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!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Wild Ride on the Cherry Creek Trail

After a great trip to Mad City it was good to be back in Denver today and to get back on my bike for the 50-mile round trip commute to my office. As strange as it may sound, I really look forward to riding to work...it's the trip home I dread (in addition to being tired at the end of the day, I have a net altitude gain of 1,476 ft. on the ride home)!

Mornings on the Front Range are almost always sunny and cool. And as the sun rises in the east and hits the mountains to the west, the views are breathtaking. Riding to work this morning was especially nice because I had a gentle tailwind blowing from the south. And my legs felt good after taking a few days off from riding while on the road (and despite the pain I felt yesterday after my 6.2 mile run in Madison).

According to my new Garmin Edge 705, I averaged 16 mph (my best to date on the ride to work) and burned 1166 calories. Not a bad way to start the day!

But the highlight of my ride to work was encountering several deer out for a morning stroll along Cherry Creek. So I stopped and asked an innocent bystander to capture the moment (I carry a camera on rides ever since I missed the opportunity to photograph an entire herd of elk running along the road beside me!). That's me in my Beef jersey, the deer are in the distance over my left shoulder (click on pic to view fullsize).

After a long day at the office, including a 3 hour spokesperson training this afternoon for the Young Cattlemen's Conference, I climbed back into the saddle for my ride home. The typical Colorado afternoon clouds had rolled in and the wind had picked up, so I was concerned I'd have an unpleasant commute home. But as I set out I could tell my legs still felt strong (a sign they are getting back into cycling shape after my seven month hiatus) and the wind was blowing from the northeast, giving me a crosswind for the first six miles but a good tailwind when I turned south.

Once again the Cherry Creek Trail offered up an unusual site. This time I nearly ran over a young Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Circling back to confirm, I captured this picture as it scurried towards cover. If you look closely (click on the pic to view fullsize), you can see the beginnings of a rattle forming at the end of the tail.

Much to my surprise I finished my ride home in 1:42:03, by far my fastest ride home from work, averaging 14.52 miles per hour (previous best was 13.56). And I burned another 1277 calories. That's 2443 for the day (not a bad day's work!).

As I rolled into Castle Rock and looked south at the view of The Rock (on the left) and Pikes Peak (in the distance to the right), I was struck by how blessed I am to live in the beautiful part of the country and to once again be able to ride my bike.

Since May 1, I have logged over 300 miles on my indoor trainer and 300 on the open road. After a 35-mile ride tomorrow and Elephant Rock (65) on Sunday, I'll be over 700 total.

My plan next week is to drive to work Monday a.m and home Friday night. If successful, I'll log 200 miles riding the rest of the "legs." That will leave 100 miles to reach my goal of 1,000 before Ride the Rockies. I should be able to knock that out with a 50-mile ride that weekend and one day's commute. And as a result, I should be better prepared for RTR than in any of the previous three years.

I am Ready To Rock!



  1. Oh, the things I could eat if I burned off over 2000 calories a day!


  2. My sentiments exactly! Rock, Daren, rock! Mom


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