Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Ascent

Early Monday morning two parts of Team Kettle, Travis "Cheddar Beer", and I, Verelle "Tuscan Three Cheese" went for what has been my longest and hardest bike ride thus far. We began the ride from our home in Ashland, Oregon, with friends Tim and Kara.

First we rode to the south end of town via Siskiyou Street. We then rode down Crowson Street to Highway 66, where our ascent began. Highway 66, also known as Greensprings Highway, is a steep and winding historic highway that connects Ashland to Klamath Falls. The highway winds by Emigrant Reservoir before ascending into the mountains that connect these two towns. The summit of this highway is at 4,551 feet!

We began the trek up to the summit. At about 10 miles in all was going well, but being the easily distracted and often clumsy one that I am, I became caught up in conversation with Kara, and lost sight of the roads small shoulder that I had been hugging. Thankfully the fall was not too bad, and I had only minor injuries: a scraped up knee, a bruised and bleeding chin and a sore jaw. I could have easily turned back at this point and gone home to clean myself up, but I decided that having made the commitment to finish this ride was important, so I continued upward.

Once we reached the summit (which can be difficult even in a car!), we took a left onto East Hyatt Lake Road. The climb isn't as steep, but can be frustrating nonetheless. We continued down Hyatt Prarie Road to the lodge at Hyatt Reservoir. Then we took an impromptu lunch break! It was certainly unplanned, but we ended up visiting for an hour over pizza, breadsticks, coffee and coke! Mmmmm.... gotta love those carbs!!!

We finally continued down Hyatt Prarie Road, which was relatively flat, winding past Howard Prairie Lake, to Dead Indian Memorial Road. I thought that we would be begining our downhill soon, but I was very wrong. We had to ascend four (!!!) more miles of UPHILL!!! By this point I was just moving my legs, trying to make sure my pretty little bike didn't fall over.

We did finally reach the top, despite my complaining that we never would. The downhill of Dead Indian Memorial Highway is perhaps even more steep (and dangerous) than that of Highway 66, but after all the climbing it is FUN!!! Just a few miles in my toes were numb but the little kid in me was as alive as ever! It was amazing, and worth all of the climbing! And the sights: a hundred times better when you are on a bike!

So, on this ride we:

Rode 53.4 miles
Ascended 4,800 feet in elevation
Burned 3,052 calories

all in a total riding time of 4 hours and 6 minutes!

Here is a topo of the ride profile:

The entire ride down, all I could think was: what will I be eating later to reward myself for all this grueling work?
First: Kettle Chips! I had a bag of Honey Dijon with my name on it at home.
Second: Beer! This is actually an excellent recovery drink (or so I hear).
Third: Chocolate ice cream! No explanation needed.

And here we are, 53.4 miles later!:

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