A TON has happened over the last few days here in Vegas, especially with the three big rides Roman and myself did.
|The new bridge to Arizona, at Hoover Dam|
|Roman and I at the Hoover Dam, Nevada side|
Our first big ride, down to the Hoover Dam, was definitely my favorite ride we’ve had so far. The weather was unreal, getting up to 35 degrees C over at the dam, it was amazing out all day. We did thousands of meters of climbing that day, as it was all up and down to and from the dam. Out near the dam is a 33MILE bike path, perfectly paved, that is ONLY for cyclists, runners, walkers, etc. It was perfect for riding on, some places we were just flying along at high speeds, with hairpin turns. The dam was an experience itself, Roman knew a lot of the history of the dam, and imparted some of that wisdom on me. Halfway across the dam you are in Arizona (and yes, that means crossing a time zone!) We officially rode 1 mile into Arizona. After the dam, it was some epic climbing all the way back to where we split off (Roman got to keep riding WITH a tailwind,) and then it got REALLY hard for me, as I was fighting a crazy headwind for about 45 minutes to get back to my hotel. It was ugly, as the winds out here get REALLY ugly in a hurry.
|“It’s not THAT high, only a hand length….”|
|Just up from the Dam, Arizona side|
|Ripping along the 8ft wide, 33mile long cycle path|
|Roman prepping for the descent with magazines in the shirt!!|
The next day (wednesday,) was the height of our climbing experience here, as we rode all the way to the top of Mt. Charleston (which is somewhere between 7000-8000ft high.) The worst thing about the climbing? Headwind.
|Top of Mt. Charleston, over 7000ft!!|
That’s right, 30km’s of hard climbing (avg grade around 13%,) and it was COLD that day. As we got to the visitors center at the top, we were warned we should head back down as a weather system was moving in. Now, we weren’t prepared for the cold that day (duh, we’re in VEGAS, it’s supposed to be WARM!!!) so we prepped for the decent by putting magazine’s in our jerseys to block the wind, and I went so far as to buy a pair of socks from the visitors center, cut the toes off, and used them as calf guards (compressport calf guards would’ve worked WAY better, but these got me down good enough, lol.) It was a chilly but FAST decent down.
|After hours of 120kmh wind climbing, summit of Mt. Potosi|
Thursday was by far the most memorable ride I think I will EVER experience, as it was the highest winds I am ever likely to see. It was our longest ride day, and the winds were 120km/hr most of the day. It was insane I tell you. Roman was blown off the road a few times (no thanks to his ZIPP 404’s,) and I was slapped around by the wind pretty good too. We climbed Mt. Potosi (around 5500ft at the summit,) with the 120km/hr headwinds the whole way. Imagine climbing in your small chainring, biggest cog, yet still only turning about 55rpm, pushing on average 250+ Watts. THEN, some of the gusts hit so hard that they literally STOPPED us in our tracks, and I had to stand and push as HARD as I could, JUST TO KEEP MOVING!!!! It was frightening sometimes, especially on the decent. That was a whole ‘nother monster unto itself, as it took us 2.5hrs to climb to the top of the mountain, and about 15 minutes to decend (averaging well over 70km/hr coming down.) That day was FREEEZING too, yet again we were unprepared for the cold.
|Banner’s gonna break off in the wind|
You’d think we would’ve learned eh? Guess not.
|Old Freemont street on the strip|
We rode through the strip near the end of our ride, which was amazing to see. I’ve never seen hotels that big before, it was overwhelming. I got majorly rained on RIGHT at the end of my ride, it started to come down hard about a mile from my condo, so I narrowly avoided the worst of it.
|Dinner in the Aria Hotel|
But then I had to do a brick run in it:( Ugly, I was tripped up a few times by the wind. I’m telling you, intervals are almost impossible to do at certain pace zones when the wind can stop you on the spot. It’s a different experience, one that I can put into perspective at home (we’ll NEVER have winds like these at home, they would shut the city down!) That night, Roman and I went down to the strip for dinner, and to check things out, as that was his last night here. Delicious dinner, and I won $17 at the roulette table in the Aria. It was awesome, even though I’m not a gambler at all, the lights at night just astound the senses, it’s very difficult to really take it all in during a short little trip through.
|My first experience on ‘The Strip’|
Think I might have to go back some time;)
After yesterday’s easier day, I’m ready to ramp it back up, and the weather is now steadily improving (although it’s still really cold out.) They say that it is oddly cold this last week, and of course it’s supposed to heat WAY back up right after I leave (seems to be my luck in life.) Oh well, I’ll make the best of it, at least it’s not raining right?
Time to get out there and RIDE!!!