Thursday, October 12, 2006
Climbing Again: Mill Creek
This week I enjoyed yet another canyon on the Wasatch front. Monday, I rode up Mill Creek Canyon which is just east of Salt Lake City, and south of Parley’s Canyon. Mill Creek is a widely used canyon for mountain bikers heading to trailheads, hikers, cyclists, and cross country skiing in the winter months.
Mill Creek offers 8-9 miles of steady climbing, from a base of about 5,000 ft. to the end of the road at around 7,500 ft. A profile map is here: http://www.flux.utah.edu/~mike/climbs/html/millcreek.html
Taking off around noon from below the pay station, I took my time, enjoying good steady spinning up the canyon. I am still not that good of a climber, but I keep working on it as I enjoy these canyons. Hopefully there will be a payoff and I will see an improvement in my overall strength and spinning technique. I just keep trying to find a nice comfortable gear and spin at about 70 rpm up the hill.
Visually the canyon didn’t seem that steep, but my legs sure noticed! Also, when I turned around from above Elbow Fork, I sure got to 30 mph in a hurry, so it’s steeper than I thought. It took me about 58 minutes for me to ride 6.5 miles above Elbow Fork, and only 14 minutes to come down! I was fairly conservative on the descent. There was quite a bit of vehicle traffic (it was a holiday) and along with the damp leaves on the road, I didn’t let the bike go FAST until a mile or two from the bottom. At that point I did manage to get to 47.5 mph! Of course by that time I was almost to the pay station with their inane directions for bikes to “Stop, but not Pay.” This just meant I had to lean on the brakes and get the wheels back on the ground just long enough for the attendant to say: “Ok, you can go on through.” Sheesh, Bureaucrats! I would like to mention that during the fast descent I saw a few mountain bike riders struggling up the hill. They sure looked surprised as I zipped by them at 35-40 mph.
As for enjoying fall colors, things didn’t work out so well. Heavy rain and snow last weekend knocked a lot of the leaves off the foliage in the canyon. It is most assuredly fall, and soon the gate will be closed and it will be time to wax the skis!
Next canyon: City Creek
Happy riding, all