The big feature of today’s ride was a 3500 foot drop over a span of 10 miles into the desert at Borrego Springs. When I read about this descent in the Race Across America route book, it had gone into my Catalog of Fears. Hairpin turns at 30 mph on a 10% downhill grade seemed scary. Prior to the big ride, and by fortunate chance, I had mentioned it to my cycling friend, Marla, who, it turned out, had descended it quite recently. She described it to me as the most beautiful and thrilling descent she had ever done. Therefore, I was looking forward to it today instead of dreading it.
In comparison, on my cross-country ride last fall, we had done a similar descent, but instead of being down a beautiful mountain described as the glass elevator, it was on I-10 with 18 wheelers screaming by too close, runaway truck ramps, and a cross wind blowing us toward the vehicle traffic. For more, see Ups and Downs from my blog last fall.
The descent was named the “glass elevator” by James S. Copley in a talk at formal dedication ceremonies near the bottom of the road, according to a 1964 newspaper article. ” ‘One aspect of this road which we can claim is especially unique is that it provides for motorists a wonderful ‘glass elevator’ some 400 stories tall.'”
See the descent through the video I took as I descended today: https://youtu.be/ikQN6wgIlAY
During my descent, my response to the varying steepness of the downhill ranged from pedaling to assist gravity, coasting to accept gravity, and braking to resist gravity. Where in your life do you aid the forces around you, just go with the flow, or obstruct them so as not to get the full benefit of them or control them so you don’t go careening off the side of a mountain?