Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3rd Annual Brockway Climb

Before the snow falls, I owe it to myself to take my annual pedal over Brockway Mountain. This year, with the strong winds we've been having, the many hours I spend at my jobs and the fact that I don't feel like I'm in over-a-mountain-riding shape made me a little leery of my third annual journey.

But yesterday was sunny and 60 degrees. The wind was pretty tame. And my will told me that I could make it up that mountain. So I went for it.

Chances are that you have been over this 726 foot beast. Chances are you've seen the world from the top. And chances are you know how steep, sustained and l-o-n-g that first corner up is. That's the one I was sure I was going to have to get off and walk up.

Instead, I did myself the favor of not looking ahead. I just stared at the ground in front of my tire and pedaled my heart out while concentrating on my breathing. It worked! I made it to the top of hill number one. Now was it four or five more to go to the top? I am positive that my will-power is first and foremost what got me to the top of Brockway Mountain.

At the top, after a four mile climb, I began my 6 mile descent. For a descent, I pedaled the whole way except at the very top, which had me clutching my brakes. At the bottom, near the Silver River, I high-fived the stop sign on M-26, turned around and began pedaling back up. This is the first year I didn't take a break there.

But I sure did at the top! My friend was working in the gift shop at the top of the Mountain, so I went in to see her. I also took a couple pictures for you.

The first is Brockway Valley. Not bad, hey? And in the second, you can see Lake Medora. The colors are pretty nice right now. I'm glad I got some proof!

And the way back "down" the East side was grueling as always. There are quite a few steep peaks to climb before the bottom. I was feeling pretty beat and was grateful for the moment I saw the first lookout -- no more pedaling up anything major.

When I got home, I almost tipped over, but I didn't care. I did it. I DID IT! I climbed over Brockway Mountain once again. I was proud of myself.

And being the first time I actually wore a watch on my wrist for this journey, I was able to calculate some figures. For the first 4 mile roller coaster climb, it took me 31 minutes to get to the top, with an average speed of 7.8 mph. The gradual 6 mile descent took me 17 minutes at 21.2 mph. And the climb up the latter took me 36 minutes at a 10 mph average. Then "down" again took me 18 minutes at 13.3 mph.

I don't know how you want to process all that data. I just think that, knowing the terrain, it's interesting to see the contrasts from one side to the other. But no matter what, I sure am glad I went because today is gray and windy... just how the Keweenaw fall should be!

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