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!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting Ready to Ride!

After a few glimpses of spring and summer back in March, April has been a bust for riding outside. Warm weather (high 70s) this week melted the two feet of snow we got last weekend but I was traveling so wasn't able to take advantage of it. Today is a rare cloudy day in Denver and it's been raining off and on. We need the rain so I can't complain. It's just that I haven't been out on the road since mid-March!

I have been diligent about putting in the miles on my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer. I've logged over 800 miles to date...well ahead of where I was last year at this time (following the accident, surgery, etc.). Riding on the trainer is a great workout but can be very boring, especially when my Garmin Edge 305 runs out of battery power (as it did today).

Even though I am stationary so the GPS-enabled functions of the Edge (like the turn-by-turn directions and full mapping capability shown in this picture) are of no use on the trainer, I still use the Edge to track my miles (it has a wheel magnet backup for the GPS), RPMs (the Edge includes a magnet that attaches to the crank and gives a real-time readout of RPMs) and heart rate to make sure I am making the most of my workout. I try to keep my RPMs between 88 and 92 and vary my heart rate between 114 and 142 beats per minute.

Hopefully May will bring warmer, dry weather. I'm planning to start riding to/from work in May (as I did last year). My goal is to log 2,000 miles prior to the start of Ride the Rockies on June 14. That means I need to average about 170 miles per week over the next seven weeks. This should be doable unless my travel schedule keeps up at the pace I've been going!

The sun is peeking through the clouds now so we're going to take Casey for a walk. Maybe it will clear off tomorrow so I can get out on the road tomorrow after church.

Ride on...


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Springtime in Colorado!

It's springtime in Colorado and that means time to get back out on the bike and training for Ride the Rockies, right? WRONG! Springtime in Colorado means unpredictable weather. This weekend it meant over two feet of snow in Castle Rock!

I flew home from Dallas yesterday afternoon and when we landed in Denver it had just started to snow at DIA. By the time I reached Castle Rock (a little over an hour and 1,200 feet of elevation gain later) there was about a foot of heavy, wet snow on the ground that made great material for snowballs (above: the girls wage a snow ball fight across the driveway).

We woke this morning to another six or so inches on the drive and it snowed all day until about 5:00. The girls and I spent the better part of the afternoon building up our snow forts -- so much so that we never got around to resuming the snowball fight!

Haley and Natalie (our neighbor) also created a handsome snowman (at left). Throughout the day avalanches of snow rumbled down from our roof onto our front and back porch and driveway but there's still a lot of very heavy snow hanging overhead!

Leslie finally got to try out the snow shoes I got her for Christmas last year (07!). We haven't had this much snow since the day we moved into our house in December 06 -- the Blizzard of '06 (more than four feet of snow in 48 hours). Frankly, I've been a little disappointed in the past two winters. Snowshoeing on the ridge behind out house is a lot of fun and great exercise.

I was just outside and think the temperature is actually rising (we're supposed to hit 60 tomorrow and 70 on Monday!). I hope the snow doesn't all melt before we have a chance to get back out on the ridge in our snowshoes tomorrow...but I hope this is the last snow of the season. I'm ready to get my bike back out on the road. Less than two months until Ride the Rockies 2009.

Ride on!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ride the Rockies 2009 Begins and Ends in Glenwood Springs

In a little over two months Ride the Rockies 2009 will kick off in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I can't wait! One of the reasons I am so excited about my fifth RTR is that the route takes us through four of my favorite Colorado mountain towns: Glenwood Springs, Salida, Leadville and Aspen. Since RTR2009 begins and end in Glenwood Springs I'll start there and offer some tips on making the most of your visits to Salida, Leadville and Aspen in future posts...

Glenwood Springs is one of Colorado's best kept secrets. Located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, Glenwood Springs features great river rafting and the world's largest hot springs swimming pool. When we rode into Glenwood on RTR2007 a forest fire offered incredible scenes of smoke rising into the air and a helicopter scooping water from the river to douse the flames.

After getting off the bike in 2007 I was content with visiting the Hot Springs Pool (at left: the perfect salve after a long day's ride!). But this year (since the ride ends on Friday and I'm sure I won't be ready for the party to end!), I plan to stay over until Saturday and visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. According to a good friend of mine who lives in Glenwood, this a "must see."

Apparently the "adventure" begins with a scenic gondola ride to the top of Iron Mountain to a mountain-top bar and grill with incredible views of the Roaring Fork Valley. I have to ride the Swing Shot (at left), a giant swing which launches you out over Glenwood Canyon 1,300 feet above the Colorado River!

"Of course you'll have to ride the mechanical bull (if you aren't too saddle sore already!)," says my friend Mandy. "If that's not enough you can try Colorado's only Alpine coaster, the climbing wall, bungee trampoline and laser tag. If you think you'll be too tired for all of that activity you can always take in a show at Colorado’s first 4D theater and then head back to the deck to watch the locals’ choice for best sunset with incredible views of the Roaring Fork Valley!"

Wow. I'm tired already! I may just have to chill on the deck with a cold beer :)

Ride on!