Cold it was not. And yet perhaps more powerful than last time.
With only one partial climb of Deer Creek Canyon this season beneath my belt, I took on Cold Shivers, Colorado National Monument and summer-like temperatures last weekend.
And once again, Van Halen knew just when to pop onto my iPhone playlist. Sammy Hagar crooned again just as I reached Cold Shivers.
Straight up we'll climb
We'll get higher and higher
Leave it all behind
So, Baby, dry your eyes
Save all the tears you've cried
Oh, that's what dreams are made of"
-Eddy Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar
Last time I did this climb, I had not done any physical therapy. Last time I did this ride, I wanted to know if I could. Last time I did Cold Shivers, we did a shortened version, called the Monument Loop. We started at the bottom, pedaled all the way through the Monument, and returned to the starting point for a total of 33 miles. I hurt at the end. Shoot, I hurt all the way through the ride! But the elation of successfully making the climb dulled the pain and heightened my emotions.
This time, I knew I could do it. I have better posture and a stronger core, thanks to PT. This time, we'd just received our periodic Pedal Points newsletter from Ride the Rockies, emphasizing riders should be focused on climbing by now. "You didn't sign up for the flattest ride on the planet," the email read. This time, I still have pain, but it's much more manageable.
And this ascent of Cold Shivers Point, I did it in 55-mile style. No shortcuts.
I had completed 60 miles back in January, before I finished PT. Pain and discomfort increased steadily the last ten miles, but the adrenaline of pedaling 60 miles once again powered me to my goal.
When I reported to the physical therapist, expecting to be congratulated for reaching my goal, instead I was mildly chastised.
"Maybe that's your body telling you you're not ready for 60 miles yet. Why don't you stay under 45 miles for now and try to work up to 60 slowly?" she instructed.
So I have stayed under 38 miles for the very few rides I've been able to do since then, thanks in part to our wintery spring but thanks also to front yard renovations. Ever since we were drawn for Ride the Rockies in March, I have been able to avoid overwhelming feelings of discouragement and self-doubt by continually reminding myself I will be able to participate because I've always been able to finish the ride each of the four times I've done it, come what may.
An amazing thing happened when I stopped focusing on 60 miles each month. Riding became more fun. I can ride where I want when I want, and I don't have to stick with whatever route will give me a specific number of miles. I unwittingly reclaimed a part of my life by sacrificing a renewed 60-mile-ride-a-month streak.
My lone 38-mile training ride since then came a week ago with my first climb of Deer Creek Canyon in many a moon. Deer Creek Canyon is a challenging climb. I knew if I could still climb, I might still be able to do long rides. I knew if I could climb and do long miles, the only Ride the Rockies preparation challenge I would face with my abbreviated training schedule would be consecutive days in the saddle.
Deer Creek Canyon proved I can still climb. And now Cold Shivers Point has proven I can still ride long miles.
Now I just have to develop that saddle callous in three and a half weeks.
I thought I was higher than a kite. But things were about to get better.
As we headed home, I got my first-ever Mother’s Day phone call.