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Sunday, May 18, 2008


I'm not sure of the exact definition of recovery ride. If it is something like "take an easy ride, something short and not too taxing because yesterday you did something really aggressive and now you are tired and sore," then today I set out to do a recovery ride. After a 104 mile, 6,400 foot day yesterday I:

a) wanted to do another ride today and
b) didn't want anything near 104 miles and 6,400 feet of climbing

I succeeded in both cases, too. Last Thursday as I was making great time on my way to Stoddard, two riders zipped by me with a friendly wave. Sheesh. Anyway, about a mile down the road I looked up and they were nowhere to be seen. Now they were riding a quick pace, but not that quick. I could see a good way down the highway. What had apparently happened is they turned off on Chipmunk Ridge Road, which does come down to the highway a bit past Goose Island. I thought then, "Wonder what that road is like?" Today, I found out.

Before actually riding the road, I looked at the map. I have ridden Mohawk Valley Road up from the river to the ridge. At the top, Mohawk Valley tees into Chipmunk Ridge which then takes you east, turning into Hamburg Road somewhere before ending at the top of County K. It is the section of Chipmunk Ridge from the river road to the this intersection at the top that I had not yet ridden. Now on the map, it looks as if the way up Mohawk Valley Road to the ridge top is about twice as long as the route taken by Chipmunk Coulee. They both start at river level and both meet at a point up on the ridge. You do the math. Chipmunk has to be a steeper climb. Undaunted by this realization, I set off to give it a go.

It takes all of about 10 seconds after turning off of the highway to realize that Chipmunk Coulee is steep. This was a recovery ride? As I climbed, I watched the display on my computer as it measured the grade. Seven percent turned into 10% then 14% and at one point, 18%. After a bit, the grade eased up, but only a little. Nothing like an 18% section to make 10% look like a chance to relax. But we were not done. Another steep section rose up to challenge. When I finally got to the high point, I found I was not yet at the intersection with Mohawk Valley. Riding on, I discovered in fact that I was somewhat higher than that junction~that was about a mile and short steep descent away. Yep, it was quite a climb.

Once on the upper part of Chipmunk Coulee, it was a wonderful ride across the ridge. The ever-present stiff wind was coming at me over my left shoulder. This cross wind can push you around, but doesn't demand the extra effort extracted by a headwind. Once again, the descent down County K was made a bit more exciting by the what was now a headwind. I'm guessing that my downhill velocity plus the wind speed gave me a face full of near 60 mph moving air.

Back in La Crosse I pulled in to Subway to pick up lunch/dinner. I do this a lot. And I always order the same thing. Exactly the same sandwich. Every time. And the young men and women who work there know this. I don't even have to tell them what I want ~ I show up and they grab the Italian Herb and Cheese bread, the roasted chicken and cheddar cheese. Toast it, add lettuce, tomato, green pepper and Chipotle sauce and you have a great recovery sandwich.

By the time the sub and I got home, 24.7 miles and 1,021 feet had been put behind me. What a great way to recover.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sub recovery? Is that like sub-Saharan or something? Seems like there should be a liquidity factor in there somewhere!