so, i did get in a little road(bike path) spin last night. headed out down the palmer - wasilla hwy to the lake wasilla overlook/fishing dock type thing and got a photo of the killer sunset at about 8:45pm. i felt pretty ok for the whole ride, but i definitely lack the power in my legs that was present last year. standing sprints up short hills hurt really bad right now. seated grinding not so much.
then i did quite a bit today, believe it or not. or not. but i did do some things. after wasting only most of the morning, i managed to get on the bike and out the door by about 11:30ish, with the intention of riding up toward hatcher pass and deciding on the pass proper or archangel mine as a goal for the day when the time came. i overpacked with water, packed just the right amount of food, and forgot my legs at home.
palmer fishhook is a nice easy spin, and a good warm up, as is the incredibly scenic hatcher pass portion of it, where it starts heading uphill for real. i stopped a couple of times for photos on the way to the gold mint trail head, because i really just can't get over the views. once at the trailhead, and with much trepidation about the increasing steepness of the next 4ish miles, i pedalled lightly around in circles while eating a sweet and salty nut bar. it was deliscious, as they always are. i debated just hitting up gold mint instead, but i've done that before.
photos up to that point:
from the gold mint trailhead and now defunct(and for sale!)mother lode lodge, you ride past the avalanche gates and immediately start the real climbing. there are two short shelves of relief for the next mile and a half or so till the grade behaves itself a little bit. the turn off for archangel mine is halfway up this section. i needed only one episode of soft-pedaling in circles for a few seconds about halfway through this section, and my legs actually felt not so bad for the first little bit. at the second shelf, i soft pedaled to recover a smidge. the road pitches up fairly steeply here and around a bend. not la ruta or manayunk steep or anything, but steeper than the previous climbing had been. i went to stand and pedal and it just hurt. my thighs did not want to support my new and improved girthy waistline, an exaggerated photo of which(fully clothed, sorry), you'll see in a bit.
fyi, the slower you go, uphill, the slower wtb stouts, f & r, roll.
i switched back and forth between standing-dancing on the pedals and seated grinding till it just became way to sucky to go in a straight line anymore. so i started that silly zig-zag crap that you always watch people do and say to yourself, "what an ass, he's riding twice as far.". and i was, for that little bit, but it did seem to allow me to recover enough to get to the next pull out where i definitely needed to stop and take a 39 photo panoramic....
from there to the hatcher pass lodge, the pavement mellows out a little bit, but still climbs fairly steadily. it was manageable, but i was definitely in a world of hurt. the old sean, at this point, would have said, "yep, close enough. i'm in pain and the summit will pretty much always be there."
but, i hung a left onto the gravel and soldiered on. it was actually refreshing to be on the gravel, and the tires felt much more at home. i stopped to take another photo that i really, really needed.
kept riding a bit, then got to a too steep climbing turn, and dismounted to walk it. that was pretty much the end of my riding upwards. i got on and tried pedalling a little here and there up the rest of the climb, but the legs weren't having it. so the last mile and a half or so were a hike for me, this time.
forget the look of desperation on my face, check out that belly! sweet! i was actually seeing spots at this point.
the top in view.
and a screwed up panorama from my top of the pass picnic spot.
auto stitch is to blame for that missing chunk. it was there in my photos, but the pano came out all screwy when i tried uploading all of the photos at once. i tried removing one section, hoping it would use that to define the ends, but instead it used it to define the center. i've gotta get better at using that program. it's pretty much awesome. every panoramic shot of mine you see was stitched together from a bunch of photos i took by autostitch.
heres that missing chunk in case you don't believe me.
i didn't linger too long at the top, as i had a speedy, 10ish mile, 3500' coast ahead of me back down to the rolling parts of palmer fishhook. even with the pain and suffering, and stopping and spot seeing, i still managed out the 40ish miles in about 3.5 hrs. that was acceptable to me, all things considered. i wont be satisfied though, till i can comfortably ride all the way to the top without stopping on the mtb.
so i got home, and sat myself outside in my carving chair and got to work on a rather large piece of cottonwood bark. as i was chopping away at it with my scorp, i heard some rustling in the bushes at the back end of the yard. i looked over and saw some grasses moving about, realized it wasn't a moose so i sat still and waited. finally the little head of the porcupine poked out, and it proceeded to scurry across the lawn in front of me. they walk really awkwardly, though i suppose i would as well if i had a bunch of needles sticking out of my ass. once it was past me, i went inside and told sam to keep the dogs in, grabbed my camera and headed outside. my attempts to photograph it failed and actually resulted in me driving it into the (unoccupied) dog run. one way in, one way out. little retard was now trapped. sam came running out to see and mentioned something about the quills shooting, which i didn't believe, but it still made me a little wary. i followed it around the pen for a while, taking photos. it found the alleys between the dog houses to be convenient hiding spots.
it really was cute.
finally i jumped up on top of and started kicking the dog houses to try to get the thing out of there. it worked, and it scurried off out the gate, stepping twice into the water bowl.
i then proceeded to make possibly the worst carving of my life, which will be cut up and re-carved significantly.
and now i'm going to bed. my legs feel surprisingly ok after all that abuse today.