Well today was a momentous occasion for me. My goal for this season that I had planned on doing since the dreary winter months was assaulted today. That, of course, was the climb of Lake Desolation Road. It offers 1000 feet of climbing in the space of about 4.25 miles. If my suspect calculations are correct, that’s an average grade of about 4.5%. However, this road pitches inconsistently the whole way. I found it tough to settle into a rhythm on the way up.
I took it as steadily as I could in a 39 x 25 almost the whole time. The gearing was sufficient, I think for the steepest grades it put forth. I had scouted the road before in my car; while I thought it was diabolical, I also thought it was within my reach if I put my mind to it.
The last time I scouted the route was a few months ago at the beginning of the summer. I should have done it more recently. I was about a mile from the summit when I cracked. I clipped out, cursed the road and gave it the finger (hey, it was asking for it). Pissed off, I walked for about 3 or 4 minutes, downed a gel and clipped back in just to spite the road and see what I had left in the tank.
I was able to complete the road mainly due to the fact that the section I blew a gasket on was the last tough sub-climb on the road. That’s going to bug me over the winter. If I had known from good scouting how close I was to the end game, I might have been able to make it continuously. If nothing else, I got to experience the longest lung-burning climb of the season. The terrain on my normal routes is undulating. I’m in a region that isn’t too far from the Adirondack foothills – it’s rarely flat, with lots of rollers. None of them, however, are long steady climbs. That’s why I wanted to do Desolation so much.
There’s always next year I suppose, and it’s not like I gave up and turned around. In fact, I think I should take comfort in the fact that I probably will gain some added fitness from this and a burning desire to conquer this beast.