Monthly Archives: April 2011

Lefthand Canyon in the Spring

Garmin Data:

Both Beth L and Randy B had today off, so I decided to join them in the morning on my first ride of the year up Lefthand Canyon to Ward and the Peak-to-Peak highway. Last year I must’ve gone up this canyon half a dozen times while preparing for the cross country ride. Most years I get up it at least a few times. It is a fantastic ride and a wonderful route if you are training for climbing!

I decided not to bring my camera on the ride as my pockets were overflowing with other stuff. I filled them with a Pearlizumi Barrier jacket, some long fingered gloves, my ‘turtle fur’ helmet liner and toe covers. Although I would have loved taking some photos, I definitely made the right trade off! It was cool at the bottom of the canyon, but down right chilly as we approached the final couple miles. There was a steady, moderate headwind the entire ride. We also experience both rain and SNOW on the top part of the ride. Randy and I were riding together when the rain started. It was a light drizzle, but the clouds up ahead told us that it could just as easily dump on us. I was the first to admit that I wasn’t too keen on getting wet today, but Randy was quick to chime in. We said we’d ride just a bit further to see if it would let up. Well, the rain didn’t last.It didn’t exactly stop but it did switch over to snow. And, we found that snow as a good alternative as we didn’t get wet. We just got cold! So, we put on a couple of layers and rode on.

I was feeling good and riding strong. Randy was riding even stronger. He’s been working out quite a bit and has also dropped about 20 lbs. I on the other hand, continue to haul too much body fat up hills. Good thing I’ve got strong legs! That’s the only thing that keeps me in the game I think. Randy and I rode most of the way together.  I led the entire ride. Beth was having a tough day and lagged behind us by a few minutes. We waited up once, but after we started up again she fell behind pretty quickly. I know exactly how she felt. Every cyclist I’ve ever known can relate to days when riding is just difficult.  I don’t think Beth ever found her rhythm nor did she have a deep reserve of energy to just push through it.  She was just coming into Ward as Randy and I were heading back down after a short rest stop at the small store. Instead of continuing on up to the Peak-to-Peak highway, Beth was very content to turn around and join us for a screaming (cold!) downhill!

To give you an idea of the grade – it took me 2:06 to climb UP the canyon and a little over 30 minutes to get back down! MapMyRide rates it as a category 1 climb – with a 15.4 mile climb averaging 4.4 % (total of 3,500′ of elevation gain in 17 miles). Not a bad workout. This is the route we take on day #1 of the CRR-ABB (Colorad Reunion Ride – America By Bicycle) tour Beth and I are leading in July. Should get everyone’s attention I think!