Friday, February 23, 2007

Anatomy of a Simple Dam Loop

Yesterday I wrote that I would be heading for the foothills today, and that's exactly what I did. Wheeze!

Since I rode so far yesterday, I needed to take a bit of a break today. But I didn't. My normal foothills route takes me up to Horsetooth Reservoir, over three dams, downhill past a fourth dam while flying at over 50 mph, then down into Bellvue, over Bingham Hill, and back home along my favorite 10-mile road. Lots of climbing and a total of over 25 miles.

But rather than take that on today, I chose to ride up and over the first dam -- Spring Canyon Dam -- and then turn back to town before crossing the second dam -- Dixon Canyon Dam. This route is Googlemapped below, beginning at the bottom of the map. Mile mark #2 is where Spring Canyon Dam is located.

Using my inclinometer, I determined that the switchback between Mile Marker #1 and #2 is a steady 6% climb. Then after crossing over the dam, the road turns upwards at a 16% grade for a hundred yards before leveling out at about 8% for another half-mile.

Following the crest of the hill and a fun straight descent for about 3/4s of a mile -- I hit 40 mph today -- the road then turns sharply right then loops left while dropping at an ungodly 18% grade. Unfortunately, because of the turns and lack of visibility, speeds have to be moderated and brakes have to be sacrificed.

We're supposed to get two to three inches of snow tomorrow (Saturday) morning, so even though I didn't feel too much like riding today, I still managed to put in 15 1/2 miles for the day, bringing my week up to 200 miles -- which also puts me over 1,000 miles for the year!


Blogger John said...

O, to have hills in Michigan. We've got a couple 4-8% grades here (not long, so you have to do repeats), but that's about it.


9:00 AM, February 27, 2007  

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