Feeling amazing about this years Highwood Pass run. Last year it killed me. Just over 3 hours to climb the ~700m/17.5 km to the summit. This year: 2:20 from King Creek (just outside the gate) to the picnic table at the summit.
Last year It took me 45 minutes to go from the summit back to the gate. This year 33.5 minutes, and that's back to the car at King's creek. (OK it's not far from the gate but stopping and getting through the gate adds time.
Doing the climb and the descent in 75% of time compared to last year feels amazing. Did I mention how amazing it feels? OK I know that 2:20 isn't a record for people doing the highwood pass, but then most people aren't my size so a direct comparison doesn't really apply.
Random side story:
The first year I did over 3k in a year a guy at the bike shop said "I don't want to steal your thunder but I'm at 3200 for the year"
Me: "Dude I'm three times your size (zero exaggeration), talk to me when you've done 9k"
So why the big jump. Whish I knew for sure. I don't see why I'd be in better shape than last year. Last year I hit 300km near the top. This year I was at ~330km at the top. Last year I used the winter tires and the foot straps, this year I had the summer slicks and the bike shoes - that would be part of it. Helped that there was a tailwind on the steepest part of the climb - though that made the descent slower. I also rode alone this year. I was expecting the rest of the group to catch up with me, so I started out early. That meant I just went at my own pace. I didn't stop. I got off and walked for bits (100-200m) and rode again, but I didn't stop. Last year people took a couple of breaks, and then continued on faster than I could go. I think not stopping and keeping warmed up worked much better for me. Also the camera battery died after the above shot, so maybe not taking pictures helped my time.
Whatever the reason, I was glad to be the one waiting at the summit for the rest of the group instead of being the one everyone was waiting for.
Other Random Notes
- Saw a grizzly on the side of the road driving up highway 40. People were getting out of their cars to take pictures with their iphones and tablets. Stupid people.
- There were snow flakes in the air at the summit. Not a good year to have left my sweater at home.
- Someone wore pants on their head. We called this a pantouque. Non Canadians please see the Alberta Parks Touque.