A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Two Weeks to Vineman!

I had a good week of training last week. I did a short, hard ride Monday morning (870 ft. of elevation gain in 10 miles!) , swam Tuesday morning, ran 4.5 miles Tuesday night, rode 53 miles on Wednesday (July 4), swam Thursday morning, and ran 3 miles Thursday night. That's about 3 miles of swimming, 73 miles riding and 7.5 running in four days. So I took Friday off to rest my legs!

After a day off, Saturday was a great day for another long ride so I headed out on my favorite route, a 56-mile round-trip from Castle Rock to Palmer Lake with a total of almost 4,000 ft. of elevation gain (see elevation profile at left from my Motionbased account). I rode the same route on Wednesday but felt much stronger yesterday. And my Garmin Edge 305 (GPS-enabled cycling computer with heart-rate monitor) documented that I was working harder and riding faster. My average heart rate was 131 beats-per-minute compared to 119 on Wednesday and my average speed was .5 mph faster.

The roads around my home in Castle Rock are mostly two-lane with no shoulder, but Colorado is a bike-friendly state and “share the road” signs remind cars to watch for cyclists. When I leave my house I start with a nice climb heading west on Wolfensberger Road. The views of the Front Range of the Rockies from the "summit" of Wolfensberger are awesome (see picture at left).

The rocky outcropping of Devil’s Head -- or what my kids call “the mummy” (because it looks like a mummy lying on a stone slab) --rises in the distance. If you ever drive along I-25 between Denver and Colorado Springs look to the west as you pass through Castle Rock and you'll see Devil's Head. Sitting atop Devil’s Head is a fire lookout tower build in 1912, the last of eleven original Front Range lookout towers.

My grandpa and grandma Angell often took us to the top of Devil’s Head when we were kids (at left/from left: my brother Jon, cousins Kim and Kevin, me hanging on for dear life, and grandpa Angell) so it was one of the first places I took my kids after moving here last summer. After a steep 1.4 mile/940 ft. elevation gain hike to the top there is a wooden staircase with 143 steps up to the lookout tower. But it's worth every step because the 360 degree panoramic view is amazing.

After dropping down the westside of Wolfensberger Road to Hwy 105/Perry Park Rd., I head south for about 20 miles to Palmer Lake. The scenery along Hwy 105 is amazing. Ranches line either side of the road with cattle, horses, bison and even some llamas.
Anybody who thinks ranchers don't care about the environment (a common activist accusation) should take a bike ride with me on Hwy 105. Ranches preserve thousands of acres of open space that would otherwise succomb to development.
Ranchers care about the land because it has been in their families for generations and they want to pass it on to their kids and grandkids. They know that if they don't take care of the land, it won't take care of them!

[Note: For more information on how cattle are raised and beef is produced, visit
BeefFromPasturetoPlate.org]

OK, I'll get off my soapbox :-) I only have two weeks left to train for the Vineman on July 22. Today I am headed to Castle View High School to do some speed work on the track. Tomorrow (Monday) I will ride to and from work and Tuesday morning I will hit the pool at the Castle Rock Recreation Center (elevation 6,300 ft.!) where I have been training since February. Ugh. I really hate getting up at 5:00 a.m. and going to the pool. But I’m sure I’d hate drowning in the Russian River -- location of the 1.2 mile Vineman swim -- even more!

Ride on!

Daren

3 comments:

  1. Hats off to you for the determination and perseverance required to endure all that training! Best of luck to you as you prepare for the Vineman next week. You're an excellent example of what beef does for athletes!

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  2. Meredith WilliamsJuly 9, 2007 at 6:38 PM

    Daren,
    It sounds like you have really set yourself up for a challenge. Our hats are off to you for wanting to do this. Keep up the training and we'll look forward to hearing all about it.

    Love, Uncle Meredith and Aunt Heather Williams

    ReplyDelete
  3. Meredith, can you call dad and teach him how to post a comment on my blog? Even though you are the same age (well, OK, I understand he is several minutes older), he seems to be challenged by this technology (old dog/new tricks) :)

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