This was the week I was dreading since the first time I looked at the training calendar. Lookout Mountain is tough. It is about 6 miles of climbing with an average 6% grade. I knew it was going to hurt and I felt unprepared after skipping almost 2 weeks of training. To make matters worse, we started in Glendale again. This meant that we had about 12 or 15 miles of riding before we even got to the big climb.
It was tough, but I kept a positive mental attitude and just kept going. After finally reaching the top the coach commented, “Are you having fun? It looks like you almost have a smile on your face.” Truth be told, it was a bit fun. Sure it was painful and hot, but I could see the top and knew I was going to make it.
After reaching the top, it would have been great if it were all downhill. We did go back down the front of Lookout and I loved just “trusting the bike” and passing people that were holding their brakes a little too long. But then we had another couple of climbs ahead of us. Although it was partly cloudy, it seemed that on every climb the sun would peek out and the breeze died.
At the end of the ride, I bonked and had two flat tires. It wasn’t a great end to the ride, but I felt like I passed two major hurdles. The first was Lookout Mountain and the second was crossing the 50 mile mark (and actually hitting 65 miles). Although we are still short of the 100 miles we will do in Moab, I still have two months to prepare and the optimism is setting in.