Monday, April 15, 2013

Biking - Testing the legs on the first climb of the year

Finally, a day with some biking appeal!  Warmer temperatures, lighter winds, and nothing else to do.

So far this season, I've been doing relatively flat rides, repeating the same 16-mile loop as weather and schedule permitted.  Today, I decided to add on a bit with a 21-mile ride that included a climb of my favorite, Grant Hill Road in Guilderland.  I rode this loop clockwise, starting from home, just off the top of the map.

The day just wasn't warming up fast enough, so I finally bit the bullet, layered up, and hit the road.  There was a little more wind than I'd expected, and temps were still only in the 40s, but I was dressed right, so it was still pleasant riding.

Grant Hill Road is a fairly short climb, less than a mile, but there's a 9% pitch near the top that gets your heart beating.  I ride this climb a lot because it lets me gauge progress in leg strength as the season progresses.  Today, I was in a much lower gear than usual, but there was never any question of making the top.  From there, it was mostly downhill to French's Hollow, now closed to cars, but the bridge over the Normanskill is still open for bikes.  I always stop for a drink here and enjoy the water coming down from Watervliet Reservoir.  On a good day, there might even be a train crossing the trestle.

It's a short steep climb out of here, and soon I'm back on the end of the 16-mile route I've been doing, with a few miles added today.  A few unexpected sprinkles hit me on the way home, but overall it was a good day on the bike.

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