I cannot actually believe that there are only four more weeks until TransRockies. I can't decide if that excites me or terrifies me. Perhaps it's a bit of both. I just want summer to go on and on. I had a pretty big week of riding and am feeling really good today (ie: not sore at all). I am somewhat nervous that I haven't mimicked 7 days in a row of 6-8 hours each day but I am hoping that it isn't necessary to being able to complete the race.
So Sierra and I started the week on Canada Day with the idea of using the long weekend to spend back to back long days on our bikes. On July 1st we did the Yukon epic: Mountain Hero in Carcross. We rode this last year, but we shuttled up the first 7 or so kilometres and then we didn't actually enjoy much of the descent because Tony smashed his elbow on the way down. That said, I still loved that ride. This year Sierra and I rode the whole loop: from the Carcross Visitors' Centre, up and over the mountain, and the 17km back to Carcross along the road. The weather was decent and the snowy patches on the trail weren't impassable. I had to push my bike just about as much as I did last year (which disappointed me somewhat) and I am finding myself quite frustrated by steep terrain with big hunks of gravel/rock. That said, it was beautiful and it was good fun to ride with Tony, his friends from Ontario, and Dave who is now riding with Cyclemeisters and is ridiculously speedy. You can see the whole set of photos here if you want, but the ones below are some of my faves.
On Friday, after work and an exam for a job I am not sure I want (more on that later?), a group of us did the SFD/Girlfriend/Juicy/Yukon River Trail loop. It's a great trail and I was having a great time until the skies opened up and rain poured down on us. At least I was wearing wool and managed to not freeze to death.
On Saturday we decided to climb Mt Mac again, but this time from the other side (Coal Lake Road). As you can see from the fact that I didn't pull my camera out once, I didn't exactly have a good time. It was a steep and rocky ascent filled with bugs and the rain soaked me through to the skin. When our out-of-town friends ended up missing the turn off to get to Mt Mac and instead continued on towards Coal Lake it seemed our ride was doomed to fail. Everyone was cold and we decided to pull the chute. We called Tony to pick us up. Still, the day counted for 3 hours of riding and nearly 1000m of elevation gained.
On Sunday I was hoping for a bit of a redemption ride and Sierra and I got dropped off at the Annie Lake Road to bike back into town via Mt Sima. The couple of hours of relatively flat terrain was just what my legs needed and by the time we climbed part way up Mt Mac to Goat Trail I was feeling fine. I wouldn't say I felt stellar, but I felt like I could manage. I was so sure I would have to walk sections of the Mt Mac road, but I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to plunk my bike into its easiest gears and just put my head down and pedal. I was not fast; in fact, someone could have walked as fast as I rode I think. But I made it without having to dismount and my heart wasn't exploding out of my chest. So that's a good thing, right? I love that Sierra indulges my desire to take photos along the route. These, in a cabin beside the trail, were actually her idea. The camera was set on multiple shots over 20 seconds (hence the running around).
Unfortunately Sierra caught a cold and so I was on my own Mon-Wed to finish up 7 days in a row of riding. I hit up some of my favourite local trails with other friends and did my once monthly hammer from the bottom of Grey Mountain to the second parking lot. I must admit that I thought I would be significantly faster than I was back in April when I started this, but I am not, really. My own personal time trials have take me 35, 32 and 31 minutes in April, May and now July respectively. I wish there was greater improvement in those times. I suppose I can take some comfort in that the climb is generally easier and I can ride for longer, but...I am still pretty slow. These shots were taken at the top of that climb - jumping with happy to be done, but bummed at my time.