Up Into the Clouds

In preparation for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado (BTC), I headed to the hills this morning. I had a feeling I would be one of just a few cyclists riding in the So. St. Vrain Canyon today as it was a cold dreary morning with a good chance of rain. I drove to the Lyon’s park that serves as the cyclist gathering point. There was only one other car there this morning — and I didn’t get there until close to 10 am! It was close to 40 F as I started to pack my pockets and get Pogo ready to ride.

My pockets were stuffed today. I had the usual iPhone, snacks & camera, but I also had a rain jacket and rain pants — just to keep the rain away. I was wearing my winter riding gear — my Pearl Isumi barrier jacket over my winter-weight jersey & base layer, long mid-weight tights and my (heavy) winter riding shoes with covers. Long fingered gloves and my turtle-fur helmet liner completed my outfit. I’d have to shed a little when I was climbing, but I’d want it all (and probably more!) on the descent back to Lyons.

Yesterday when I rode back into work on the second leg of my commute, I was tired. Not sleepy tired, but fatigued tired. My training plan called for me to put in two 20 minute efforts where I elevated my heart rate (HR) to 140-155. Well, I tried. My body resisted and my legs cried out “NO!” when I tried to ramp up my effort. I tried several times — just in case my first attempts were too early in my ride and I wasn’t quite warmed up yet. Each time I had the same result. My legs weren’t having any of it!

Well, today was a continuation of that theme. I was OK going along at a relatively low-effort level, but as soon as I tried to elevate to a more strenuous level my body (mostly my legs) resisted.  My HR gravitated towards the 120’s and it took a major mental & physical focus to nudge it into the 130’s. I hardly saw it go above 140 all day.  I think this is a sign that my body needs a break. Will be talking to my coach about adjusting the training plan going forward to include more recovery time between hard efforts.

The canyon was gorgeous today – looked very different with low hanging clouds hovering right above the tree tops. It was quiet and there wasn’t much traffic – bike or car. Very enjoyable. Just wish I had more ‘jump in my skates.’

Here are some photos from today —

This is what’s left of a mountain after several year’s of strip mining – at least that’s what I think they’re doing. Maybe they just felt like carving it back a bit — (Really?)

Not your normal canyon shot. Low hanging clouds and chilly temps were the order of the day.

This is the little Raymond store. On a nice, warm weekend, there’d by a half dozen or more bikes outside the store at any time. Today, there wasn’t a single one. The store owner had a fire going though, in case a cold cyclist should wander in.

When I got to the Peak-to-Peak highway, the sun poked out for just a few minutes and I actually saw my shadow. Well, I saw Pogo’s shadow!