Monday, August 12, 2013

Climbing Mt. Rose

Much like the Flume Trail is a 'must ride' for mtb'ers visiting Tahoe's North Shore, If you are a roadie (which I am not) then Mt. Rose is also a must ride. This ride involves a steady climb ranging from 5-9% grade for ~9 miles. The views, if you take time to enjoy them, are stellar (duh, it's Tahoe) and the fact that your elevation gain from ~6000' up to 8900' makes this even more of a HTFU challenge.
Vista Point a few miles from the start of the ascent.
I happened to be staying in Dollar Point, just outside Tahoe City, so my 2nd day there I woke up early, grabbed my 22lb road bike, and headed out toward Highway 431 (aka Mt. Rose hwy). It was my recollection that the ride from Tahoe City to the start of the climb was a relatively flat spin around the lake. I was wrong. There were plenty of short little ups here and there to get the blood flowing. I was really uncertain how much effort to put out as I was worried about bonking. A couple years before I did 30+ mile lollipop loop mtb ride from Mt. Rose around Marlette Lake and back. I felt the elevation and bonked hard late into the ride. I was able to finish on the saddle, but felt like crud. Still, I wanted to HTFU so when I hit the base of the climb, I shifted to a comfortable gear (34:24) and decided to SS the rest of the way, as this is more my comfort level. One thing I should point out is that when I started the climb, I initially thought it was 6 miles, not 9. Also, I like to play head games with myself, so rather than hoping the climb comes to an end around a bend, I tell myself that I need to get ready for a longer, steeper section. Well, this was fine until I realized I passed 6 miles with no end in sight. The whole time I felt like 'I got this' as I was never in any danger of bonking and felt pretty darn good. When I passed 6 miles and realized that I may have between 1 and 3 miles left, I was glad I kept the pace easy, though ultimately I could have pushed harder.
Made it to the top baby!
In the end, I made it to the top with no issues, took the obligatory photo under the 'Summit' sign and then headed back.
Ouch my hands hurt! I like long steady climbs...especially on the mtb. What I do not like is fast bombing downhills on a road bike (don't mind on the mtb). I am just not use to this bike and don't really trust it, or myself like I do on the mtb. I rode those brakes all the way down the mtn. eying spots where I could crash or streets to roll up when one or both brakes fail. I refused to get over 30 mph and kept changing hand positions as they were killing me! I eventually made it down and cruised back to the cabin for a 40 mile ride. Two weeks later, I hop on the road bike and my hands are still killing me. They hurt more after this ride than after my 24hr mtb ride. 
Next year I will have to up the goal to a 100 miler or a ride around the lake. I have until then to get my hands in 'brake shape' and maybe improve my courage on descents so I don't brake as much (but I doubt that will happen).
Next purchase for this bike? Disc brakes baby!

Just beyond the summit, a shot of Nevada.

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