Now that I'm back on the bike, I'm slowly getting around to regaining some conditioning. I'm also getting around to checking out some of the "classic" Boulder climbs, and today's foray took me up Sunshine Canyon.
To get to it, I had to head downhill towards town, which, while probably better than starting right at the base, doesn't allow for much of a warm-up. But, one takes what one gets, so I did what I could in terms of warm-up in the first 4 miles. And then the climb began.
In a geographical-bait-and-switch, the first initial stretch is relatively gradual. But then the real climb reveals itself -- for the next 2.75 miles, the grade averages 7.5%. That by itself, though, doesn't completely describe the first section because during this first 2.75 miles, the further up I went, the average grade got steeper. For example, near the end of this section there were grades in the 10-15% range. To be sure, I was in my lowest gear, and thinking "perhaps I bit off more than I can chew at this point on my road back." But, I didn't pick this road to walk up it, so I had gave myself no other choice but to keep turning the pedals over.
At the end of this first section, there was time for some recovery... for about a quarter mile. Then the climb began to bite again: the next mile averaged a 6% grade. By this time, my legs were more than warmed-up, so things felt a little easier, all things equal. This middle stretch was followed by a half-mile opportunity to recover and refuel, before I made my final push up the .75 mile section at 6.25%. Well, my final section... the road turns to dirt and continues to climb, so I rode the dirt for a little bit before turning around and headed back home (I had a lunch date with Peggy!)
It was, in terms of mileage, a pretty short ride... right around 20 miles round-trip. But it was the 2,200 feet of elevation gain that made it some of the more challenging 90 minutes I've had on my bike.