Well, I had an early fail as the ride leader today. I’ve never led a group ride before (always suck wheel on that job) I should have known that my son might come down with Streptococcal pharyngitis and need a trip to urgent care for a tonsil swab (poor guy) and antibiotic prescription. I should have also known that waltzing into the mobile phone store to buy a new phone an hour before needing to be on the bike to meet the team was a bad idea. Who knew that took so long? And, I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch yet. Fortunately, these guys are forgiving gentlemen. However, cycling with teammates is like date night with your wife or fishing with your brother or best friend – you simply cannot show up late.
Forecasts called for temperatures in the 50s for the first ever Rodeo Denver team ride. As we get started we are a small and humble crew, and we’re okay with that. We haven’t done any races together, we haven’t proven anything, we are simply passing the miles. Such is the nature of fresh starts.
Fresh starts are exciting for that reason as well. How we start out sets the tone for what is to come. We met at the Confluence REI, snapped a pic, and headed for the hills.
When not exploring the mountains or on a local group ride in Denver, Colorado, the High Line canal is a go-to route for quick miles. My favorite section is south of Hampden Blvd where the trail turns to gravel and meanders for over twenty miles, south and west, around Chatfield reservoir and to Waterton Canyon.
21 January 2014
Having this week off work in January meant base miles, and as many as possible in a few short days, since the flanking weekends would be spent skiing with the family. The weather in Colorado had been very temperate the past few days, and the forecast for this day was a high of 60-65 F (15-18 C). Knowing I would not have another opportunity like this for a long while, I decided to go big on this day of days. I had gone on a long ride the previous day with Stephen and Larsen up Golden Gate Canyon and Robinson Hill, but given the temperature and time available, a ride of 100 mi (160k), or more, was in clear view. After a 68 mi (110 km) ride with 6000 ft (1850 m) the day before, a flat loop seemed wisest, but I like to climb, so I convinced myself that a little climbing would be acceptable. Climbing a little (or a lot) would open up much more interesting route options, for the flat routes around Denver on the plains are rather tedious.
Once in a while you do a ride that leaves you tingling for days afterwards, and not because your fingers and toes are still recovering from frostbite and numbness. Colorado has experienced a remarkable cold snap in the last weeks with lows in the range of -15F and highs in the single digits F. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it myself, and for the first four or five days of the snap I didn’t seriously consider going outside.
My training is falling off a cliff these days due to diminishing sunlight and increasing workload in the office. Thus swings the pendulum of life. Trying to stay in shape for CX is getting tricky and takes some creativity. On top of the time challenges, the fatigue challenge complicates the picture. How do you stay motivated on the bike when the local roads are getting long in the tooth and the interesting roads are too far away to get to?
This is a repost from 2013 while we get 2014 up and running.
By my own measuring stick I’ve been training a lot this year. It is funny because each year I can look back at whatever I accomplished on the bike and hopefully feel pretty good about it, but then I think about the next upcoming season and think “how can I top or even match that?”. I ride for fun, and training isn’t always fun, so when one season ends and the next one starts I’m left looking for ways to keep the pursuit of speed on two wheels enjoyable.
The road trip is over. The Black Pearl is back in the garage. All is well. 1200 miles covered. 35mpg averaged. The Mrs. and I had a blast and are exhausted. The racing was incredible to watch. The vistas were unforgettable. The towns were wonderful to discover. Colorado is an amazing state to drive through and play in!
We were joined mid-trip by my friend Peder and his wife Holly in their ’73 BMW 2002. Our vintage caravan was a blast to be a part of and people seemed genuinely delighted to see some fairly old cars out on the road in good working order. The bike rack was a big hit. Pedro did an amazing job.
Enough words! Here are some pictures.
The wife and I are off on a road trip adventure to catch the largest professional bike race to hit US shores: The USA Pro Cycling Challenge. We’re road trippin’ in the Pearl, camping along the way, and enjoying the sights that Colorado has to offer.
I work with one of the teams in the race, Team Exergy, so I have managed to score some press credentials, which are wonderful for accessing the action and squeaking through road blocks and police barricades. The sailing in the Pearl has been smooth so far!