Pre-BTC long ride – to Estes Park ‘n back

OMG! Today’s ride kicked my butt. With the wind and the temps, I found today’s ride much tougher than the Elephant rock. Unfortunately, being the computer genius that I am, I somehow managed to not turn my computer on until the 30 mile mark. I HATE it when I do that! But, I can give you a good summary of events, I uploaded the computer data and filled in the missing stuff using my Vetta C16’s data. In a nut shell: 81.3 miles, 6hrs 7 mins ride time (6hrs 40 mins total time), 4,200′ elevation gained..

… I left my house (basically west of Berthoud) at 7:30am. It was breezy already but riding up to the mouth of Big Thompson Canyon was wind-neutral I’d say. I felt good at the outset. The work Dr. Steve did had my left side functioning pretty darn well. I used the first 15 miles as a warmup and took the flattest route I know to the start of the canyon.

I had a tail wind (YEA!) for the first 1/2 mile up the canyon and then it switched 180 within the next two turns. The rest of the climb was into a head breeze or head wind. A couple of times it almost stopped me completely. I’ve ridden the canyon before in wind and this was not the worst I’ve ever seen. None the less, it was difficult going at times. And, I was riding by myself so there was no place to hide!!! I relied on pace and patience. Made it to Estes Park (37 miles) in a little over 3 1/4 hours I think. It was howling in Estes Park. Hard to tell where the wind was coming from — more swirling than anything else. I stopped at the Safeway, drank two bottles of water, bought a 1/4 lb sliced turkey, 3 slices of provolone cheese and a small container of a fresh fruit mix they had at the deli. Mostly strawberries and blue berries. (YUMMY!). I refilled my water bottles and I sat out under a shade tree to ate my lunch. Very pleasant — but kinda hot (surprise to me, I was carrying a wind/warm layer just in case I got caught in an afternoon storm – HA! joke was on me, I should’ve been carrying a block of ice!). Today’s temps are the warmest by far that I’ve ridden in this year. The wind actually helped with the temps for the most part. Sure missed the cloud cover that we had at Elephant Rock last Sunday.

My original plan was to go south and climb out of town towards Lyons. Assessing my energy level and the toll the wind/heat was taking on me, I decided it would be smart to change and make the ride more of an out ‘n back. Climbing another 1,500-2,000’ feet into a likely headwind just sounded awful to me. So that I’d get about the same miles in, I rode up McGreggor canyon north out of town and descended thru Glen Haven. It was kick-ass with a monster tailwind for that stretch. I felt real bad for the cyclists going the other way (as I had done just a bit earlier!) They looked misearable! Once the Glen Haven road hooked back up with Hwy 34 the wind got squirrelly again. I watched a wild fire take form to the north east (I think it is over by Stove Pipe Rd and Rist Canyon) — not a cloud in sight, just this massive plumb of wild fire smoke. Scary, really. The ride down the canyon was uneventful (just the way I like it) and when I got down to the Dam Store, I thought of taking a short detour farther north over to the short climb up the dam face by the Emissaries of Divine Light. Maybe I should’ve passed on that as when I turned around and headed south, I was faced with more stiff winds out of the south & east. UGH! My left foot started to bother me — I think my socks may have been rubbing or something. The last 10 miles were ouchy from the foot and slow going with the wind (…and, don’t forget the heat!). I also could’ve used an extra water bottle or two. I drank the last of mine about 3 miles from home. Those three miles seemed like 5 or 6. I was very happy to see our driveway!

It was great to get out of the sun and the heat. And the wind. I drank another couple bottles worth of water and then settled into my normal recovery routine — post-ride Cytomax Recovery beverage, cool-down time, shower and lie down with my feet up above my head for at least 10-15 minutes. I stretched a little but need to do more after I send this off to you and again before I go to bed. My quads are tender when I walk from our second floor down the flight of stairs to the first floor. They weren’t at all sore after Elephant Rock. Go figure!