Getting today’s ride done was only made possible by teamwork.
I have to be honest, as I started down Horizon Ridge this morning I started having doubts about this ride. Just something nagging at the back of my head that I should reconsider. The miles will be too many. The elevation gain too much. The body not really wanting to be on board. I simply wasn’t feeling it. Then my head unit yells at me that my power meter battery is “critically low” which is just one more thing to add on to the doubt. Thankfully I rolled into the Albertson’s on Stephanie and Horizon Ridge 10 minutes after they opened, snagged a pair of 2032s, swapped out the old battery, and rolled on.
Had a nice ride up the UPRR. Along the way had a debate with myself at which is better for getting to Railroad Pass, UPRR or Horizon Ridge and across the Mission Hills neighborhood. UPRR is more gradual, less traffic and better riding surface. Horizon Ridge, on the other hand, you get all the climbing out of the way and ride mostly down through Mission Hills, but you’re subject to more traffic and a harsher riding surface.
Rolled into Railroad Pass and it was just frigid and windy. White knuckled across I-11 because of the cross winds. The new wheels definitely weren’t helping matters any and that will be a theme throughout the entire ride. Hung out outside huddled in a corner until John and Anna rolled up. Once I had someone to keep an eye on the bike I ran inside to use the restroom. The three of us hung out huddled in front of the store until Kant, Jeff, and Jon rolled up to make our group who was going for some extra credit.
We rolled out to meet up with the rest of the GVC gang at the intersection of US-95 and NV-165. There was a little confusion at the start and we ended up following Jon down onto I-11 to connect up with US-95.
After transitioning onto US-95 the misery began. It was SO cold AND we were rolling pretty quick AND I was still damp with sweat from the first 20 miles. I was honestly shivering and shaking I was so cold.
As we started to coalesce into a group we lined up into a pace line. Jeff was taking the lead and at some point he pulled off and started slowing. I yelled over asking if he was ok and hearing he was I took the opportunity for the lead. I’ve learned that if you’re in front you’re going to be warmer because you’re working harder versus staying in the draft. That proved true again and I started to warm up nicely as we passed through the coolest temperature of 42.8 °F (according to my Garmin). I pulled the group all the way to the start at NV-165.
We rolled up to the start and thankfully the sun was starting to rise making things more bearable. Got the chance to hang out and chat a bit with everyone before we got under way. For sure without the sun the visiting would have been cut short.
The ride started out chill. I’d fallen behind yammering and being late to get clipped in. As everyone else was busy chatting while riding I pulled around to ride my ride. Honestly I was just cruising knowing full well there was no point killing myself and leaving nothing for the ride back out. During the climb, Anna yelled up to me about having a solid pace so I stuck to it. At some point Henry and Anna passed me by giving me the chance to visit with Jeff. We rode this way all the way until the summit.
The descent to Nelson went ok. The first half was pretty smooth, but between Nelson and the ghost town things were a little more dicey. The winds has picked up, were gusty at times, and the narrow canyons made things even worse. Didn’t take long before I was letting people sail past me while I moderated my speed. I really didn’t want to get blown over in front of someone with a head of steam.
We stopped at the ghost town for a regroup before continuing down to the river. We’d been told by Adrian that there was fresh pavement down to the river and everyone was excited to take it for a spin. The descent to the river was much worse than the descent to Nelson. The winds were stronger and gustier and those of us with deeper wheels started falling back. I didn’t really mind but was certainly sketched out. Sadly the new asphalt never came and poor Adrian will never live that promise down. I suspect under calmer winds where you could get some speed the road might smooth out some, but I’m not in any hurry to go back and test it out.
The ride back to the ghost town was a slog even though I was feeling pretty good. It felt weird to be the guy in front on a climb. I usually get swallowed up by the faster lighter climbers. On the way down we’d decided that our snack break would be on the climb out in order to break up the climbing some.
We hung out at the ghost town for about a half an hour. Plenty enough time for a soda and sweet treats before resuming our climb out. With the recharge I was again feeling pretty good and started the climb pretty strong. About halfway through the ascent the rest of the pack came around me and they couldn’t have timed it better. Climbing into a face full of wind sucks so having a wheel to follow the rest of the way was a welcome change.
The descent to US-95 was pretty quick, but I forced myself towards the back of the pack. Once again the winds were coming across the road and, while not as bad as before, I, again, didn’t want to fall in front of someone else. Our pack was doing well until some awesome person in a 30ft diesel pusher w/ their toy trailer decided to buzz us. They weren’t happy that we were taking the lane and had to wait maybe 3-5 minutes until the opposite direction was clear. The guy got frightingly close to Kant, who was leading us with Jeff. Needless to say we were all a little shaken by such a blatant disregard for human life. Thankfully the rest of the descent went off without a hitch.
After saying our goodbyes to the main group, our small extra credit bunch, minus Jon, set out for Railroad Pass. We were thrilled at the idea of riding 10 miles straight into a 10 MPH head wind! So FUN! We lined up, put our heads down, and started out. I took the first pull before giving a flick to Jeff. Little while later he pulled off and WOW yeah lets just DOUBLE our wattage to keep going the same speed. I stayed in front for a while trying to stay steady and not leaving anyone behind. At one point Kant made it known I wasn’t going fast enough (lol) and he jumped out across the rumble strips to come around me, come back across the rumble strips, and take a healthy pull himself. He lasted a good long while before he pulled off leaving me back in the front. I lasted for a while longer before John took over for the rest of the way to Boulder Highway. We were all thrilled as we made that left turn to jump across to Railroad Pass.
After hanging out at Railroad Pass for 10 minutes or so, John, Anna, and I rolled out to head home. All of us were going the same way for the most part just I wanted to grab a couple roads for Wandrer before I left the Mission Hills area. As they peeled off the UPRR we said our goodbyes and I was solo the remainder of the way.
For the most part the rest of my ride was good. I was still feeling pretty spry and would find myself pushing hard. Good examples would be the Green Valley Pkwy and Williamsport climbs. Nailed PRs on both but I wonder how much of that was my legs versus the tail wind. Either way I felt great the entire way home.
Nice lazy afternoon stuffing my face because I was absolutely famished for some real food not just riding fuel. Looking forward to a day off the bike as this week was a heavy one, but the commutes are coming.
6.94 new miles — From Wandrer.earth
Give your activities the names they deserve. – by Bandok.com
Partly cloudy-Sunny, 52°F-75°F, Feels like 53°F-70°F, Humidity 29%-12%, Wind WSW 3mph-NNE 7mph – by Klimat.app
— myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: -6%
Headwind: 38% @ 4-18.3mph
Longest Headwind: 44m 49s
Air Speed: 15.3mph
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —
Max elevation: 3486 ft
Min elevation: 869 ft
Total climbing: 7842 ft
Total descent: -7723 ft
Average speed: 17.89 mi/h
Total time: 08:44:58