The Gauntlet Supreme

06.20.2007 | 10:01 am

Last Saturday a bunch of us went on a ride.

A long ride.

A really long ride.

Specifically, we rode the “Alpine Gauntlet Supreme” — a road loop around Mount Timpanogos, where pretty much every inch is either a hard climb or fast descent. The difference between doing the Alpine Loop and the Gauntlet, though, is that the Gauntlet has you do all the spurs off the loop, changing the ride from a 40 mile loop with 3000 feet of climbing into an 80 mile loop with 7000 feet of climbing.

And then Dug or Rick or someone had to make the (stupid) observation that if we really wanted to do all of the climbs in the loop we’d need to turn around and come up the other side (ie, the Sundance side) of the mountain, making for a total of 7 climbs, 92 miles, and about 10,000 feet of climbing. Like this:

That’s a lot. (By the way, you’re welcome to look at my upload of this ride on Motionbased, where you can see a map, distance, speed, time, heart rate info, and everything else, but be aware: the amount of climbing it credits us with is waaaaay off the mark: 21,941 feet! If you do the math based on the bottom and top of each climb, you get around 10,000 feet of climbing, which seems about right.)

So How Many People Did the Ride?
When you do a big group ride, one thing everyone wants to know is how many people were in the group.

The answer is very simple: i don’t know.

Oh, it’s not that i didn’t count at the beginning of the ride. There were eight of us.

But that number kept changing. you’ll see what i mean in a minute.

We started the ride at 6:00, pretty much as planned. Those who had Fat Cyclist jerseys wore them — except Brad, who thought he’d drum up business for his mortgage brokering company by wearing his jersey. What a putz.

First Passenger
Within a couple miles — right as we entered American Fork canyon– another rider joined us. I just assumed he was part of our group, but no, he was just an interloper, using us as a peloton of convenience. That was fine with us; all riders welcome.

We rode together — more or less — up the canyon and then up what i would call the “prologue climb” — Granite Flat. Here, Sans Auto demonstrated the benefits of weighing 140 pounds and riding your bike everywhere you go (including when you move from Oregon). The kid (he’s still in college and i’m 41, so i can call him “kid”) flew up the short-but-steep climb, providing the only serious challenge to Brad’s climbing supremacy of the day.

We finished the quick climb up granite Flat, coasted back down, and took the obligatory group photo. Already, though, the group had splintered a bit. The guy who had piggybacked onto our group had flatted and — even though he should have had plenty of time to change the flat while we regrouped and took a photo — hadn’t caught up. So we took a group photo at the Tibble Fork Reservoir, with Mt. Timpanogos as the backdrop.


I mean, the mountains are beautiful. The guys in front of it, maybe not so much. And i feel a little bad about it, but we took this shot before one of the starting group caught up. Sorry!

Also, I want to make it clear that we did not intentionally separate the jersey “have’s” from the “have-not’s.” It just happened that way.

For some reason, though, every time I look at this photo, I feel a sudden urge to refinance my mortgage. Weird.

Climb Time
Nobody had any illusions that we’d all do the entire ride as a group, and I think everyone knew where the group would splinter — on the big climb up to the Timpooneke parking lot, and then on to the summit of the Alpine Loop.

Sure enough, before long it was Brad, Rick Sunderlage (not his real name), Sans Auto, and me, working together on the first big climb of the day.

But wait! There was Chris, catching and hanging with the group. Suddenly, I perceive him as a serious B7 threat.

As we rolled, i found out someone else had been seen wearing the Fat Cyclist jersey up ahead of us. I figured this must be Lisa, my neighbor from back when i lived in Orem. I knew she had started riding on the road, but figured we’d catch her before long.

Tough Love for Linde
As we climbed, we caught up with Linde, who had started the ride on his own, after leaving multiple messages on my phone (none of which i received — i didn’t even bring my phone, knowing i wouldn’t have a signal for most of the ride).

I’m afraid, though, we didn’t ride long with Linde. The lead group had a sense of purpose — finish the ride before the day got too hot. After all, it was only 7:00am and it was already warm.

And after all, on big climbs everyone rides alone.

Hey, I really like that saying: “On Big Climbs, Everyone Rides Alone.” I wonder if that would fit on a bumper sticker.

Two Reasons for a Silly Spur
The second of the seven climbs we did was climb up to the Timpooneke parking lot.

This was, frankly, a ridiculous little half-mile spur, but I had my reasons for doing it.

  1. I wanted to be able to claim a perfect Gauntlet Supreme. If the idea of doing the Gauntlet Supreme is to do every single climbing spur of the Alpine Loop, then this climb must be included.
  2. I wanted to be able to rub Dug’s nose in it. I knew that last year Dug, Rick and Joe had done this ride, but they had skipped doing the Timpooneke climb. By including this spur in my ride, I could now claim they nearly did the full ride, and it’s a shame they didn’t complete the entire thing. Of course, by doing this we risked being mauled by bears, but hey: anything for the purity of the sport.

Where’s Lisa?
After finishing this silly-but-dreadfully important spur, we finished the climb up to the top of the Alpine Loop. I kept expecting to catch up to Lisa, but we didn’t. Weird. Could she really have stayed that far ahead of us?

As we got to the top of the Alpine Loop, Sans Auto said goodbye; he had started his ride at 4:00am and had a long way to go before he got home.

I believe it was at this point that I stopped concerning myself with who or how many people were on the ride. It wasn’t so much a group ride, I decided, as a pick-up ride. Join in when you can, do as much as you want, leave when you have to.

That is a very cool idea, when you think about it, and this course was just perfect for it — Since it was an out-and-back with spurs, it’s easy to drop into the ride, not to mention skip or truncate spurs you don’t want to do.

I am an unintentional genius.

Cascade Springs
Of every climb I regularly do, Cascade Springs makes me the most nervous, for two reasons.

  1. The first part is ridiculously steep. Without trying particularly hard, I hit my top speed of the day during the first mile: 53mph.
  2. It requires total commitment. Unlike most climbs I do, the road to Cascade Springs starts at the top of the mountain and drops down. So, after seven miles of descending (broken up in the middle with a mile-long climb), you’re at the bottom of a big ol’ climb, and the only way out is to do the ride. There is no bail-out option.

I kept wondering as Brad, Rick and I blasted down toward the bottom of Cascade Springs when we’d catch up with Lisa. Finally, I figured it out: Lisa must have gotten tired and skipped the Cascade Springs spur.

Then, about 1.5 miles from the bottom, we caught up with her.

She was going the other direction.

What this means, gentle reader, is that Lisa had already done the entire descent and was significantly on her way back up to the top.

This was not the Lisa I remembered.

When Brad, Rick and I got to the bottom, we skipped the leisurely rest we had planned on earlier. Now we had a mission.

We had to catch Lisa.

So we hammered. Before too long we encountered Chris coming the other direction, so he wasn’t far behind us. Then we came across Linde and BotchedExperiment, each of which elected to skip the rest of the descent and turn around, joining us in our climb.


OK, in all fairness to Botched, he had to be home by 9:30am, so had been planning on a truncated version of the ride all along. He’d be heading home once he got back to the top of the Alpine Loop.

Bonus Question: So, how many people were now on the ride? Don’t forget to include Scott, Lisa’s brother, who I have not otherwise mentioned in this account yet, but was nevertheless not far behind his sister.

Hard Mile
It’s interesting the way one small section of a ride can color your perception of the entire ride. That’s how mile six of the Cascade Springs climb is. It is so incredibly steep it reduces me to about 4mph, which is a pretty ridiculous-feeling speed on a road bike.

It’s so steep that my impression of the entire Cascade Spring section is of being steep, even though much of it is really pretty moderate.

I believe it was during this mile that Brad rode away from me, I think in third gear.

I kept expecting, at each bend, to see Lisa, but never did. She was still maintaining the lead, and we still wouldn’t catch her during the descent to Provo Canyon.

True Love
I was glad to start the easiest climb of the day: South Fork. In fact, with less than 500 feet of climbing, it hardly even feels like a climb, in comparison.

It was during this section that we finally — finally! – caught up with Lisa. She explained that since her husband (Rich) gave her a road bike for Christmas last year, she’s just fallen in love with road riding and that’s all she wants to do anymore.

And it’s obviously paid huge dividends. She’s at a completely new riding level. I told her she needs to stop thinking about a sub-11 hour time at Leadville this year, and start thinking seriously about sub-10.

I have to say, it’s really, really cool to see someone find what kind of riding they love. Lisa’s always been a strong cyclist, but until she found the road bike, I’d hesitate to say she was in love with cycling. Clearly, she now has. It makes you think: the debates people have over what kind of cycling is best are totally futile. The best kind of cycling is the kind you like best. For me, that changes about four times per season.

I’m fickle.

Squaw Peak
We cruised down South Fork, most of us starting to dread the Squaw Peak climb a little bit. 1800 feet in four miles. And it was now officially a hot day. Yikes.

I admit to not having much of a recollection of Squaw Peak. I mostly remember that Lisa took off for the climb while the rest of us were filling our water bottles and that I would not see her again until the top of the climb. I remember that Linde broke off from the climb and headed home (so how many people were left on the ride?) I remember Brad dropping me. And Rick dropping me.

If it were possible, I would likely have dropped myself.

But at the top, Rich (Lisa’s husband) was waiting for us with an ice chest full of cold gatorade.

The dude’s a saint.

Special note to Linde: You’re going to need to become a stronger climber or you’re going to log another 12+ hour time at Leadville in August. Tough love, dude. Tough love.

Last Climb
While we were eating and drinking at the top of Squaw Peak, Sunderlage was looking at his watch, clearly torn. He had promised to be home by 12:30, but there was no way he could do the last climb and be home by that time. So he made the hard choice and rode home through the valley.

Which means, of course, this is twice now that Sunderlage has almost done the Gauntlet Supreme. Maybe next year, Rick. Ha.

Lisa stayed and talked with her husband and son for a bit while Brad and I took off, anxious to get this last climb over with.

The thing is, the Provo side of the Alpine Loop is clearly the harder climb. Especially the first five miles of it. It’s just steep. And the day was so hot. And I was so cooked.

Even Brad admitted to mild discomfort on the climb.

But we did it.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a ride that has left me unable to easily descend a set of stairs. But that ride — 90+ miles, 10,000+ feet of climbing, in 7 hours — did the trick.

I was fully thrashed.

And I’d like to do it again before the end of the season.


  1. Comment by seven22 | 06.20.2007 | 10:22 am

    Thanks Fatty. Your selfless act of bravery just earned me a full steak and cheese sandwich from the Italian place. You see, I had a bet with a doubter whether or not you could complete the gauntlet. Thanks to your biking skills, I won the bet. Pay up sucka.

  2. Comment by seven22 | 06.20.2007 | 10:22 am

    Thanks Fatty. Your selfless act of bravery just earned me a full steak and cheese sandwich from the Italian place. You see, I had a bet with a doubter whether or not you could complete the gauntlet. Thanks to your biking skills I won the bet. Pay up sucka.

  3. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.20.2007 | 10:27 am


  4. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.20.2007 | 10:33 am

    BTW, while I was on that ride, I think I saw almost everyone I know who’s into cycling. In addition to running into Linde, I happened across Fish, and Dan and Brad (Willie) Nelson at the summit parking lot. Weird.

    Not only is Brad very proud of his jersey, he’s kind of particular about who gets them. He said it was about who had loans with him, but I know that’s not true, but I have grown to doubt the veracity of that statement, since I’ve seen people wearing a BradKeys jersey that didn’t even know him. Then I thought it was based on who he was better friends with, but I know he likes me way better than Kenny and he gave Kenny one, but not me. Then on the ride, it dawned on me: he only gives jerseys out to those who are good climbers.

  5. Comment by SyracuseStu | 06.20.2007 | 10:33 am

    I like the word “putz”. Any word that incoporates a “-tz” chunk is alright with me. Putz, klutz, schmootz…all great words. Makes this post great! The parts about biking were good, too.

  6. Comment by ian | 06.20.2007 | 10:43 am

    10k feet of climbing and your average hr was 142? the only explanation i can come up with is: the electric bike.

  7. Comment by DOM | 06.20.2007 | 10:44 am

    You’re getting better at staging the photo ops. Maybe next time half of the riders can sit on the others’ shoulders. I’d put the heavy riders on top for humor value.

  8. Comment by dug | 06.20.2007 | 10:46 am

    botched, brad also has another thing going with those jerseys–he gave me a large, which i swear is a medium with a large tag on it. i look ridiculous in it, the front zipper bulges out and almost separates. i had to give it to my wife. which is fine, because i think she’s in love with brad anyway.

  9. Comment by cheapie | 06.20.2007 | 11:09 am

    i think i like the blog entries about how much it hurt to ride to work the day after eating an entire bag of m&m’s and washing it down with chocolate milk. now every post seems to mock me saying, “haha cheapie! not only do you live in michigan, but you are the only remaining semi-fat reader!”

    le sigh.

  10. Comment by monkeywebb | 06.20.2007 | 11:48 am

    Every time I think start impressing myself someone comes along to remind me that I’m a weenie. Twice in one week is too much.

    This Saturday I set out with five others to do a 104-mile loop around Mt Lassen with close to 10,000 feet of climbing ( An hour in we ran into a group of three who had covered twice the distance we had despite leaving home at the same time. Their plan was to do the same loop we were staring in the face, plus another 70 miles of hills. After stopping to fill their partially emptied water bottles they blitzed by us. I choose to believe that they burned out just around the next turn, hid behind a tree until we passed, and called a wife to pick them up.

    And then you go and ride up and down mountains like they’re so many M&Ms. Remember when you ate those?

  11. Comment by Lisa B | 06.20.2007 | 11:52 am

    Hmmm, I’m clearly have some ways to go to live up to the climbing abilities of the Lisa name.

  12. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.20.2007 | 12:04 pm

    Wow! This really sounds like a fun ride. I am going to have to go over Santiam Pass, and come back on Willamette Pass this Saturday, to compensate.

  13. Comment by chtrich | 06.20.2007 | 12:10 pm

    “But wait! There was Chris, catching and hanging with the group. Suddenly, I perceive him as a serious B7 threat”

    Fatty failed to mention the rest of the story. He had just turned to me and said “You’re a good climber Chris.” Then within a minute of that statement the four of them rode off leaving me riding alone.
    I keep wondering if that was a little joke Fatty was playing on me.

    I only managed a regular Gauntlet. After waiting for Mocougfan at South Fork for too long I ran out of time. Although Mocougfan gets some slack coming from the Missouri flat lands to brave the Gauntlet! (OK, my body also needed the extra waiting time. Blaming it on Mocougfan is a nice excuse though).

    Great ride overall. Count me in for the fall when I WILL DO the Gauntlet Supreme!

    Nice to meet a few of the regualrs. And now I understand why “the kid” rode his bike from Spanish Fork at 4:10 am – he’s Sans Auto.

  14. Comment by cloud19th | 06.20.2007 | 12:20 pm

    sounds like a really nice ride!
    I was thinking, this weekend, in the middle of a 3.5 mile, ~13% grade climb (guess my speed!), how it’d be nice to post some hill climbing rules/etiqutte. Can I start? (1) If you *have* to stop in the middle of a climb, please pull over. Like, all the way over. I might be looking at my front wheel most of the time and I don’t want to stop on the hill. Please help me not crash. (2) If you have to pass someone, please do not pass on the right side of said someone who’s riding 3 feet from the right edge of the road, and beyond that there’s a steep gully. Call me a wuss if you want, but if you pass me again like that, I might fall on you out of nervousness.

  15. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.20.2007 | 12:23 pm

    I think the 21000 feet of climbing that your computer tried to credit you with is an indication that you bob up and down too much when you ride. Either that or you pick the bumpy way up every hill.

  16. Comment by sans auto | 06.20.2007 | 1:43 pm

    “the kid”? Thanks… I am in my 7th year of college and turning 30 next week, but if you want to call me “the kid” have at it.

    Thanks for not mentioning my weaving and bobbing as I reached the top of the Alpine loop. The descent was easy and then I rode the 20 miles home at about 12 mph with a 20mph tailwind. I was absolutely spent. The premeditated bail was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I”ll be there later in the season… Maybe I’ll do more of it next time.

  17. Comment by rogarr | 06.20.2007 | 3:16 pm

    That was a great ride, I bailed after Cascade Springs, but figured that would be about all I was good for anyway. Definately would like to do this again in the fall minus 20 more lbs.

  18. Comment by Rick S | 06.20.2007 | 4:31 pm

    In the back of my mind, I was really hoping we would see the Man-Lady that Dug encountered last year.

  19. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.20.2007 | 4:32 pm

    I don’t like hills, then, Sam I am.
    You do like them? Why, fat man?
    Power to weight, now stop, gott8@m..

    Would you, could you, in the rain?
    No, I frickin’ hate the pain.

    Would you, could you, do repeats?
    No, not even for roasted meats.

    Would you, could you, in Jerez Spain?
    No, not even aboard the Disco- train.

    Would you climb them with Piepoli?
    No, I wouldn’t. Now let me be.

    On a bus, surely, you’d climb them on a bus?
    Not on a bus, not with a train. Not for roast meats, not in the rain. I do not like hills, Sam I Am, now let me be you silly man.

    Would you, could you, with Fatty’s Friends?

    Okay, fine. I’ll consider it. Will there be meat and malt beverages at the end?

  20. Comment by LMouse | 06.20.2007 | 4:57 pm

    Yup, you know you’re old when you refer to another adult as “the kid.”

  21. Comment by dug | 06.20.2007 | 5:15 pm

    al, always, if brad and/or kenny is involved. come on out.

  22. Comment by graisseux | 06.20.2007 | 6:45 pm

    Why not tack on Traverse Mountain in both directions–you know, make it a full century? My OCD bugs me that it’s just under the 100 mile mark. Even though I, personally, am physically incapable of such a feat.

  23. Comment by PacNW | 06.20.2007 | 6:55 pm

    Careful with the staged photos. At least there are bikes in the pic, but there’s no riding taking place. That’s treading dangerously close to the level of your sister’s photos.
    If Fatty is an unintentional genius, then Al Seuss there is the lyrical genius. I laughed hysterically and have already sent a mass email for all my friends to enjoy it as I have. ‘…with Piepoli?’ Ha!

  24. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.20.2007 | 7:13 pm

    Fatty, why was nebo loop no big deal and the gauntlet supream a killer?

    nebo: 113 miles, 6k vert, 7.5 hours.
    gauntlet: 92 miles, 10K vert, 7 hours.

    does the 4k vert make that big a difference. . . if you cut off 4k vert from guantlet, you’d have to cutt off squaw and part of cascade?

  25. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.20.2007 | 7:56 pm

    Botched – Please try and look at this from a scientific perspective. If you cut out 4000 feet of climbing and then make up the extra distance riding in circles in your driveway your legs are going to give you a lot less grief the next day.

    Of course, it’s all academic for me. I’m good for a flat century (+/-20% depending on the day) or 2500 feet of climbing. I can even do the climbing at the end of a century. The damage comes with the climbing… it’s far less pleasent for a gentleman of my stature riding after climbing. I don’t enjoy the bike anywhere near as much when I can barely raise 15mph – which is almost always the case after 20-30 minutes of threshold climbing.

    It was different in the “olden days” when I was the kid rather than the baldy old guy with the funny tuft of hair on my chin calling the kid kid. But that was the olden days.

  26. Comment by Weean | 06.20.2007 | 11:28 pm

    Looking at the little map you’ve posted, I can’t help but think that someone was having an off day when they decided to name Granite Flats.

    And the helmet? Don’t make me get all OCD on you!

  27. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.21.2007 | 2:33 am

    Oh yeah? Well, the other day I made it over the bridge over an inlet really fast. It was about 40 feet of climbing, and I was, in fact, THE man.

    (Note: The only hill of interest in this area is “Mount Trashmore” {google it if you dare, and you will see why it doesn’t help}) and it doesn’t help.

  28. Comment by Byrd | 06.21.2007 | 3:13 am

    Mount Trashmore is an ex-garbage dump, a giant mound of trash that years ago was covered over with topsoil and turned into a park close to Viginia Beach, in tidewater Virginia. The land around there is flat as a pancake, flat as a midwestern accent, flat as (fill in your own metaphor) The secret is now out.

  29. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 06.21.2007 | 6:02 am

    Wow what a day! I have that post-exercise buzz feeling just from reading about the Gauntlet Supreme, and I didn’t even move from my comfy chair at work the whole time I read it!

    Does that mean I don’t have to go to the gym tonight?

    Oh, and Cheapie, you’re not alone. (And I’m not talking about living in Michigan, although I was born there.)

  30. Comment by mocougfan | 06.21.2007 | 6:34 am

    If you will notice in the above photo, the only true Fat Cyclist was me (2nd from the end). So fat in fact that my Large FC jersey doesn’t fit yet and I had to opt for an XL size of another brand (sorry again Notso for not wearing your jersey). After the photo was a brief down hill where I actually passed notso, Chris, and “the kid”. I got a great sardonic look from each of them telling me they would see me within 90 seconds of the climb. Worse yet was when sweet Lisa in her FC jersey flew by me going up hill. She was very kind, and very fast. Tought to be passed by a girl in a Fat jersey. It was however a great ride.

  31. Comment by mark | 06.21.2007 | 8:04 am

    I have been feeling proud of myself all week because I did 74 miles with 6500 feet of climbing on Saturday. And then I read about this. I think we need bigger mountains, because that was about all the climbing I could think of here in Boise. Let me know when the next Gauntlet Supreme is, and I will be there.

  32. Comment by hades | 06.21.2007 | 9:33 am

    Wow, climbing, that must be great. I live in NW Ohio which is flat as a pancake as well. I ride a fixie everywhere on road rides etc. My gearing is 53×17 which is perfect, even in a headwind. People stare at the gear and comment and I ask them where they’re riding in the area that requires anything lower. I went to Tennessee last month and put in a couple of 3000+ ft off road climbs and managed to hang with the locals, and enjoyed the heck out of it. I haven’t climbed anything on road since I did a bunch of loading touring in Switzerland a few years ago.

    Summary (In case you don’t want to plow through the whine above): I’m jealous as heck that you actually get to climb; I wish I lived somewhere else. Thanks for letting me live (and climb) vicariously through you.

  33. Comment by 2Phat | 06.21.2007 | 9:54 am

    Blog within a Blog

    Climbing, Climbing, Climbing, Raw Hiney!
    First, I freely admit to being recently (within the past year) reintroduced to the sport after a 12 year absence. With that said, when I met Fatty he told me that there are plenty of bike blogs out there, but that Fat Cyclist was dedicated to the “rest of us” meaning, those who enjoy biking but do not fall into the category of semi-professional cyclists or professional cyclists, or just plain psycho weekend worrier cyclists. As I have read the posts, and comments on the boards, it occurred to me that maybe the Fatty Community is starting to segment a bit, and that it would be a good idea to post my impressions of the sport to help those who may have forgotten what it is like to be a newbie. With that in mind…

    Last year The ULCER, this year The Gauntlet Supreme?
    Last year my wife and I, and our friends, rode The Utah Lake Epic Century Ride. This century ride is 100 miles of flat, back country roads by Utah Lake. Did it almost kill us? Yes. Are we going to ride it again? Maybe.

    Also last year, I rode Squaw Peek for the first time. In fact, on one outing I rode it twice in a row, just for “fun.” This past Monday, my Captain Insane’O training partner, and good friend, John, decided that riding up the Provo side of the Alpine Loop would be a good experience for us. If only Fatty had only published his, “The Gauntlet Supreme” post before I embarked on this “good experience.” For the record, Fatty’s description, “the Provo side of the Alpine Loop is clearly the harder climb. Especially the first five miles of it. It’s just steep.” is excruciatingly true.

    Another Fatty truism, “On Big Climbs, Everyone Rides Alone.”
    Of course, John being a much more fit cyclist than myself, left me in the proverbial asphalt dust of the Alpine Loop Road. Finally, eventually, I passed The Sundance Nature Center, roughly that five mile mark Fatty mentioned, and the ridiculously steep climb turned into ‘just’ a steep climb for the remainder of the ride. Needless to say, I did not see John again until the summit.

    Cadence, Stance, and Wildflowers
    You more experienced and sophisticated types focus on the finer points of the sport: cadence, average speed, body placement, and clean pedal strokes. For the remainder of cycling community who, either don’t care, or are too naive to care, there are plenty of other things to occupy our time in the saddle: overloaded senses, keeping the bike moving in a somewhat forward direction, and random thoughts. Overloaded Senses: Everything on my inside wants to be on my outside…is my heart going to explode? Moving Forward: Pain…in legs…must slow down… switch to small chain ring thingy…switching…can’t breath…air thin…sun hot…legs burning…sit bones numb…adjust seated position…overcorrect…bike now in middle of the road. Random Thoughts: What did Dupree, or was it Lance, say about the bike and the rider? Oooh, look at the amazing views, and those beautiful wildflowers! Wow! Crazy! The Summer Solstice must be early this year. I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then I could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.

    Are You Training for an Event?
    Upon summiting, I finally caught up with John in the Alpine Loop Summit parking lot. After dismounting and learning how to walk again, I took up sitting on a fairly large rock. It was at this point that John asked me how I was doing. Not wanting to look like my early morning spinning classes are not paying off, I told him that I was doing well. The next thing you know two cars pulled into the parking lot. The occupants, apparently from California (according to the plates on the cars), got out and one of them, a woman turned to us and said, “You guys are amazing. Are you training for something?” John and I almost fell off our nice comfy rock with laughter! Talk about an ego boost! Oh I suppose in some deep dark corner of my mind I have aspirations of LOTAJA, but for the record, if I am not able to hit a consistent 16mph for 100 miles, what makes me think I keep that pace, or better, up for over 200? Then again, if I did it, I could wear my Fatty jersey knowing that being a “newbie” is a part of any cyclists’ roots.

    BTW – My average speed on the climb, just over 5mph (as ridiculous as it may be). Not all of us have Brad-like climbing abilities yet.

  34. Comment by FliesOnly | 06.21.2007 | 10:24 am

    It was nice to get a road bike story again…I was beginning to think that perhaps you had forgotten about us poor pavement ponders.

    Having been to Utah only once (quite some time ago to do a little skiing) I’m trying to picture these climbs in my head, relying solely on my old and faulty memory of the area. From your descriptions though, they sound absolutely brutal. Oddly, I find myself wishing I could join you guys for a ride. I’d get dropped faster than a hamburger at a vegetarian food convention, but what da hay, I’d still give it a go.

    By the way, who’s wearing what appears to be matching bibs…and where did he get them?

  35. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.21.2007 | 10:32 am

    “Mount Trashmore is an ex-garbage dump, a giant mound of trash that years ago was covered over with topsoil and turned into a park close to [actually smack in the middle of] Viginia Beach, in tidewater [southeastern] Virginia. The land around there is flat as a pancake, flat as a midwestern accent, flat as (fill in your own metaphor) The secret is now out. ”

    Now you’ll understand why the only climbing I’ll ever be good at will be climbing into bed.

  36. Comment by Dave | 06.21.2007 | 10:51 am

    Is it just me or does the Gauntlet Supreme sound like a menu item at Taco Bell? It’s like one serving of everything on the menu and you get your name on a plaque.


  37. Comment by VA Biker | 06.21.2007 | 11:06 am

    Hey, for FliesOnly, is that “pavement pounders” or “pavement ponderers”? Considerable difference, eh?

    Can’t say I do much pavement pounding on the road bike, but certainly have been known to ponder the pavement, esp. chugging up grades of 10% or greater.

  38. Comment by FliesOnly | 06.21.2007 | 1:48 pm

    VA Biker: Dang that spell checker. I actually had typed pounders (which I believe is not really a word anyway) but apparently during my spell check I blindly accepted what my computer told me and “corrected” it to ponders. But then, pavement ponder”ers” does sound pretty good. I’m such a dolt (or should I say “putz”?).

  39. Comment by RimReaper | 06.21.2007 | 4:07 pm

    Gauntlet Supreme sounds like a nice training ride for The Triple Bypass: Three high mountain passes, 10,310 feet of climbing, 120 miles, all in crisp, thin Colorado mountain air. Lowest elevation 7,800 feet, highest 11,990. Take a trip out here. Bring chamois cream. You’ll love it.

  40. Comment by Staci Perez | 11.12.2008 | 9:47 pm


  41. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Thanks Times 405 | 06.19.2009 | 5:10 am

    [...] party / personal LiveStrong Challenge ride starts in one hour: some friends and I are going to ride The Gauntlet Supreme. So I will do the prize drawing and send email to winners later today. After I’m back, have [...]


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