One of my favorite rides on the road bike is to do a loop which takes me on the Peak to Peak to Hwy 72 up to Wondervue, down to hwy 93, then up Golden Gate Canyon Rd, GGC. The last section, GGC Rd is about 17 miles at the bottom, at ~6050 ft elevation and climbs to 9200 ft elevation to my home.
My goal for this particular ride was to ride the hills in zone 3, and the flat in zone 2. I was shooting for a completion time of about 3:30. Normally this ride is a zone 2 ride, and 4 hrs. The fastest I’ve ever ridden it was 3:40hrs, so I knew I was in for challenge. I had just been fit on my Madone the day before, so a hard day would tell me how the my body accepted the changes.
This particular day for me was the best day of the year as far as weather goes. In the mountains it was about 65°, very little wind, and full sun. Normally there is not much to see, don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful country, lots of mountain, trees, little traffic. What I mean is there is no activity. Just cars, and motorcycles, lots of motorcycles. However, this day, along the Boulder Creek off Hwy 72, I saw Moose. It’s rare to see moose, but there were three. This is the second time this year I’ve seen moose. It’s a cow, and two calves. They have been wondering around this area for the last six months or so. I had to stop and watch them for a minutes before they hide themselves in the marsh. I need to start bringing my camera.
The rest of the ride was brought no excitement. Just great riding in the mountains, and lots of sun.
I got to the bottom of the GGC Rd at 1:53hr. To make my time of 3:30, I had 1:40hr to make it to the top. This is a three stage climb. The first part is about 40min, a gradual climb from 6050 to 7800ft over 6 miles. Not terribly difficult. There are some flat spots which allow some recovery or add some speed. About one mile from the top of this climb the pitch increases, and so does the HR. I got up into the high zone 4, which I wasn’t expecting. I think it was because of the heat, but I was also moving fast and working hard. I was dripping sweat, leaving a trail up the climb.
At the top, there is a 1.5min downhill, steep and fast, and doesn’t allow much time to recover before the next section. Now we have a 4 mile climb which takes about 20 mins. This is the hardest part of the ride, but also the most fun. At around 1 hr, there is a super steep grade, it must be 15-20%, it only last about .25 mile, but after 1 hr of climbing, and 3hrs on the bike, it can take you over the edge if you are not careful. During this section I was in zone 4, and when I hit the steep part, I was already at my limit. I was feeling good, but my legs were tired. I just dug in deep and marched up. I got to the top in 3hr flat, about 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
The final stretch home is another 4 miles, from 8200 to 9200. It’s not a difficult climb. I’ve probably done this one about 100 times. Mostly I finish this climb off on my MTB after riding the in GGC State Park. On a road bike it’s much easier, but after 3hrs of riding and over an 1hr of constant climbing, my left are feeling it. In zone 4 all the way up, I made it to the top in 3:24, a PR. The 17 mile climb was 1:32hr.
This was the first time on the route with my Madone. It felt great on the climbs and on the descents. After the fit, I am very comfortable. I might need a couple of more adjustments, but Its a huge improvements over my last bike.
Checkout the ride profile from TrainingPeaks