All month, we knew that we were supposed to bike "Shadow Mountain", which, we thought, was about a 50 mile bike through the mountains. Cool enough. We had done 35ish with Cityview and were up for another challenge. Ross had tried to bike the Shadow Mountain loop last month, but was not sure of the route, so he went part the way, then doubled back. Following that ride, he drove the course, just to make sure that we would know where to go when we rode it together.
So with the ride on our schedule, we made sure to get a good nights' sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, pack up and we were off. I was actually in good spirits, ready to conquer the beast. Thinking positive.
Thankfully, it was a sunny day but, unthankfully, there was loads of wind. That's ok, I thought, it will push us up the canyon.
So, we started out and immediately the wind was dead on. OK, well, this will probably go away when we get into the canyon. Nope, it just got worse.
Ok, I'll just switch to a lower gear. So I did. And I did. And I did. Until I was in the lowest gear possible. No way. I was only 4 miles in. We hadn't even really started to climb. How was I going to make it if I was already in the lowest gear? I started to cry. Seriously. I have never cried before during a workout, but I did yesterday. Ross, my sweet husband, said that we could turn around whenever I wanted. But I just put my head down and kept going. What if this happens on Ironman day? I thought. Am I going to give up then? Um, of course not. So, we went, slowly up Deer Creek to High Grade. The wind was at our backs for no longer than 1/2 mile of the 14 mile climb and it was brutal!
As we approached the top of High Grade, Ross said he thought we should turn around. Seriously? I just gutted out probably the hardest 14 miles of the ride and he didn't want to finish it? We stopped at the top and talked to other bikers. They were all turning around and kinda laughed at us when we said we wanted to go on. That didn't help me or Ross mentally. If they didn't think it was wise to go on, could we? We weren't sure what we were getting into if we went on. Plus, you can never know with the wind around here. Would it get better? Worse? Who knows.
So after a little conversing, we decided to go on. Chance it. See what we could do.
And, low and behold, it got better. Not the wind, but the fact that we were going downhill. We hit some rollers, but nothing too bad. We went down 73 for awhile.
Continued on till... Ross said her thought we'd gone too far. What? He was supposed to be the guide. Then he said he thought we didn't go far enough. Oh no, do I believe him? I wasn't going any further without confirmation. Ross rode ahead while I whipped out the cell phone and called a few people. No one answered, so I left a text with our coach. It read, "HELP! Lost."
Then, Ross called and said, "I found the turnoff, come on down". So, I rode down to where he was and we turned onto Little Cub Creek Road and rode up. I knew that Little Cub was on the route (or so I heard), so I was happy that we were where we thought we should be. We continued up Little Cub until my cell phone rang, Steve had received my text. Since we were on a mighty steep part of Little Cub, we decided to answer, just to make sure we were in the right place.
While Steve was trying to figure out where we were via my description, he said, "So, then you've already done Shadow Mountain?". Um, apparently, we had MISSED Shadow Mountain. Completely RODE RIGHT BY IT without even knowing. It was a left hand turn and we had gone straight. Oy! We were consoled by Steve reassuring us, "well, you are still doing a really challenging ride". Great. And then he advised us that we might want to bring a map along next time. :)
So, Ross and I continued on. Although Little Cub was steep, the wind was a cross wind and was tamed by the trees, so it was better than the earlier morning. The ride was gorgeous, but with the wind whipping around us so much, I didn't really get too many pictures.
Once we got up and over Little Cub, Ross knew (for certain this time) where we were, and we continued on down Turkey Creek Gulch to the backside of Deer Creek then, finally, I knew where we were.
So, all in all, it was a rather challenging day, both physically and mentally for me. We still hit our 50 miles-ish in the mountains goal, but I had to deal with the wind, not knowing my route, trusting myself, trusting my spouse (scary! j/k), communication, adjusting and not to mention the wind! wind! WIND!This is me at the end, just to show that the wind didn't let up all day.