Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Loveland Pass: A Year Later
06/21/2012 - James WhiteLast year I ventured out while here in Colorado and did something I never expected to be able to do. I overcame a life-long, deep-seated fear of heights in climbing the famed Loveland Pass. When I got there in my car, I was so nervous driving up the north side of the pass that I could not stay in the right lane, since there are sheer drop offs with no guard rails. I drove down to the Keystone ski parking lot, rode up to the top, and then back down. The snow was incredible, as Colorado, and most of the US, had experienced record snowfall that year. I had to overcome some tremendous mental obstacles to make it to the top, let alone survive the ride back down, but I did. Here is the blog entry I provided then.
Note especially all the snow in the pictures in that blog article. Fast forward to today. Eric Ellis, pastor of Flatirons Baptist Church, drove me out this time. I knew that the Triple By Pass will climb Loveland from the north, the side that I had not even tried last year, the side I could barely drive by myself. But, I knew I needed to beat it. So, we started on that side. No warm up, just hit the climb, starting at 10,700 ft. above sea level. I was surprised at how well I handled the climb. Yes, I was watching traffic behind me, because the road is not wide, it has no shoulder, it has no guard rails, and it is the truck route for all hazardous cargo vehicles that are not allowed to go through the tunnel on I-70. But, the trucks gave me enough room, and I got to the top pretty easily.
I descended down to Keystone, thinking I was going to ride back up to the top, and then back down to Keystone, and that would be it. But as I climbed back up the other side (starting around 9450 ft. above sea level---it is a longer climb) I started thinking (which, given the altitude is sometimes dangerous). Why not just complete the loop? No, I had not even thought about descending the "grippy" side, but hey, I hope to someday do the Double Triple, and I will have to descend it then, so, since I just climbed it, why not? So I told Eric I was headed back to where we started, and I headed on down. Sure it was a bit nerve racking, especially given I am on a rental bike (and a rental never "feels" the same as your own), but I made it down fine, holding her steady around 30 mph. Here is the read out of the ride.
Spending a couple of hours working hard at an average altitude of about 11,000 ft. above sea level is quite an experience, but for me, overcoming that very visceral, very real fear of the heights associated with such a ride was the real victory of the day. I have three weeks until the Triple By Pass, and I am really looking forward to the completion of many months of training and effort with that single day, 120 mile, 11,000 ft. effort.
On a Personal Note: End of the Riding Year Report
06/16/2012 - James WhiteLast week marked the end of my 2011/2012 riding year. For those not interested in cycling and related topics, please skip to the next entry. For those wondering why a riding year would end June 13th, well, because I got back on the bike, after a 7 year hiatus, on June 14th, 2005. In any case, my riding year ended, and another has begun, one filled with some real challenges, if I press for the goals I have set for myself.
2010/2011 had been a record setting year. 9000 miles and 338,607 ft. of ascent was so far beyond anything I had ever done before it was amazing. Back in 1998, my last year of riding before moving into the "weight lifter" phase, I had ridden 6,300 miles. In 09/10, 5420. So to jump to 9k was massive. Further, I only climbed 148,579 ft. in 09/10, so I more than doubled my climbing in just one year. As I began 11/12, I did not look to exceed the distance I rode last year, but I did look to at least match, if not exceed, the climbing. Every cyclist knows, if you want to improve, you have to climb. It hurts, but it is good for you.
My final distance for 11/12 was 8,619 miles, 381 miles less than last year. Now, that might indicate the old guy is slowing down, right? But a little closer examination would indicate otherwise. Though I rode a few less miles, my climb over those miles was 393,845 ft, i.e., 74.59 miles, more than 55,000 ft. beyond last years total! That's a lot of climbing, meaning the miles I was riding were of a higher "quality" than last year. But, add to that another factor: my average speed over the 8619 was a full half a mile an hour faster than last year. That may sound utterly insignificant to the non-cyclist, but my fellow cyclists well know that a half a mile per hour increase in average speed over 8619 miles means a lot more energy was expended to cover that distance. Add in the extra 55,000 ft. of climbing as well, and that is a significant improvement over last year. ...
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