Yesterday, I did an easy 2 hour spin to assess the body a little bit. Of course, after 8-9 days off the bike, anyone’s legs would feel heavy and sluggish. They felt like they weighed 9000 lbs each, but it was nice to be outside and riding again, plus, I knew I’d feel better the next day.
That brings us to today, Tuesday. The high was 65 and it was like a spring day, complete with a spring breeze. In the lower country, the wind wasn’t cold. I even got to wear no knee warmers for part of the ride! Rick da man gave me a 4 hour riding prescription with a good chunk of Z3 time and some climbing. My legs felt much happier today, as did I. Not exercising for 9 days doesn’t put me in the most euphoric state and I always feel happier and more like myself when I get to do strenuous outdoor activities.
I decided since the weather was nice, it’d be a perfect opportunity to ride to Gold Hill and from there, up to Peak to Peak highway, down through Ward, up Old Stage and home. This ride rocks b/c it’s about 2.5 to 3 hours of climbing (on a mountain bike), incorporates gravel road, and is 4000+ ft of climbing. I opted to bring my sexy Rotwild so I could keep the effort level within my required zones, and because it’s just so damn awesome.
Once I got to around 8500′, the weather wasn’t so nice. Sure, it was still kinda warm, but the wind was raging. I admittedly had to use my granny a few times in order to keep the HR down, and even that was tough.
The clouds up around Niwot Ridge and the Continental Divide are almost always there, and it seems like it’s always windy in that area.
I love the smell of freshly toiled dirt. It was fragrant and earthy. Then I saw why….
I also love the color and texture. Something as simple as dirt can be such a beautiful thing.
All in all, my body felt good. The ride wasn’t all fun and games. There was about 10 minutes where I was really scared. The kind of fear you feel when you see lightning strike near you. It was the wind. Up in the mountains along the peak to peak highway, winds gust around 120 mph on bad days. We have to design solar to withstand that kind of wind. Today was one of those days. There is a stretch of road that descends west near Niwot Ridge. Note I said descends. I have NEVER experienced wind that bad, and I have been out riding with 70 mph gusts before. I got blown off my bike about 3 times. The guy on the road bike about 50 yds in front of me was having the same problems. I had to get off and WALK DOWN the pavement highway. At times, the wind was so fierce that I could not even take a step forward. I felt my bike trying to blow away as I clutched it for dear life, and my helmet and glasses were trying to break lose. It didn’t help that there was a cliff on one side of the road either. I haven’t felt scared like that in a long time. I’m glad I got through it and hope to not experience that for a long time to come.
Tomorrow will be an easy day. Coach and I are slowly ramping up for more intense intervals later this week or next week. I feel like myself again now that I can ride. Cycling isn’t just what I do, it’s a part of who I am.
Sonya, can you give some directions or a map of your ride? I am looking for some good long stretches to get used to lugging a mountain bike around in prep for Leadville, it’s not quite as light as my road bike. Much appreciated.
That wind sounds scary. I’ve had some windy days, but never on a mountain!! Glad you are back on the bike! I feel the same way about days when I can’t ride.
That Boulder area looks like heaven. I have an aquantance, Sarah Chesnut whom is a graphic designer that lives in Boulder. I wonder if you know her. Incredible person and biker. I enjoy your blog. I would love to see Boulder in the warmer season some day.