Today was a day for the Real Riders. Today was a climb, a massive climb over the Bighorn mountains. And we’re not talking the pleasant passes we’ve traversed where a bike with a moderate human engine and a gear near 1:1 can toodle over. No….not at all. Today we are talking a climb that can challenge the best of the riders, a climb that makes the passes we have climbed look like rolling hills.
So, what makes it a challenge? Well, Dear Reader, the climb starts with a deceptive, but doable false flat of 2-3%. Not insurmountable for most riders, even your beginner. After 5 miles, the gradient kicks up and is now running 4-6%. This is now crossing into a more serious range, but still not insurmountable for most if it doesn’t go on too long. So, what’s the big deal? Oh, wait, Dear Reader, we have more road to climb. At 7 miles into this climb the Real Riders are now riding sustained 8% gradients that will continue for 2.5 miles. For my Milwaukee readers, this is like doing the ramps of the Tans Rd climb…but for 2.5 miles of it without respite and without the flats. Are they done after that? Oh, no. Not at all. Now the road tips up to 10% for the next 5.5 miles with an evil quarter mile of 14% gradient thrown in the middle. Now are they done? Sort of, but not quite.
Now, as I said, today was a day for the Real Riders. This was their climb. This was their goal. But, not to just ride it. Nope. They raced it. There was a starting clock and a stop clock and they road to beat the best times up those 15 miles. Shudder. But they did it. The fastest time was 1:28 by a smooth climber. An impressive time. Fastest times for 60 and 70 year old males were set as well as for 60 year old woman. But our favorite time was from Bacchetta II and her human. Her human held the record for a recumbent and now 11 years older, but clearly wiser and faster, took 17 minutes from her previous record setting time. Woot!
Chapeau to the Real Riders. An impressive showing all. Chapeau!