We started off in Altadena and pedaled towards Angeles Crest. It was already pretty much exclusively uphill, but not too steep. We averaged about 14 mph in this section. I have to say my legs were already a bit sore from the big week I had. About 40 minutes later we reached "the bottom" of what would be a 10 mile climb...straight up. I had told the group (Semira, Gail and Mike - all LA Triclubbers) that I might cut out if I was suffering too much. I've never done anything like this - my rides have had some hills, but always rolling ones. This was a 5%-7% grade NON STOP! I made it about 5 miles in. I had to stop. I took a short break, stretched the back out and carried on. I made it another 2.5 - which by the way - miles were very close to my running paces! We're talking 7-9 minute miles...on a bike! At the 7.5 mark the group was already far ahead, and I was worried I might really hurt myself. I decided to wait for them.
A few minutes later I see my friends dashing down the mountain. "Come on, Cody!" Semira yelled from her multi thousand dollar machine. I got in the saddle and started streaming down the mountain. 25...30...35 mph. I have to admit it was slightly scary, but was absolutely exhilarating. What a rush! It may have taken just over an hour to climb, but we were down in about 10 minutes. Crazy. And we were on the exact route that the pros would be on in just a few hours - too cool!
We made it back to cars, I got my camera gear and we hit the expo. About an hour later the riders came through. It was exciting as a hockey game. I was taking snap after snap - focusing in on my (and my dad's) hero: Lance Armstrong. I think everybody loves this guy. My dad used to get up at 5 AM and get on the recumbent bike to stay in shape. On some of the more lazy mornings Lance would be that extra kick. And for me, Lance is the epitome of perseverance and triumph over challenge (almost stole Josh Cox's endorsement of my movie! LOL) It was pretty cool taking snaps as they whizzed by. So here are some of my favorite shots. No way I'm selling my lens to finance a new/better bike anytime soon. I'm doing fine on my craigslist roady so far. But I must say...this incredible day may have sealed the deal as far as being hooked on biking! Taking pix of these guys was almost as amazing a rush as the descent! Be sure to check out the photo galleries below! :)
You can see the rest of the images at: