When I got home this morning from my bike ride at around ten-thirty the first thing that my wife said to me was: "That was quick."
Well that is good to know, considering I had just ridden for three hours and seventy kilometres. I had also climbed almost one thousand metres in the process.
I wasn't sure if I was going to make itout for my routine Sunday ride -- and my only ride of the week -- as the weather had turned cold -- or at least what passes for cold around here -- and wet last Wednesday and had been raining ever since. The rain finally let off Saturday morning and stayed away for most of the day. But it rained a little again in the night.
And with the rain comes cold weather, so even if the rain were to stop, there's also the worry about cycling in the cold. But, I had bought a merino wool base layer last year that I didn't get a chance to use (it was still in the box I bought it in) and was eager to try and I had just bought a small, light backpack to take with me on rides so I should have been able to keep warm out there.
(The point of the backpack is to allow me to carry extra clothes should I need to put more clothes on because I'm too cold or maybe change clothes because the ones I'm wearing are wet with sweat and are making me cold. The backpack also gives me a place to put the clothes I had previously put on should the sun come out and it gets hot and I then discover I'm wearing too much.)
Thankfully the weather was dry in the morning and I was able to head out. By the time the sun had risen, it was obvious that thit was clearing up because we had blue skies. So other than the low temperatures -- my Garmin said the temperature was 12C when I left home and I think it was around twenty when I got home -- the weather was perfect for riding.
The guys had already left by the time I got to the meeting place, but since I knew where they were going and I wasn't *that* late, they were easy to catch up to.
We headed up into mountains today. That climb is not an easy one. Some sections were at a sixteen to seventeen percent gradient and the rest were between seven and twelve.
Unfortunately I only have one speed when climbing and that one speed happened to be faster than those of the other I guys I was riding with today. Not too far from the start of the climb I left them behind. The big problem witht that is that I wasn't completely sure where our destination was and so I just kept riding (and climbing). I thought I had a good idea about where we were supposed to turn so I just kept on riding until I got to that place.
Close to that place the road got *very* steep and I was forced to actually get off the bike and walk a short distance. A little ways after getting back on the bike I had to get off and walk another short distance.
I then came -- finally -- to the start of the descent. I thought that that would be a good place to stop and wait for the other guys. I thought the place where we would turn was ahead and down the mountain a little ways, but if I were wrong, I would have to climb back to where I currently was and I did not relish that thought.
So I stopped and waited. And waited. And took a picture. And waited some more. After about fifteen minutes -- I couldn't have been *that* much fast than them coming up, could I? -- I figured they must have turned off somewhere else. (But, I didn't remember seeing any ideal places to turn off the road I had just come up.) Not knowing where, I didn't want to go down only to come back up should I be right in the first place and so I decided to just go on by myself. (This particular road goes all the way up and then goes down again and the two places on the bottom that start the climb are are not too far apart. So unlike a lot of mountain routes around here where you go up, get to the end of the climb, and then turn around and go down the same way you came up, this road allows to do a loop.)
So I just continued on and went down and back home by myself.
The road winds through a small town whose one and only industry and sole reason for being there are the hot springs in the area. Well, the place is also famous for their chicken, but if the hot springs weren't there, then the hotels wouldn't be there, and then the people wouldn’t be there and need something to eat. At the other end of town from the direction fom which I was coming is a stone tunnel and right after the tunnel the road splits off to the left and the right. The road to the right is probably the shortest way home for me as it will lead almost directly to my home. It also involves another long climb, one as difficult — if not more difficult — than the one I just did.
I took the road to the left.
That road continues down for a ways and then after a mostly flat stretch it branches again. Most people take the left way when we do this route but most people I ride with live in the city. I, however, live in the countryside and so I took the road on the right as it was closer to home and, more importantly, would allow me to avoid going through the city to get home.
I had also only been on that road two or three times in the past and so I wasn't completely sure I knew where I was going. But, I figured, if I got lost, I could use GPS to get home.
This road also has more — a lot more — climbing than the other road has. I had forgotten about that. Some of the climbs were even steeper than the steepest sections of the long climb I had already done.
But I made it home and made it home quite quickly, according to my wife.
So lots of climbing today and a fair amount of kilometres. I also got to see some beautiful scenes in the mountains and left my riding buddies behind.
[My ride on Relive](