Today, I dragged myself out of bed at 5AM, packed up the car, and drove down to Albuquerque for the holidays! Yes, it’s so good to be back. I was here just 3 weeks ago for Thanksgiving, and it was sunny and dry. Not even 24 hours after I returned to Colorado, we had multiple snow storms and cold fronts roll through the Front Range keeping the temperatures anywhere from -12 to 40, but mostly somewhere in between. The riding conditions were sub-par with snowy/slushy/wet/gritty roads and unrideable trails, but at least I was still able to ride outside for the most part.
Fort Collins, CO was hit pretty hard with the last storm compared to where I live – Boulder, CO. They still had a good 6 inches of snow and were about 20 degrees colder than Boulder… and guess what? I spent the last couple days in Fort Collins, so I got “extra” training points. I have been stuck to the pavement for the last couple of weeks, and sticking to flat roads. I struggle more with riding a flat road at a certain effort compared to climbing up a canyon. The reason being is that the canyon helps you dictate your effort whereas with a flat road, it takes more mental intervention to force yourself to push more power or a higher heart rate. I am not a fan of riding a flat road for hours, but it’s good for me to do, and definitely a key to making improvements next year for myself with my personal limiters. So, on the road I be…
Tuesday, I allowed myself to mix it up a bit on the road with some flat sections, and some short climbs.
The water in Horsetooth Reservoir was sparkling on Tuesday (and it was barely above freezing point. brrr!)
I allowed myself a little bit of climbing, and rode a short way toward Estes Park, but only for a little while. Here is an elevation profile of the ride, courtesy of my Suunto T6c. Those spikes in elevation at the end are riding back and forth on some of the short, super steep hills in Horsetooth Park. I like it… I like it a lot!
It was so refreshing to get back to blue skies, sunshine, and more mild temperatures in Albuquerque today. While it’s not super warm out, it’s still 40-50F and with the sun, it feels downright balmy! 🙂 I think I might have eeked out a few drops of sweat today, even at a Z2 effort. That is, until the wind showed up.
I got to ride my mountain bike on trails, which is my reward for spending time on flat, never-ending roads for many hours. It’s like the chocolate on your sundae! I almost got away from the sight of snow. I can handle a little bit on the trails. They were delightfully tacky. I have been riding my hardtail a lot this winter. I forget how speedy it iss on the trail and am always caught off guard at first because the bike speeds forward so easily! Awesome…!
Since I drove 7 hours today and made a mad dash to unload the car and get dressed, I was racing the sunset. You never really notice how fast the sun tracks through the sky until it is sinking into the horizon.
‘Tis the season:
I came around a corner on the trail and did a double take. Someone decorated a tree with various ornaments including Kashi granola bars, little dog stuffed animals, tangerines, banana chips, and doggie treats! I thought that was pretty awesome of whomever made the tree. Thank you! Should I hang some Ergon grips on there?
There is something surreal and poetic about sunsets, especially if you are doing some outdoor activity. It is usually a captivating experience, and you realize how regal and momentous that burning churning orb of Hydrogen and Helium really is. Other times, it can induce panic… like if you are LOST on the trail like that one day. ..or in 24 hour races, it just is the start of a new segment of your time outside. Most humans and animals live by the sun cycle, and if it ceased to exist, we’d be gone. Food for thought.
This ride looks amazing. I enjoyed the read from the trail and the pictures too. Racing the sun – before you’re out of light – gives new meaning to “lights out”…!