Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why do we climb? So we can descend.

Other than to accumulate sweet TSS and 20/40/60' power numbers, the only reason I climb mountains is for the very great pleasure of going down the other side (or, maybe the SAME side just to mix it up!). There are few things more rewarding than a brisk descent full of adrenaline and high speeds.  In fact, I consider it one of the ultimate [frustrating] teases if a climb is not followed by a descent.  I hate that.  With a true and unbridled passion.  There are few things more spectacular than an amazing mountain road descent.  Case in point:

I imagine that the enjoyment of blasting down a mountainside as fast as possible is, more often, a young man's game.  The rush of adrenaline that comes with it seems to have a positive correlation with a lack of responsibilities or dependents back at home. It's only when you're down the mountain that you think back to the corner you took at 45mph and imagine what one little piece of gravel could have done to your 23mm wide tire at that rate of speed and cornering angle...

But I digress...descending is awesome, period.

More examples:

Ok, didn't feel like searching for more.  I guess I'll just have to make some more...

About 2:15 into this video is THE turn to which I am about to refer...

All that being said, sometimes you get a reminder of why it's dangerous to go down strange roads fast.  Riding with our group on Friday we were descending Hwy 80 off Mt Mitchell and Heath was setting the pace at the front, followed by me, followed by Brian.  On a straight lead-in (read: fast) to a blind, decreasing radius right turn (read: sketchy), Heath went off to the left having underestimated the corner; I was ok and stayed in the right lane upright; Brian's wheels (or one) slid out briefly over a bump before catching and then flipping him and his bike over to the left.  Without doing into too many details, injuries resulted.  Broken collar-bone and rib being the two main injuries.  Luckily, no head trauma.

Ride safe.

No comments: