Drive My Bike


Father’s Day Ride

Since it was Father’s Day today the family gave me the afternoon off, so I decided to take on my most ambitious ride to date. I rode to the top of a nearby mountain, and I think it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.

TraverseRidgeSummit

That road off in the distance is the one that I came up to get to the top. For those of you that know Salt Lake City, this is the road at the south end of the valley that goes up Traverse Mountain in Draper. I climbed almost 1600 feet over about 7 miles, and parts of the road are a 10% grade. I didn’t know that when I started, and like I said, I think it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

As soon as I turned onto the main road leading up to the summit the intense stuff started. I shifted down to the lowest gear I had, small ring in front, and largest ring in back. Even though I was geared down so far I still had to fight for every pedal stroke. It felt like I was just crawling up the road, and it took every bit of mental focus I had to keep going. I kept trying to relax my upper body and focus on smooth breathing and smooth pedaling. The road winds around a lot, so you really can’t see what is ahead, and every time I came around a corner I would see more road stretching up the mountain, and I would have to will myself to keep going. It became a game of “just pedal to that tree up there” and then “okay, now just pedal to that signpost”.

I kept up this mental game until I was a little over halfway up, and I kept telling myself that I had come so far that I couldn’t quit now, but finally it overwhelmed me and I decided that I couldn’t go any further, so I pulled over on a part of the road that seemed a little less steep. I say a “little less steep” because I don’t think the grade got below 5% from mile 3 until the top, except for about a 100 yard stretch next to a little pond. I almost fell off the bike when I stopped, because my legs were so shaky. I had some panic “what have I done” kind of thoughts, wondering how I was going to get back down when I couldn’t even stand up. I drank some water and walked around for a few minutes to catch my breath, and then sanity took over again, and I figured I had come so far that I should try to keep going.

I had picked a good place to stop because just around the next bend the road flattened out a good bit for a little stretch, and I noticed a little pond off to the left, so I decided to pull over, enjoy the scenery, and eat a granola bar to see if I could get some energy back.

TraverseRidgePond

I don’t know how long I sat there. It seemed like 5 minutes, but it could’ve been longer. Passing drivers gave me interesting looks as I finished my granola bar and drained my first water bottle. I looked up the road, and guessed that I might be getting close to the top, so since I felt a bit refreshed I decided to soldier on, determined to get to the summit.

Needless to say, I made it, and the picture at the top of this post is the proof that I was there.  I sat and enjoyed my conquest for a few minutes, taking some more pictures, and even sending a text message to my family with a picture, to prove what I had done.

If the ride up was one of the hardest things I ever done, then the ride down was surely one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. I’m not sure how fast I ended up going, but I was keeping pace with the cars coming down, so I would guess I probably hit 45-50 miles per hour. That was intense!

On the way down I noticed a sign that I hadn’t seen coming up, and it pretty much sums up the journey…

TraverseRidgeGrade

I’m actually glad that I didn’t see that on the way up, because I think it would have been one more thing to overcome in the mental game.

By the time I got back home I had covered about 25 miles, and had accomplished something that I never would have dreamed of even trying a year ago. We cooked some steaks, and I shared my adventure with my family.

It was quite a Father’s Day!

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Nice job Scott. I love reading your posts. Great pictures too. Where was this?

Thom Allen

Comment by Thom Allen

Thanks Thom. I rode up Traverse Ridge, the road up to Suncrest. The first picture was taken when I got to the top.

Comment by Scott

Looks like a great place to build up your leg muscles! You probably averaged 20+ mph, which is a really good pace. 🙂

Comment by Greg

I can assure you that I did not average 20+ mph on the way up! In fact, I would be surprised if I hit more than 5 mph on the really steep stuff. Sometimes it felt like -5 mph. However, the ride down certainly made up for a lack of speed on the way up!

Comment by Scott

Awesome entry and good job! I recently rode up a 1 mile 7% hill and was crying by the time I got to the top, so you are my hero 😉

Comment by @jeanbeanjones

Thanks for your kind comments, but don’t be too impressed. Take a look here and then be impressed (Death Valley, 13% grade, 4900 ft of elevation gained… wow)!

Thanks for stopping by!

Comment by Scott




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