We spent Christmas this year at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in California. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I hauled Lowly the Catrike with us in hopes of catching a break in the weather to tackle The Oak Tree climb again. Earlier this year I had the opportunity for my first ascent when we stopped over on the way to San Diego for the CAF Paratriathlon Camp and have been craving another chance to torture myself with the climbs and rewarding scenery.
As per usual, Todd (my brother) tackled all of the climbs twice, returning for the slow pedal with me. While I am able to improve my climbing speed when I rotate through more regular hill routes, I suspect I’m always going to be a bit of a tortoise. I’ll get there, eventually, and while it may sound like I’m a about to keel over from the air sucking, I love every bit of it and relish being able to conquer my disobedient legs.
And then there is the reward that comes after a big climb; the descent. I love me some fast descents and feel like this is an area where I can contend with and sometimes even surpass other hardcore cyclists. Throwing some corners in adds a little extra fun, although riding a trike, I’ve found that you really need to shift your weight to the inside of the corner otherwise you run the risk of your inside front wheel lifting off, which could be bad, very bad, if left uncontrolled. It’s also a little disconcerting when your back wheel hits a bigger bump, or a loose patch, and wants to slide out on you. This last bit seems to be more noticeable to me with my current, bigger tire, as opposed to the original tire that came with the trike. Might have to do with less side grip on this tire, might just be that I’ve gotten a little more daring and am throwing into corners with more speed.
Anyhow, my brother followed me with his iPhone down a section of the descent. The video turned out surprisingly well coming from a hand held position (need to get a GoPro), and while it doesn’t look very steep, we’re moving pretty fast and you may get some reference when you see us passing another cyclist making the arduous climb. If you stick through to the end, you’ll get a side, close up shot of my pedaling.
Compared to my first attempt earlier this summer, I felt a little stronger, especially pedaling in my Sidi shoes as opposed to the bike sandals (see the Evolution of my shoe), although I didn’t PR every repeated segment (took a different return route the 2nd time). The last several months since my first attempt has seen a decline in regular riding on account of all the craziness of life, and I blame the slower segments on this vicious holiday heard cold (hoping to set the trainer up and get back to some pedaling tomorrow if I can get this congestion sorted).
I’ll be back Oak Tree, bigger, faster, stronger, and with less snot rockets.