Rock Mountain High

What a long week it has been.  It all started out after a 14 hour drive to Boulder Colorado.  I had some friends get married and they were having a reception at his parents organic farm.  Boulder is a very “Green” city and they make you aware of that with everything that you do.  From the recycling to the farmer’s market to the hippies playing hacky sack. In my down time on the trip, I had planned on running and riding.  Once again a dragged my road bike “Lola” along.  The first day in Boulder  I ran down 28th street to the Boulder Creek path and eventually hit the 13th street farmers market.  I then headed back to the hotel and packed up the family and headed back to the farmers market.    They had everything organic, coffee, veggies, granola, you name it!  On the way back down Pearl Street, I ran into the Newton Running Lab.  Not sure what was inside, came across a guy sanding and grinding inserts in a back room behind some thick glass.  He came out and started talking to us.  Turns out it was non other than the founder of Newton Running, Danny Abshire.  He was grinding away on some custom inserts for one of the sponsored athletes.  I also saw some foot impressions on the shelf from Craig Alexander.  You can see all my Colorado Photos here

Colorado 2009

Wow… how cool is that?  He started telling me about a new shoe that would be out in a couple of months, called the Sir Isaac.  That was when I had to hit him up for a HardyBreed photo op. I have had a couple pairs of Newtons and I know that they have helped me run a faster 5k.  (dont believe me see the proof)

After a couple of days in Boulder we headed up to a cabin in Estes Park, at roughly 7700 ft above sea level.  The first evening there I went out for a short ride.  I actually headed back the way we came into Estes Park.  The road was freak’n riddled with cars.  But I braved the road anyway, sporting my RoadID, just in case I got pushed over a cliff and they had to send some dogs down to find me.  The road was either up or down and this was too the extreme.  I really felt like I was having trouble breathing at this altitude.  After 20 something miles, I made it back to the cabin without a scratch.

The next day I went out for a run.  I took a left and headed straight up for 2.5 miles, with 500 ft of elevation gain.  Let’s just say I was crawling until the turn around.  Then I was doing an easy 7:00 pace on the way back down.  My breathing was still not right.

I finally went out for a real ride.  I decided to go into the Rocky Mountain National Park and go up the mountains to over 12,000 ft.  I rode to the park entrance and paid the $10 entrance fee.  Yes, I paid for the pain.  I started out, and thought this isn’t so bad, but when I got to the first switchback, I thought again…  Did I have enough gears for this ride?  I wasn’t event thinking.  If I had prepared I would have swapped out  my cassette for something with a 25 or 27.  The smallest gear I had was a 23 and that was the gear I was in.  The only thing I had left was to stand up.

Colorado 2009

I started feeling pretty alright and was able to spin the gear.  I kept going up and up.  Traffic was abundant.  Cars passed on the left as I hugged the white line.  Most of the way up there were no guard rails.  Just you and a couple of inches from a 1000 foot drop.  Kind of scary.

I stopped every now and then to snap a few photos.  I was even able to get someone to snap the photo above.  Somewhere around 11,000 feet I finally ran into another cyclist.  Actually two, from Columbia, Mo.  I helped them out with the timer on their camera and took a few photos of them.   Off course this was where the snow was.  It was way too cool to get a shot with snow in the background.

By 12,000 feet I had entered the alpine tundra.  It was an area that look to be mostly grass/moss and rocks.  There were also Elk, a very cool site to see.  It really made the ride worth it.

Colorado 2009

I had reached the top at 12,090 feet and needed to started heading back down.  The roads were not in the best of shape towards the top and when I started going down it was very noticeable.  I had to loosen my breaks up to so my hands woundn’t cramp.  I was going over 30mph and being a wimp, kind of scared, remember.. no guard rails…. 1000 foot drops….

I finally hit some smooth road and felt a little better, my speed crept up to over 40 mph.  Yes I am still a wuss, but my arms were getting fatigued from being in the drops so long.  I don’t know how the pro’s do it!

Eventually I reached the bottom and just a few miles from the cabin.  It felt like such an accomplishment.

The last full day I went out for a long run into town and around Lake Estes, which had a bike path around it.  I am not sure what I was thinking.  The way out was all down hill. And you guessed it the way back was all up hill.  I ended up with over 11 miles and some sore feet.  But I didn’t regret it, I had to take advantage of my surroundings.

That was the end of my Colorado training.  The last day we headed up to Fort Collins.  And you guessed it… the New Belgium Brewery.

Colorado 2009

This trip rocked.  I wish I didn’t have to come back to reality, but you know how that goes.  Another 14 hour drive and I would have the weekend at home before heading back to work.

So on Saturday I headed out for a run in the 90 degree heat.  Holy crap!  I got my ass kicked on a 4 mile run.  It didn’t seem so bad at first, but then the sweat started flowing…  Sunday was a turn for the better.  I went to masters swim at 8. I started out with a 200 warm up and then started the sets.  3 x 250, 5 x 200, 10 x 100.  The last 10 turned into 4 or five with a pull bouy…  I was toasted!  After the swim I headed out with Eric for a ride on the TT bikes.  We took it easy out to Auburn and pushed the pace a little on the way back in.  38 miles total. And thinking about the RailSplitter.

You can see all my Colorado Photos here