Uhl in Eagle, ID – With a three-day weekend, Heather and I opted to make Sunday a recovery day and then do a longer ride today. We rode with Brent, Mark, Dan, and Don, who are all doing LotaJa again this year. We were thinking about doing Bogus, but changed plans and did a plain, Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop. There was a strong northwest wind so we figured after an hour of fighting the wind we could then enjoy a tailwind through Black Canyon.
As we headed west and north, Heather and I tried to keep our noses in the wind so we could give a draft to the others. It was a bit tricky on Highway 16 since it's such a busy road but we ended up riding in two small echelons of three riders each. We rode easy through Emmett on Substation road and then we stopped at the Wild Rose Park for a water and bathroom break.
In Black Canyon we rotated most of the time and were cruising at 25–26 MPH. We broke up at times on the roller so either Heather and I would drop back and pull the rider back up. Those times gave me a few VO2-level intervals during an otherwise tempo pace. We stopped again in Horseshoe Bend for more water. We couldn't believe how much traffic there was on Highway 55. I thought we left early enough (10:00 AM) to beat most of the Labor Day traffic but there were tons trucks with boats and trailers already heading home.
After our stop we headed up Horseshoe Bend Hill and each rode at our own pace. I eased into my interval slowly. Once I got up to threshold I kept it steady and tried to run a negative split. In the end it was a negative split but it wasn't by very much. The top third of the hill hurt the most as my legs were feeling some of the hard pulls I took earlier. The wind was also swirling and there were times you got blasted with a headwind. I saw a couple coyotes as I neared the top and yelled to try and scare them so they wouldn't try to attack me at my weakest moment! They both crossed the road then scurried into the ravine to the left.
I was dying by the end of the climb and peaked at my wattage before I ended the interval...316 watts. That's a year to date best on this climb but my time was slower due to the wind. I turned around and descended then joined up with some of the other riders to get somewhat of a cool-down. With mostly a tailwind, the descent was fast and I couldn't help but push it on the pitch before the false flat by Avimor. I started cranking it up until I spun out my 53x11 then got into a tight tuck. I managed to hit 54.5 MPH! I usually don't hit those speeds unless I'm down in Utah where the canyons tend to be steeper.
Then I pushed it with Don until the golf course and we regrouped with the others. It was a good ride and I felt better than Saturday. Now it's time for a short taper so I'll be ready for Saturday's Bogus Basin Hill Climb.