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Last Saturday I rode to Estes Park. I’ve written about this silly monthly ride to Estes goal in past blogs. We're still going at it.

 

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Most of the time, this ride is no big deal – but – some days it’s tougher to pull off than other days.

 

One of the marker points for successful goal completion is to make it past the Estes Park city limit sign. Last week I couldn’t see the sign – without some digging.

 

Estes_Nov_2011_2.jpg

 

I’m assuming that high winds earlier in the week blew the sign down. Some Colorado locations clocked wind speeds in excess of 115mph.Estes recorded 77mph on November 12th and several other days between the 12thand the 19th had gusty winds in the 50mph range.

 

Estes_Nov_2011_3.jpg

 

Though we had an early morning snow in Loveland, the roads were mostly dry by about 1:00pm. Since my husband Del volunteered to drive upto Estes and pick me up (so I wouldn’t have to worry about staying warm on the 30-mile descent and darkness) I decided to bag my November Estes ride.

 

There was around four to six inches of snow on the ground for a good part of the ride - but the roads were mostly dry or just a little wet. Though the air temperature was 35 degrees, I was able to dress so I didn’t get cold. Having the right gear is essential for a ride like this one. Additionally, because it is basically a 30-mile climb I can stay pretty warm on the ride. My toes got a little chilly at the end, but not bad.

 

I have to say it’s one of the best rides I’ve done to Estes because I got to see two big horn sheep rams up close. I saw one on a rock ledge about 12 yards above the road. The second one broke away from his herd and came trotting towards me while we were both on the road side of a guard rail. I stopped, not knowing if he was angry or not.

 

He came trotting toward me and jumped across the rail about 4 yards in front of me. He proceeded to dance up the rocks next to the road. He stopped about 4 yards to my right, above the road. WOW!

 

A car watched the whole thing unfold. The driver rolled down the window and said, “Wow that was something!”

 

All I could manage was “WOW!” followed by a wide-open mouth and then a big smile on my face. 

 

If it wasn’t for that seemingly insignificant goal, I wouldn’t have ridden at all that day. I just needed that goal to get me out the door and on one of the coolest rides I’ve had in awhile.

 

Wow.

 

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Q ~ Hi Gale...Anothertraining question for you! I am in France and have joined a team. I will start racing in late February they said. My mom has your book "Training Plansfor Cyclists" but she described most of the plans as preparing for tours or long distance rides. I wanted to ask if you have a book or suggest a certain book that could give me a good training plan for racing this season. It is my first year racing in cycling so I do not know exactly what I am doing!I think I will be doing road races and TT type stuff. Any help will be appreciated! Hope you're doing well. JB

 

A ~ Hi JB – Living in France – that's great! To answer your question, yes, “Training Plans for Cyclists” does focus on longer rides (centuries, 3-day bike tours, week-long tours) and mountain bike racing. There are different levels for the plans, one for comfortable completion and the other a more competitive plan – to get faster. We were going to include a chapter with road racing plans too, but ran out of room in the book. The good news is there are two plans in my book"Bicycling for Women" that might fit your needs. There is a 25-week plan that is designed to help riders time trial better (40k) or the plan can beused to help someone get faster for group riding purposes. This plan can be used as a springboard for racing. Additionally, there is a 25-week plan designed to help riders improve hill climbing – which can help racing or group ride fitness. Let me know how it goes for you. Hope you have a blast.

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