Friday, June 19, 2009

My Day Off - Little Cottonwood Canyon

At my work, we've been encouraged as a cost cutting measure to use 4 days of PTO in June. If you use 4 days, you get one additional day free....sort of like buy 4 get one free. So, I decided to use up one of my PTO days today. Not a bad day to miss work with the sun finally showing itself.....and not a bad day for a long ride up one of our beautiful, Wasatch Front canyons.

I started the ride in Lehi (northeast Lehi that is......), climbed over Suncrest and dropped down into Draper and up Wasatch Blvd. to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, which by the way is a really nice route for a bike ride with its wide shoulders, bike lanes and plenty of climbing. On a tangent, I really hate those roads where the white line is two feet from the edge of the road. I wish Barrack Obama and the Democrats would make a new law that would require all roads to have a minimum 4 ft. shoulder, with no rumble strips please!!

For those of you who aren't familiar with this canyon, it's the one with the Snowbird and Alta ski resorts (best snow on Earth). It's been a while since I've been up Little Cottonwood Canyon and the first time on my road bike, so I felt like I was riding blind. What I mean is when you're climbing on a road bike, it's nice to know the route, so that you can pace yourself accordingly and also break the climb into smaller, less intimidating pieces. For example, if you know the road is a 6% grade for 3 miles, then flattens for 1/2 mile, then changes back to a 6% grade for the last 2 miles, you can break such a climb into two shorter climbs. It really makes a difference mentally, at least for me.

The climb up Little Cottonwood is actually pretty challenging at just over 8.57 miles and 3,225 vertical ft., which is about a 7.1% average grade. In comparison, the climb up American Fork Canyon (Alpine Loop) from the Alpine/Highland side is a little longer at 10.85 miles, but not as much elevation gain (2,861 vertical ft.) or an average grade of 5%.

Anyhow, I made it to the top of the canyon and here's a picture from the end of the road just above Alta. Still a decent amount of snow at this elevation (just below 9,000 ft.).

The descent down the canyon was pretty fun, except that the road has some potholes and rough spots that you have to watch for. I also enjoyed cruising on the mostly downhill ride on Wasatch Blvd. and into Draper and then finished finished it off with a painful climb (my legs were shot) up and over Suncrest.

Like I said, not a bad way to spend a Friday morning. So much better than sitting at my desk looking at spreadsheets.....

No comments: