Saturday, August 25, 2012

Palisades Lookout. Jasper

the smart ones could tell this photo was taken after the ride
 Ready... Set.... Climb!

3104' of straight climbing from the end of Pyramid Lake road to the top of the Palisades lookout. Why do two guys drive three and a half hours out west only to punish ourselves with that much fireroad? The views up top are worth every bead of sweat and every hard fought Kilometer.

I did this one before and had pinch flats that made me have to fill my tires with leaves and twigs to get to the bottom. Luckily Jason was up for this ride. We started out (well I did) confident that I could make it up top with no problems, the first 5 km was an easy chore with a grade pushing 10% according to my gps. The grade got tough after that and soon the trail split off into two. One route leading to Pyramid mountain and the other to the top of the Palisades. The grade from that point on was at 15% and higher, my legs and lungs suffered through each pedal stroke. Jason stormed on ahead and I fought my mind as it kept telling me to stop. I can honestly say I suffered very hard going up and wondered what I was doing, as we got close to the top the grade was registering 23% and higher and I watched each point of each minuscule section of kilometer slowly tick by. Knowing it was 11 km to the top I kept my eye on the gps... 10.2.... 10.3... 10.4... Each increment of km stuck around for what seemed like hours when I heard Jason yell out "WERE THERE!" and a sudden burst of energy came and I joined him at the summit.



If you haven't done this ride in Jasper, and I'm sure most people haven't. The thought of 11km's of solid fireroad climbing does not sound appealing. It is well worth the pain and suffering. Once up top you feel rejuvenated. The views are incredible and the danger of falling off the cliff adds a high level of adrenalin at the summit. It is a long way down and the human being sense of "smallness" is truly captured on a ride like this. Looking down at the trains and highway below is worth  the trip up.

if you go up, you will end up where the arrow is, do yourself a favor and don't fall off
getting close to the edge, every fiber of my body was pulling me away, it's a long way down
king of the mountain
the unicorn socks helped with the climb only due to their awesomeness
sadly, this bike might be up for sale soon
 What goes up, must come down. A two and a half hour ride up was rewarded with a twenty five minute ride down. Each landmark we saw going up came at us at an astonishingly fast rate. We did take safety into consideration and didn't push it too hard, but the feeling of letting go of your brakes and having your bike speed ahead is pretty awesome. Before we knew it, we were on the bottom with giant grins. This was one of the better rides of these 2000's. I'd say the best of the season...

for the descent, we strongly recommend you wear one of these
the trail junction halfway up
going down, worth every pedal stroke up
jason's burnt rotors
the greatest potty break ever!