The Big Dang Loop
If I keep doing rides that make the Crusher look easy, then the Crusher will be easy. Right?
One of the advantages of being a relatively fit bike rider, and having a tolerance for hours in the saddle, is the opportunity to do stupid things. Like 100 miles in American Fork Canyon. Or The Wasatch Classic. Or The White Rim in a day. Saturday I had another chance to add to that list. And so, I rode a route that has been tugging at my sleeve for a long time, a ride I like to call “The Big Dang Loop.”
85 miles. 10,700 vertical gain. And some of the best views in the central Wasatch.
I rode my cyclocross (with ‘cross tires) bike and was mildly disappointed when I discovered that some of the dirt roads on route had been paved since I last visited them. Nevertheless, the pedaling was good, despite the headwinds and laborious, elongated climbs. The 17 miles of continuous climbing from the bottom Big Cottonwood Canyon to the top of Guardsman Pass were especially… invigorating. But once gained, the pass offered cold, clear air, and wide-angled views. I stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the moment. And to rest my throbbing legs. In fact, my legs felt terrible all day long. That itself was nothing remarkable. However, they felt as bad at mile 6 as they did at mile 60. And that did surprise me. And so, I plodded. Up and over, and then up and over again. Slow and steady.
The Crusher looms. There are still training rides to come, equipment choices to make and test, and delusions of glory to entertain. But the time is far spent. The race, once a glimmer on the horizon, is here. Out for delivery. Rides like The Big Dang Loop are a reasonable facsimile of the actual Crusher, and are good for the legs and the mind. And as long as I can trick myself into having good legs on race day, I ought to have another good day in the Tushars. But if, like Saturday, I end up having to plod along, well that won’t be so bad either. After all, there are no bad days on bikes.