Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The China Grade

        Lisa says, "I'm going to Taylorsville for some bodywork, would you like to come with me?" She's been working on a stiff neck/ tight back problem, so it would be good of me to do the driving. Kanda, her masseuse extraordinaire, had some unfinished business with Lisa.
        Hey, I'll bring my bike and ride up Mt. Hough on the China Grade. I air-up the fifteen year old Gary Fisher Cake and throw on cycling clothes...November high country cycling clothes.
         It was high noon on a monday...mid November. The China Grade heads south out of town, right behind the school...I imagined the kids looking out the windows saying, "No Way." It's a 20-23% grade for the first two miles, without a pause in grade...should've warmed-up a little. I dropped to granny gear immediately. The left knee started talking to me right away...the seat felt like it was tilted back a bit too much. The road surface was perfect, moist clay-like dirt and no rocks.
        At the 1 milepost there was a light snow accumulation next to the one lane track but, the road was clear and tacky. At the 2 milepost there was a truck track to follow through a one inch snow layer. The grade was still relentless, I was puffing like a horse at full-gallop...even though I was progressing at a two mile-an-hour pace. I'm looking desperately for the 3 milepost and now pushing on the pedals with all I have to progress through four inches of snow. The truck track stopped. I can see where the driver had unloaded a snow machine...I followed that track for another hundred yards to a confusing intersection of five roads.
        OK, time to head back downhill...I'll just follow this truck track. I'm not sure how it happened but, it was the wrong truck track. The downhill was snow and ice covered for two miles and went in a NW direction. I should have taken the NE fork...it didn't look right...Oh well, I have my phone. Yep, I hit the main road five miles west of Taylorsville. My feet were numb and my hands were crampy from working the brakes down the icy descent. It was only a twelve mile ride and took me an hour and a half to complete. My commute of twelve miles a week may be keeping my butt bones in shape however, my sore legs and frozen feet thought they had had enough.  Lisa was all warm and rubbery when she walked out of her massage..."Are you sure you don't want Kanda to work on you?" I was salty and my body temperature must have been in the low nineties. I think she would hurt me, I'm not going to risk it, I replied. A man has to know his limitations.