Thursday, July 07, 2011


Second time up.
I'm getting ever closer to maybe, possibly, I just might consider thinking about doing next month's Mount Shasta Summit Century , the idea of which sorta scares me half-to-death while also intriguing the heck out of me. It's 140 miles long, climbs 16,000 feet, most of that up four mega climbs. A 3,800-footer, a 3,300-footer, a (mere) 2,200-footer and a (gulp) 4,200-footer.
Bizarre, weird dirty sun cups. Like a snowfield of mini-pyramids.
For those of you who know what we've got here in B'ham and Whatcom County, the road to Artist Point (when it's open all the way) climbs just about 3,000 feet. According to my calculations and analysis that means that three of Shasta's four climbs are bigger than the Baker climb. One of them significantly bigger. So that means I gotta do VOLUME! VOLUME! VOLUME! (I mean, if I'm gonna consider possibly thinking about maybe signing up for it 'n all ...)

So that's what I did today. Three rides from the D.O.T. shed at the bottom of the hill to just past the upper Heather Meadows ski lodge and the Road Closed sign seen in the top pic. It's about an 8-mile climb that gains 2,200 feet. I rode it three times which means ... I was still about 10,000 feet shy of the Shasta ride. (Have I made it clear that I'm only thinking about signing up for it?)

I do love this ride. Even on days like this when the weather was getting progressively worse. Each time up I found myself pulling up the arm warmers and zipping my shirt all the way up lower and lower on the mountain. By the last time up, I climbed the last couple miles in a whiteout fog which soon became spritzing showers. In the past week or so, summer has finally come to Bellingham but it was definitely chilly up at 4,200 feet. An typical March day in the Whatcom lowlands, it was. I can't say that descending in rainy conditions was the funnest thing I'd ever done but soon enough I was lower down on the mountain where it hadn't yet begun to rain.  

Foggy rainish with hardly any visibility.
Climbwise, I felt pretty darn good. Probably because I knew I was in it for the long haul and never once turned the pedals in anger, as it were. The repeats were for climbing endurance, not speed. Heartrate was pretty darn pedestrian. Nearing the D.O.T. shed on my last trip down, I realized I'd end up with about 51 miles and 6,700 feet of climbing. So I turned around and climbed back up for another mile to get over 7,000 feet of climbing. That felt like something. An accomplishment with a nice round number. That's still 9,000 feet less than the Shasta ride ...
Area man holding up three fingers all Europe-style.