Alpine Loop For Breakfast

If pain is weakness leaving the body, I have a lot of weakness.

Recently Rick mentioned his morning group ride schedule with Thursday being a ride over the Alpine Loop. Aaron asked if he could come along and Rick affirmed so I figured it was an open ride. I would have asked too, but one of my many weaknesses is sleep so I didn't want to commit to getting up early to ride. The Alpine Loop is one of my favorite rides, but I'm not a morning person. I figures if I were awake at 5:45, I'd probably go. Commitment is another of my weaknesses.

Amazingly I was awake at 5:30. And as I lay in bed, two parts of my brain groggily considered the options:

1 "I could just go back to sleep - ah, sweet restful sleep!"

2 "But the Alpine Loop is fun, and all the other guys are getting up to ride."

1 "Fun? How is it fun?"

2 "Sure, it makes me breath uncomfortably hard and my legs get tired and sweat drips down my face, but the scenery is nice and there's just something satisfying about making it up a long climb. OK, I don't know why it's fun, it just is. Some things should just be taken on face value and not dissected and analyzed."

1 "Sounds like some form of insanity."

2 "Maybe fun isn't sane. But I need some fun or I'll go insane for sure. I need to pee."

1 "I don't know why I bother trying to talk sense into you."

2 "Well, I'm up so I might as well ride."

1 "I'm going back to sleep."

Yes, I know, with my gift for dialog I should be a writer.

I left my house in Orem around 5:45 and headed north. No wind, 70 degrees, quiet - perfect for cycling. Why don't I ride in the morning more often?

1 "Because you stay up too late, moron!"

I arrived at the mouth of American Fork Canyon at 6:20 and was greeted by a nice wind coming down the canyon. Climbing AND a head wind - nice. I waited patiently, then went over to look at the stream, then rode down to see if I could see cyclists coming - hey, here they come! Dan was first. He lives in American Fork and said the wind was bad. We chatted a bit and then the big group came and we jumped on the back.

The 10 minute rest was just long enough for my body to assume I wasn't going to riding anymore so it was shutting things down. Jumping onto the back of a group that was warmed up and rolling kind of hurt. After a mile or so I was warm again and rode stronger. The pack had broken up and I tried to leapfrog from one rider to the next. I caught a couple riders just before the flat below Tibble Fork. I'm not a fast climber when it gets steep, but on the flatter stuff I can't help but crank up the speed. Elden called out "Kris is off on a break". I shook my head - I'm just taking advantage of the mellow grade. After a while I looked back and I was towing a line of riders. Well, that's cool - I'm usually just one of the guys in the pack following a wheel.

After the turnoff for Tibble Fork it turns steep again. I went a ways and then dropped down into the small ring. Elden and two other guys passed me. I kept in contact with the two, but Elden, rolling his single speed road bike, was gone pretty quick.

The rest of the ride was a solo grind. I coated the top tube with drops of sweat. But I did glance away from the road several times to admire the beauty of my surroundings. Simply gorgeous.

At times I'd close the gap a bit on the two guys ahead of me, other times I'd lose ground. I arrived at the summit about 30 yards back from them. Here's most of the gang:

Once most everyone had arrived, we went down - some back down American Fork Canyon, myself and others went down the Sundance side. It's very curvy and I flowed pretty well through the turns, but hacked through several of them clumsily. Still, a very fun descent. After Aspen Grove I tucked low and let loose the speed to catch up to Jon. I followed him through the switchbacks down to Sundance where we got behind a big delivery truck. Jon made a bold move to pass the truck - I chickened out and tailed the truck all the way down to Provo Canyon. We rolled a fast paceline (30 mph) down the canyon as one of the Omniture guys did a monster pull. back into Orem I said goodbye as I split off for home to shower, eat and head to work.

I very much enjoyed the ride. Who knew mornings could be fun?


mark said...

Loved the internal dialog. I have to commit to the morning rides before hand, or the dialog will end with "I'm going back to sleep."

j_e said...

I've never bought that theory.

Pain is weakness being exposed in the body.

The weakness doesn't leave until the pain no longer shows up while doing the same activity.

primetime formerly known as slyfox said...

i woke up at 10

Rio's Rider said...

I've had that same dialog in my head many times before. I don't like mornings until I am out enjoying the morning. Then I love it.

The only difference is that my dialog usually includes something about it being too cold up the canyon to ride that early in the morning.

I would have to be really committed to ride Alpine Loop before, say, 9:30 a.m.

KanyonKris said...

JE - 'exposed' sounds right for me since if it was leaving you'd think there'd be less of it by now.

Sly - You're my hero.

rio - It was quite warm for the ride. 70 degrees leaving my house. It got colder as we rode up the canyon, but I was producing PLENTY of excess heat. Even on the ride down I didn't put on my jacket - it was chilly in spots, but nothing really cold.

Lori said...

I'm with #1 but I wish I were with #2!!

chtrich said...

I wish I didn't have to be to work by 8:00. I'd love to come ride this with you guys. Usually though I head up the canyon closer to 5:30-6:00.