Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm in Love...

...with mountain biking!

Wednesday we conquered the climb up Saddleback Mountain after our failed attempt last Friday. I'm not going to lie, those wind conditions were so gnarly that it left me a tad nervous going into Wednesday's ride. Would I be able to make it to the top without blowing? Well lucky for us there was no (or, at least, very little) wind, and that made a world of a difference. We got in a 2-mile WU ride then hit the trail.

For the next 9 miles it was all uphill climbing, ~3,250 feet ascent, according to the garmin, with only two mini breaks of "downhill" that totaled 160ft of decent over those 9mi. I've never done anything like that in my life. And let me say, I loved every second!

A simple yet beastly ride profile:
Reality of that peak from the car drive there:

Without wind the climb was a gagillion times easier. I mean, it wasn't easy, but it was doable, and enjoyable not scary... not to mention I didn't fall off the bike this time :) It took a whopping 95 minutes to complete the 9-mile climb, and that was at a relatively easy, comfortable pace because for me it was such an "unknown" of what to expect from body and the trail. Now I know. Next time I'll go harder.

Pictures from the top. In the first pic you can just barely see Catalina in the horizon, then mom & me, and in the third pic I believe that's Mt. Baldy where Tour de California goes...

It wasn't just the tough climb that made me fall in love with mountain biking more than ever yesterday... it was the solitude/quietness of the trail, the intense concentration I felt, the lack of ANYONE else around except my mom (who was behind me after the first few miles, so I felt alone for most the ride), the lack or cars and traffic, and the beautiful surroundings. After taking in the sights from the top it was hammer time: a 40+minute decent (a fabulous reward). And gotta give my mom props -- I beat her on the uphill, but she kicked my booty on the decent! She's just got so much more experience and confidence with downhill riding. I'll get there.

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live (see below pic), I love road riding, love being on my tri bike and love the great riding partners I have, but I hate the traffic. So, I think MTB has found a permanent place in my routine again.... it's been a while since I've done it consistently (like years) and now I don't know why I stopped. It's so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of a highly populated area that's full of red lights and bad drivers.