04 May 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Spring 2010intoxicating blossoms in 2008For the last three weeks, I've wanted to ride my bike to work Friday, do regular training rides Saturday and (before church) Sunday, then ride to work again Monday. That would give me four consecutive days in the saddle, which is about the most important kind of training I can get right now, next to altitude. And well, it's May now, so time to work on altitude, too.

April weather was not cooperative. Snow fell every weekend! We can ride in snow with fat tires; ice typically makes skinny tires just a bit more adventurous.

Snow flew last Thursday morning, and rain was predicted Friday. I decided I'd been off the bike quite long enough, with time ticking away toward Ride the Rockies. I have snow and rain gear; training must resume.

Got in 50.6 miles Friday with numerous detours where the river had jumped its bank. After stashing my bike in the office, I noticed I would have to cover lunch hour for a co-worker, so I knew I wouldn't get a chance to do the stairs after not having time to do them all week. I'd already broken my New Year's Resolution of climbing the stairs at least once a week during income tax week, and I'd already decided I wasn't going to give up the goal just because work kept me from achieving it one week. So before showering, I did the stairs. After 28 miles at a pretty good pace so I would have time to shower...

That's the first time I've ever done the stairs immediately after a long ride, and boy, did I ever feel it!

High Grade Road, Deer Creek CanyonSaturday was a chill thrill. We set off to climb Deer Creek Canyon.
The Lizard has been doing this regularly every week, but my hours prohibited me from joining him. As we began pedaling, I wasn't sure how far I could go. I couldn't remember the last time I'd done this particular climb. So my goal was to go as far as I could and just do my best.

Deep into the climb, I thought I remembered my last goal in this canyon being 20 miles. So I decided to do 21. At mile 21, I decided I could go a bit further. I did half a mile more, into a light and airy but building snowstorm, for a total of 43 miles and 4,126 feet elevation gain for the day. !!! 93.6 miles in two days. No small fete for me!

I checked my stats when I got home, and my last climb of Deer Creek Canyon had been in January, and I'd done only 18 miles of climb. So I am feeling pretty darned good about climbing right now. I was worried before this ride, but now I feel I'm on track and where I need to be just six weeks from the big ride.

Spring Flowers for Mother's DayI didn't get much time on the bike Sunday, with church, picking up Mary Jafek's quilt from the Denver National Quilt Festival (Wordless Wednesday photos tomorrow), visiting a friend going through chemo and delivering tiny flower baskets to friends who are moms. (Sometimes it feels like every minute of every day is scheduled!) My new, first ever women-specific saddle needed a fitting, and I got about two miles of test ride. I LOVE my new saddle!!!

I broke the new saddle in during my work commute Monday. Heaping 60 miles! Woohoo! 155.6 miles in four days. Hot dog!

Not only is it wonderful to be back in my new saddle again, I also am exhilerated to be done with last week's crafty theme and pre-arranged (by someone else) daily topics.

Knit and Crochet Blog Week was fun, but in retrospect, a little too long for my personal taste. I enjoyed the challenge; it took me back to creative writing and composition classes and reminded me of many stories I wrote while working full time as a journalist. Work assignments at the newspapers weren't always topics I would have chosen to cover. I think last week was a good opportunity for me to put on a new coat of shiny wax, eliminate the rust and polish my interviewing skills. However, if I ever participate in another non-cycling, non-wildlife or non-wildflower week again, I will excercise a tiny bit of self-restraint and limit participation to every other day or maybe just three days or so in a row.

See, even I got bored with what I published, even though I wrote it!

Isn't it funny that I can write about a week of climbing peaks or pedaling Moab or Riding the Rockies and never tire of the subject matter? I so hunger and thirst for the wilderness!

before...It feels SO good to be writing about cycling and being alive again! Needlework is excellent therapy, but a little too much makes the rear end too big for the saddle.

Which, speaking of, my bike got more of a facelift than just my saddle while I was piddling with yarn. My bosses had given me a nice gift certificate to a high-end bike shop for Christmas, and I, the most avid anti-shopper on the planet, went on a shopping spree! My new saddle is much snazzier than any bike accessories I've ever bought before. The Lizard, who does all my bike maintenance, bless his precious soul, also installed new brakes (which got a heavy duty workout during the Deer Creek Canyon descent), new tires and new handlebar tape. Doesn't my bike look sharp now?!?

Yes, this female cyclist desires a fashionable bike. My ride has to look good on me!
...after!

7 comments :

  1. You are off to a good start for the season. I do like your bike, that is a nice looking ride.

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  2. Your bike looks great :)

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  3. 155.6 miles in four days???? gosh just to think of it make my knee hurts!

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  4. Oh, I forgot. Don't you love Specialized with their women-specific frame designs? They have my devotion.

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  5. I'm so glad to hear that you're back in the saddle! And, the saddle itself can make such a difference. I've finally found one that I love, and I won't ever turn back!

    That was quite a day on the bike with more than 4000' of climbing! And, your comment about too much needle work making the rear end too big for the saddle made me laugh!

    It looks like, maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner here. Regardless, I'm heading to Moab next week! I can't wait!

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  6. I am in awe. I am such a fair weather, sissy girl, commuter biker in comparison...

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