Parking our Dodge Grand Caravan around 11 am in a supermarket car park which would be our starting point it was time to find a cafe for some fuel and some coffee. The temperature had risen sharply from when we had left our motel and my estimation would be around 30 degrees. When on the bikes it was clear that we were climbing right from the first pedal stroke albeit very gradually. My heart rate was unusually high and I stopped and fiddled with the heart strap to make sure it was fitted correctly. No problems with the strap so I don't know if it was nerves or being a little tired from all our activities but my heart rate was 10-20 bpm higher than normal.
At that point I was wondering if it was wise to continue but I felt ok and if I didn't have the heart rate monitor I would have been none the wiser so I decided there was no turning back now. The first few km's were a gradual climb hovering between 4-6 percent before it kicked up to around 10 % for what seemed like forever. When finally pulling into Mt Baldy village to get some more water I was glad for a rest in the shade as my cycling computer was telling me it was 38 degrees.
The first couple of km's after the village were pretty easy and the road surface for the whole ride was pretty good. Hitting the steeper gradient again the speed slowed and the cadence got lower and heart rate rose to very high numbers. The road through the first switchback rose sharply and it was an effort just to keep the bike moving let alone at any speed. This was the theme for the next 6 km or so, switchbacks with a real steep kick out of them then at least 10 % gradient between each one. All this with the temperature still at 38 degrees so it was bloody hot. The last few hundred metres felt like an eternity and I managed to hit 98% of max heart rate and was completely exhausted for a couple of minutes before even contemplating where I was. Then it was a case of riding through 5 more switchbacks through the car park until the road stopped and we could go no further,this last few hundred metres were not steep and the hard work was over.