It has been called "The Most Beautiful Ride In the World". I'm sure some would argue otherwise, but it's gotta be right up there.
Yesterday (May 14), three of us left Harrah's at the South Shore exactly at 9:30am as planned. I hoped we would make it back by 4:00, which would mean something over 14 mph average speed. That's me on the right.
Here's the discouraging part: At the end of the ride, I felt GREAT. I'll explain later.
We started around the lake, clockwise. We didn't make our first rest stop until . . . mile 1.3. Everyone pulled into a McDonald's for a potty break.
After about 10 miles, we start the first climb, up to Inspiration Point. I was dreading this, since I have driven it and know there are two switchbacks. Swithbacks = steep. I pictured myself on the inside of the turn with a car on my left, unable to make it up and performing a 0mph fall. But ya know what? It wasn't all that hard.
Here's a view near the top.
Here's one of the switchbacks. I have highlighted Jim on the road. He may be a bit hard to see.
Once at the top, it looks like this. On a Wednesday, the only people at the view area were foreign tourists. There was lots of mutual picture taking.
From the view area, there is a nice, smooth downhill, whereon a cyclist is traveling as fast as the cars (42mph for me). It would not be so smooth for me on the last down hill.
Any real climbing is now over for a while. We get on a 13-mile bike path, that Jay described as "a road biker's single track". It was twisty, smooth and full of whoop-de-doos. We passed a California Conservation Corps crew who had just swept several miles of it. There wasn't a pine needle to be run over.
After lunch at a Subway, we hit the second climb at approximately 54.34 miles. By this time, the wind is swirling, and the occasional tailwind make us realize how yucky the headwind is. The "first cut is the steepest", but I find a comfortable gear and make good time. The last 6 miles is less steep but less easy for some reason.
Now for the big big downhill. We hit Highway 50 and feel like we are on the home stretch, which we are. Then, at 43 mph, my bike starts a "mystery shimmy". It has never done it before. I've ridden faster down steeper hills. I think I might go down. Jim, behind me, told me later that he couldn't believe how bad it looked. But, and here's why reading BF might actually be helpful, I remember reading about these "mystery shimmies" on one of the sub-forums (back when I read more than the 50+ers) and how to stop them. I clamp my top tube between my knees. The shimmy stops. Remember this tip folks. I have no doubt it saved me.
We pulled into the parking lot at EXACTLY 4:00. 74.03 miles. About 3700 feet of climbing. My average speed: 14.7, which is pretty good for me.
I felt great. Not worn out. No pain. I was never out of breath, even at 7000 feet. That's the discouraging part. I have been having trouble with my left leg (my doctor, an orthpedic sports doctor and a neurologist haven't figured it out yet, but that's another thread) and it keeps me from hammering, standing up over sprinters' hills, etc. But, I can ride forever. It's still an internal battle between my capabilities and my mind's expectations. I know I can be better.
Now, a little insight into Mojo Slim. I had a two hour drive home. I splurged with a Big Mac and Fries (at our 1.3 mile rest stop. Opened my sunroof and rear window slider on my '93 Ranger, lit a very nice Rocky Patel cigar, and plugged in my iPod. Even shuffling through 7123 songs, it knew I wanted to hear Clapton, the Beatles, Robben Ford. A very nice end to a great day.