I am currently reviewing a Cannondale Synapse. This is Cannondale's performance-comfort all-carbon road bike. Watch GearReview.com for my upcoming review. This is a very comfortable bike. One thing I really like about it is the compact double crankset (two chainrings, but they're smaller than a standard road crankset--which leads to lower gearing) it came with. Most of my riding involves hills, but I never wanted to switch to a triple, so I was excited to ride a compact double. One ride I always wanted to try, but was scared of is the Alpine Loop. This is a 45-mile loop from my house that goes to the top of American Fork canyon and over the summit and down into Provo Canyon (by Sundance Ski Resort).
I'd like to say the time was right for me to go on the ride, because of the Synapse, but the day I went, the time wasn't right. I had some things to do outside on Saturday, so I didn't get on my bike until 1:00 in the afternoon. That put the temperature right around 100 degrees. Though I started out with two large water bottles, I knew there were plenty of water stops up American Fork canyon.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a computer, gps, or altimeter with me, so I had to drive it later and get some estimates.
my house = 4725'
mile 10.6 (base of American Fork canyon) = 5013'
mile 21.8 (top of the canyon) = 7730'
mile 30.8 (base of Sundance/North Fork canyon) = 5160'
mile 45 back at my house.
Okay, those numbers can't convey how hard this ride is. I am relieved that the only other rider up there had a triple crankset. I think I must have started the day a little dehydrated (from my working around the house outside), because I ended up downing about 6-7 water bottles full (4 of which had Elete). It hurt so bad. In truth, I never thought I'd make it to the top, but I think delirium and sun-stroke set in so I just kept going. I actually felt really good on the way back, though the last two miles I totally bonked (again).
According to my HRM, I burned 3167 calories. I should have brought more energy gels with me, for sure.
Will I ride it again? Maybe not with a compact double--though, now that the pain has worn off some, it doesn't sound so bad. One thing I can say is that Cycling is really addictive.