Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I suppose, if one gave it any thought, that it might seem a bit strange to have my background be a snow-capped peak and raindrops, but those two things pretty much represent my summer thus far.

It began with meeting my coach, Jason Hilimire, for a week of riding in and around Boulder, CO with the folks from FasCat Coaching. Day one, had my VO2 tested and went for a spin in the afternoon, only encountering a drizzle or two. Returned the next day for our 4 hour ride up some of the punishing climbs in the area, topping out at one point at about 10,000 feet. Boy did the lack of oxygen make me dizzy! The climbing was followed by some epic descending that got super fun when we hit a narrow canyon and really started to push one another with attacks off the front. As a mountain biker, I haven't spent a ton of time in pelotons, but I'm really starting to appreciate it. I was riding with a bunch of folks (men, mostly) who were just enough stronger than me that I really had to work to keep up with them. I haven't spent so much prolonged time at lactate threshold ever. But, back to the rain. So day 3--the day we were supposed to go for our epic 5-6 hour adventure--we awoke to rain. We convened at the performance center and, fortunately, agreed we were going out no matter what. We all put on every piece of gear we owned and decided to go hard and fast to keep warm. Oh, that was a painful half hour before I finally warmed up and could keep pace. Plus, by the end of the first hour, my neoprene booties were so wet I didn't have to work so hard to turn the pedals over; the weight of my booties were doing it for me. On day 4, we awoke to rain yet again, and though I had no desire to spend yet another wet day in the saddle, we went out. By this point my legs were pretty spent, too, so I just kept telling myself, the sun had to show up eventually, and soon I'd be making the transition to dirt where I'd be able to take my Jamis Dakota d29 Team out for only the third time.

And hit the dirt we did. Jason and I had originally planned on a trip to Granby but because we're not from Boulder, decided to take Trail Pass Road (the highest paved road in the US). We hit the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and were told the road was closed, but not because there was a ton of snow, rather because there were a few inches and the snow equipment the park service has is only equipped to handle feet of snow, not inches. We could either wait for the sun to melt the snow or change plans. We opted to change plans, and decided to head back down to Boulder and Hall Ranch. Before we did we saw some beautiful elk!

And Hall Ranch was just dry enough to ride. I was so stoked to be on dirt!
And the next day we made made it to Granby and enjoyed the bluebird day we'd been waiting for all week. Below is the nasty start climb and the climb through the aspens on the way to Patriot that I mentioned in my earlier post.

Here's the waterfall section:
Then I was on the road again.

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