AF Canyon Morning Climb

This morning I met Mark and some friends of his - Mike, Craig and James - at the mouth of American Fork Canyon for a ride up to the Alpine Loop summit. When I arrived a few minutes before 6 AM it was pretty dark. By the time the others arrived and we were ready to go it was just light enough to ride. The wind was blowing down the canyon at a pretty good clip - head winds are always nice.

The pace was a bit fast at first but slowed to a reasonable pace after a while. I've done this climb quite a few times so I have a pretty good idea how fast I can go - we were a little slower than that, but not bad. But after Timp Cave the pace slowed even more and I moved to the front and took the pace up a notch. I went easy so people could hook onto my wheel and a few guys did.

Now Mark makes it sound like I was trying to drop him, but it was just a coincidence that after I asked him how he was feeling the pace dropped and I took the lead. Honest. (I don't think Mark believes me.) It didn't matter, king climber Mark powered up to catch me anyway, so maybe HE was playing ME.

I dropped into the small ring after Tibble Fork and plodded up the road past Mutual Dell (I think this is the hardest part of the ride). I wasn't looking back much, but I could tell riders were being shelled. At the first switchback I was all alone, but around the corner someone caught back on - I assumed it was one of the other guys, but it was Mark. I didn't realize this until we were up by Pine Hollow - I guess I should look back more often.

We motored up and up - such a great climb. And the air was fresh and fragrant. We made the top and after a few minutes the others arrived. We chatted for a bit then headed down.

I'm not sure why, but I like to get cold in the summer. And on the descent I got a bit cold. I think I like it because when it's so hot day after day it's refreshing to feel cold.

The descent was nice and back at the cars I handed out some drinks. Mark has me hooked on ice cold drinks after a ride.

Then I went home, showered and went to work. Made it in around 9 AM.


Andy H. said...

Pain, sleep deprevation and cold all before 9am and I'm the addict! ;-)

KanyonKris said...

It's not fun to get up early, but once I'm riding I'm glad I did. Some guys ride several times a week before work, I'm too much a night owl for that. It wasn't that painful - a nice ride, actually. And when I say cold that's relative - it was probably in the low 70s, maybe high 60s - that's not real cold.

I'll admit I'm addicted to cycling. And part of that is mixing it up and doing new things on the bike. When I don't feel like racing, the set time makes me feel hemmed in and obligated. For stuff I do for fun I'd rather be free to choose what I want to ride based on my mood, not a schedule. Of course if you like racing then the schedule is a good thing to give you a reason to ride frequently.

MTBikeAZ said...

I used to ride up AF Canyon from Tibble Fork on my mountain bike back in the mid 90s, making a loop out of the Ridge Trail decent from the top.

I loved the Ridge Trail so much I'd ride it solo...which meant a climb back to the top on the road. I tell you, I nearly enjoyed the climb back up as much as coming down the trail.

Thanks for the virtual ride up memory lane. Maybe one day I'll get to spin up the canyon on a road bike.