Continuing the story on the week-long bike tour, as I mentioned yesterday. Today’s route was officially from Creed to Alamosa. We rode from our cabin about eight miles outside of Creed to Alamosa. It was a chilly and stiff start. Our bodies had residual pains from the long, hard day yesterday.
The morning lyrics that popped into my head…
And that's Uncle Joe, he's a movin' kind of slow At the junction, Petticoat Junction
With a slow start, the day ended up being flying fast. The weather gods were mostly good mannered, giving us tailwinds for at least half of the day. There were only three of us riding together today, as the group got split up by our accommodations outside of Creed. The stats for the day (at the end of the column) were sweet.
One of the best parts of doing bike tours is you get to see sights that you don’t see on your normal riding routes. In fact, you see things you’ve never seen before. Below are a couple of shots of horse-drawn hay cutting operations. It was really fun to see it.
Stats for the day (all from my 705 Edge Garmin, as some have asked what system I used):
Ride time 3:26, “Out” time 4:05, 72.1 miles, 602 ft. of ascending, 21.0 mph average speed
When we reached the official stopping point for the day, we noticed the 21mph average – woo-hooooo – we were haulin’ the mail today!
I don’t think I have an unreasonable number of phobias; but, I do admit I have some fears. One of my major fears crept into my mind each day of last week. Some of my Facebook buddies shared that they too have the same fear. Before I get ahead of myself, let me begin at the beginning.
I spent all of last week riding my bike in a big loop around southern Colorado with the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. You can find the profiles for all days and ride descriptions at the previous hot link.
Every summer I try to do some type of week-long bicycle tour with friends. There are plenty of reasons to do a bike tour and a few include:
Time away from the office to decompress
Time spent riding with friends
A big boost in fitness post-tour
In small mountain towns and cabins, there is often no cell phone or internet access (resulting in quality time spent with real living and breathing humans and new ideas begin sprouting everywhere)
The list goes on and on…
Day 1 was tough this year, with over 100 miles, the toughest climb of the tour and near constant headwinds. The theme of the tour this year was wind. On the upside, this is the first bike tour I’ve done without getting drenched during at least one day.
After getting up Slumgullion Pass and then Spring Creek, we descended to an aid station where the photo below was taken:
(Left to right: Bruce Runnels, Ryan Lewandowski, Bill Frielingsdorf, Ron Kennedy, Scott Ellis, me, Todd Singiser)
One of the best parts of the tour is riding with people that I can trust and we ride well together. (“Together” … sometimes I’m hanging on the back by a thread (or not at all), but I digress…) All of these guys are regulars at the Sunday group rides that roll from my driveway. Yes, I’m a lucky dog.
Going up Slumgullion I was a suffering dog. I mentioned in a previous blog that I did an end-o on the mountain bike a couple of weeks ago and my ribs were still not happy. I couldn’t stand for three pedal strokes without stabbing pain in my ribcage. The ride started so nicely, but the climb was tough. A song popped into my head…
When it's good, then it's good, it's so good, 'till it goes bad Till you're trying to find the you that you once had
P!nk – “Sober”
I found it interesting that songs would pop into my head all week. Bruce suggested I include this tidbit in my blog, so I am.
The last couple of hours of Day 1 was relentless head wind with gusts. More suffering.
Well, everybody hurts sometimes, Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes. And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on.
REM – “Everybody Hurts”
At the last aid station I was reminded of one of my phobias – dropping something into a port-a-potty. Sunglasses, my phone, gloves, etc…
Each day I would be phobic at least once.
Day 1 in the bag:
Ride time 6:35, 102.7 miles from our hotel, 15.6 mph avg, “out time” 8:16, 7742 ft. of climbing
Last week had so many good things in it, I don’t think that any bad luck (photos below) needed to be included – at all.
On the upside, two friends from San Diego were passing through town and I wanted to see both of them. I got to see Christine Burns, her two cute daughters and her parents on Thursday. It was great to see her and catch up on her adventures.
Another San Diego friend, Jessi Stensland, is also in Colorado spending time in the mountains and with her family in Boulder. She dropped me a note and was looking to do some mountain biking in Northern Colorado and check out the surrounding cities. Looking ahead at the weather forecast for an extended period of rain, we decided to mountain bike on Friday morning.
Jessi and Mike Block came to my house on Friday morning. It turns out I had met Mike before and we were connected through several mutual friends, but I wouldn’t figure all of that out until lunch later that day.(Too much to tell here, another story for sure.)
Because I have State and County Parks permits on my vehicle, I offered to drive. Normally, I easily fit three bikes in the back of the Suburban on a rack that my friend Ed Shaw custom built for me. Because Mike is tall, to the tune of 6’ 5”, he was concerned his bike wouldn’t fit into the Burb so he put it on the roof rack.
The weather was cool and overcast on Friday, perfect mountain biking weather. We started by doing the lower trails at Lory State Park as a nice warm-up. Below is a shot of Jessi and Mike after the warm-up.
After the warm-up, I suggested riding the Towers climb. It is a great climb that works on threshold, strength and the ability to keep your bike moving uphill. It’s not technical in the single-track sense; but, the road is steep and has loose sections, where it is easy to spin out and have to put a foot down. The total climb is 3.5 miles with 1676 ft. of climbing in that distance - top altitude is 7141ft. There are four steep pitchs of varying lengths. The steepest sections of the climbs are two at 20% and the last two at 21%.
I tried to ride at a pace that didn’t cause me to take deep breaths. The jab to my ribs that I took from doing an end-o on Wednesday (bad luck #1, resulting in plenty of bruising and requiring Tegaderm) was causing me a little trouble, though it was manageable.
It always feels great to get to the Towers. It’s one of those love-to-hate-it climbs. After the climb we hit the singletrack of Carey Springs and Mill Creek. The ribs were no problem here, I was more concerned with getting my left foot out of the pedal quickly when necessary. It didn’t want to make a sideways twisting motion because it was taped and sore from stepping in a hole on Thursday. (Bad luck #2) It rolled enough to put me on the ground and it turned a nice shade of purple by late Friday.
Bad luck #1 and #2 would not keep me from having a fun day on the mountain bike with Jessi and Mike. We were out on the trails for about four hours before deciding to go to town for something to eat.
We drove past the beautiful Colorado State University campus and through tree-lined streets to downtown Fort Collins. Town was busy, so I decided to pull into a parking garage.
Yes, a covered parking garage.
A confluence of unusual events resulted in that horrible noise of a bicycle hitting the steel warning barrier of a parking garage (bad luck #3):
When I drive, due to my height impairment, I typically don’t carry bikes on top of the car. This (me driving with a bike on the roof) happens about twice per year, at the most.
Though common in bigger cities, I seldom park in local parking garages. I’ve parked in this particular garage twice since it has been built. Okay, three counting last Friday.
I was doing the local tour-guide thing, not focused on bikes; but on high points of the city. Too bad some were not even higher.
Anyone that has crashed a bike sitting on the car roof rack knows the noise it makes. I immediately stopped the Burb. We got out to see the roof rack bent up at a 30-degree angle, torn from the roof of the Burb. The bike was still attached to the rack and laid to the side. Oooooohhhhhhh nooooooooo.
I expected to see the 29’er Salsa frame cracked in half. But it wasn’t. We looked for damage to the fork; but nothing. Handlebars? No marks. This can’t be possible?! I insisted Mike take the bike to his shop for inspection when he got home and they could not find any damage. He’ll ride it today or tomorrow to be sure; but somehow, the six- to eight-inch hollow steel tube attached to the garage by a steel chain didn’t seem to damage the Salsa. Unbelievable.
The Burb, however, is another issue.
I called Del, since he was ending his work day. (Nice way to say hello to the weekend, eh?) He came to the garage and we taped the holes in the roof of the Burb. The impact literally tore the entire rack mount out of the roof.
We taped over the holes with duct and packaging tape, secure enough to get it home in the rain. Any rain in the holes would be damage to the headliner of the Burb. It started raining Friday afternoon on the way home from Fort Collins and rained all weekend. We’ve got a break this morning, but it will rain again today. Ugh.
Below is a shot of the Burb roof in the garage. We had to hold down the rack to get it into the garage on Friday. The damaged rack was hack-sawed off the Burb on Saturday so we could begin the process of getting estimates for repair.
As of this moment, “if” and that’s a big “IF” they can remove the headliner and put a plate under the roof to repair the damage it will be between $3000 and $3500. The repair service said there is a chance that they will need to replace the entire roof of the Burb, which means for resale it is considered "totaled" similar to rolling the vehicle.
What? Are you kidding me? This kind of damage to a vehicle, rack and possibly bicycles to let you know your car won’t clear the ceiling on the second level of the garage?
Surely there are more gentle ways to get cars to stop from going further? The first level has very, very high ceilings and it would be easy to trip a lighter mechanical mechanism or a beam of light, set off an alarm, proceed into the garage, turn around and exit. But a hollow steel tube? Is that necessary?
Any parking garage that cannot figure out a way to do the job of warning people without causing such excessive damage is just evil.
I know it is long past Memorial Day, but I’m behind on blogs.
A traditional Memorial Day ride for the past five years or so has been a loop from Loveland, Colorado to Lyons, Allenspark, Meeker, Estes Park and back to Loveland via Glen Haven or Highway 34. This year we decided on Highway 34, making the trip right close to 90 miles from my doorstep. A Google Maps of the route is here:
This year Bill Danielson took video for parts of the ride. He has some nice shots on the opening climb up Highway 7, in Estes Park and coming down one of my favorite rides, Highway 34 between Estes Park and Loveland Co. Check out the video below.
I posted a few still shots on Twitter, here they are for you:
Longs Peak and Mount Meeker from two views off of Highway 7.
A study published June 1, 2010 in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine revealed interesting results in a study titled, “Intensity and timing in life of recreational physical activity in relation to breast cancer risk among pre- and postmenopausal women.”
The study looked at 858 women within four age groups of 14-20, 21-34, 35-50, and over age 50 years. The results found that “vigorous physical activity at ages 14-20 and 21-34 years lowered breast cancer risk by at least 35% in premenopausal women and by at least 51% in postmenopausal women”.
Risk was also reduced in postmenopausal women who reported, on average, more than 1.74 hours per week of vigorous intensity recreational activity for those over the age of 50.
Interestingly, for “ moderate activity the relationships remained statistically significant only in postmenopausal women active during ages 14- 20 years.”
There are two take away messages from the study. First, this study supports the theory that recreational activity, particularly activity done early in life, is associated with a decrease in invasive breast cancer risk in post menopausal women. The second message is that among premenopausal women, only vigorous forms of activity may significantly decrease the risk.