L’Eroica is just over a month away and it is time to make sure that everything is in order with the bike. I have a couple of hundred of miles on the Legnano already but have not done any real hills on it yet. I decided to to a hilly 100 km populaire into Bryce Canyon that has about 4000 feet of climbing in it. This should give me an idea of how the bike climbs and how well it is working.

The route starts in scenic Red Canyon a little ways outside of the park and climbs up the wonderful Red Canyon bike path. This path has been recently extended and will take you to within a few miles of the park. Eventually it will go all the way to Bryce Canyon National Park.

The day started off sunny and spectacular with only a slight chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for late afternoon. I didn’t get the early start that I wanted to but I was riding by about 10 am and it was already getting warm. The ride starts with an easy climb up the bike path and it took less than an hour to reach the park entrance where shortly after, the real climbing started.

Once in the park the traffic was very light even if the roads weren’t that great. The pavement was generally fine but recent rains had washed lots of debris into the road and the shoulders were very narrow. The climbing although not particularly steep was constant with only a few breaks. Some clouds had started to build up but I thought I would be to the top and back down before any threat of rain started. That would prove to be a little optimistic.

I made it to the end of the road at Rainbow Point but it took a little longer than I thought it would. The Legnano was working fine but the low end gear combo of 36/30 was a little tall for the extended climbs. I don’t think I can easily improve upon it so I think I will have to get used to it. The other thing that I wanted to check out today were the brakes. Originally the Universal sidepull stoppers were scary! With new cables, housings and Kool Stop pads I was hoping for better.

It was cooler at this elevation so I put on my windbreaker and got ready for the descent. Some storms were now dropping rain in the distance but it looked spotty so I should be okay, right? The descent started well, with wide open roads I could take any line and let it run with little braking required. But, about halfway down the rain started, and the road became more twisty. On a couple of steeper hairpin turns I found I had to get into the drops to get enough braking pressure to slow down enough to make the wet corner. The brakes were better but still a little sketchy! Once I got back down the hill by the park entrance I stopped at my last control at the Bryce General Store just as the rain really started coming down. I can now tell you with certaintity that my Pearl Izumi windbreaker is not raingear!

At the General Store there is food available and tables so I had a hot drink and ate some chili while waiting out the rain. Soon the sun was trying to break out and I dashed off to finish the ride. At first the roads were still quite wet and I got my share of spray from the wheels wheels but soon I was on dry pavement again. When I pulled in at the finish It was 80 degrees again but I was still wet.

The Red Canyon Visitor Center is an ideal start/finish location for this populaire. It has great parking and and restrooms and is a good place to get my brevet card validated. There are no food services here but there are a couple of vending machines. Red Canyon is one of the most scenic spots around!