Today was mostly a travel day for me, so that left only a little bit of time for the first official day of training camp. So what do you do with just a little time on the bike? Go uphill. The hill du jour is 9 miles from highway (1230') to summit (4100'). Until April 1, the gate is closed at about mile 5.5, but the fine print says it's open to walkers and cyclists year 'round.
The reason they have to close the road in winter is all this funny white stuff that was on the shoulder, on the trees, blowing off the trees onto me, and eventually (at mile 6.75) on the road. Of those 6.75 miles, about 1 mile of the climb is actually descending, which means you have to go up it on the way down (huh?). There's also a nice dirt section that today was mostly craters with puddles. The temperature in the nearest town (about 500' lower and 10 miles away) was in the low 40s, so it was a tad bit chilly, especially when the winds picked up. At least it quit raining and the sun came out!
I was pretty cold at the bottom of the descent, so I figured the best way to warm up was to go uphill again. I didn't go all the way up (the winds were howling), and then I made a third uphill effort of about half a mile. That seemed to let my body temperature reach equilibrium so I could put away my bike and change my clothes without getting hypothermic.
Did I mention that I saw just two cars in this entire jaunt? Obviously none past the gate. I was relieved to see walkers when I turned around--nice to know that someone might find me before the road opens on April 1 if I had a major disaster. And I'm a little worried about impending disaster. As I was putting the front wheel on my bike before the ride, I noticed a nice little crack almost all the way around the fork at the drop-out. It's probably just in the paint, but how do you tell? No decent bike shop is going to say "oh sure, it's fine, it's just in the paint"--think of the liability. So I tried to wiggle the drop-out (couldn't) and checked the crack every time I stopped to take a picture or put on more clothes.
In the self-ridicule department, I had to wonder why I schlepped a Clif bar AND a bottle of water up the hill for this effort. Like I was going to stop for a picnic? Or get thirsty at 35 degrees? Especially when I was never more than 6.75 miles from the car. Some habits are ingrained, I guess.
And in the will-wonders-never-cease department, after this little jaunt, I go into a favorite pseudo-Mexican (I had a "Greek" burrito with beans, rice, spinach, feta, and olives--mmm good) restaurant expecting solitude. And as I'm standing in line a guy who looks vaguely familiar calls me by name and asks what brings me to these parts. Sigh. Can't hide anywhere. I should've left my Axley shades on.