's WRONG with you?

KanyonKris said...

Ya, I have issues. There's WAY too much enjoyment, and not enough suffering in my cycling choices.

I am Matt said...

I like the self pic. A moment of real truth can be told by such shots.