Having just completed a “bluff run,” Bugman and I were inspired to take our tandem up there.
We’d biked the bluff before on individual cycles. It was about time to try the tandem.
Because it was getting late in the day and because we weren’t sure how tired we’d be after biking the bluff, we decided to load the tandem onto the car and motor over to Scotts Bluff National Monument.
Up the bluff we go!
It took some adjusting to be on the back of a tandem on a canted surface. Because I have no control over the steering and because I can see the bike frame relative to the ground, I momentarily freaked out that the bike was going to tip over.
Road cant accounted for, onwards and upwards we go!
At this point I’m sure Bugman was wondering what the heck I was doing back there on the bike. Believe me – I was peddling! That is one steep hill! (I tried and failed to find a way to calculate the percent grade of the road. Math was never my favorite subject. Can anyone suggest an E-Z solution?)
We finally made it to the top, legs burning. Our speed ranged from 5-8 mph on that climb.
And now, for the reward – the downhill! Wheeeeeee!
We got to the bottom, and I convinced Bugman we needed to try the climb again.
“We need to train for climbs,” I said. “We need to work on standing while pedaling.”
He gave me one of his “I-know-you’re-not-kidding-but-I-wish-you-were” looks and acquiesced.
Pedaling while standing is a challenge in part because you have to shift the bike into a higher gear than you can comfortably handle when sitting. We tried a start position of standing on the pedals and coasting uphill before calling “go” and starting to pedal sans seat. This requires a significant amount of inertia on an uphill slope. I don’t think it’s quite the right approach.
The pedaling part went pretty well, actually. But then we got to a flatter slope and needed to change gears. HOW DO YOU CHANGE GEARS WHILE STANDING AND PEDALING??
This is a question we have yet to answer, as our leg muscles were screaming and Bugman gratefully accepted my suggestion that the sun was getting rather low and that we’d best call it quits at the first tunnel.
So, speaking of the SERPENTINE road . . . we were happily coasting back down the hill when something whizzed by in my limited field of view and triggered my amygdala.
“I THINK THAT WAS A RATTLESNAKE!”
“Shall we turn around and look?” Bugman asked.
Yup. It was a rattlesnake. A li’l bitty baby one – maybe a foot long.
Only 4.5 miles clocked, but a healthy 1,000-foot climb on this ride. Pretty slow, though. I guess that what you get when you take a “rattlesnake gazing break.”
Copyright 2013 bu Katie Bradshaw