As I headed off down my dark street toward my first class, "Introduction to Sustainability Coordinating," I was keyed up. I had 22+ miles of riding, some of it unknown, the effort needed unknown and a certain time frame in which to make my crossing.
Arvada was windy. That did not bode well for me, as I would have to travel through some of the windiest terrain in the area around Rocky Flats, 120th and east of Eldorado Springs.
Before I even got out of my neighborhood I was cranking furiously at an unsustainable pace.
I eased back, but the anaerobic damage had been done. It probably didn't help that I'd blazed through the darkness between Golden and Arvada to the rec center at a 17+ mph pace last night and then ran/walked for 20 minutes.
So I cut back on my pace as I neared Standley Lake. I was doing better, the sky was lightening and the sunrise was promising to be amazing. And then the whole affair almost came crashing down on my head. I cut across below the Standley Lake dam through the Big Dry Creek open space, aiming for a neighborhood on the north side and when I got onto the dirt path in the darkness I started picking up a lot of mud.
The last time that happened while I was riding the Xtracycle I ended up having to stop, take off the P-racks and dig mud out from between my wheels and fenders with a pair of pliers.
Thankfully that didn't happen this morning, but if it had gotten worse before I got off the bike and walked it through the weeds I would have ended up being late. As it was, the mud-caked tires slowed me down significantly for a good portion of the next leg of my ride.
The next leg through suburban hell...
I got turned around in the neighborhood, backtracked a couple of times on the winding streets, disoriented in the darkness, dodging early morning motorist commuters...
Speaking of which...does it seem odd that when suburbanites are leaving their neighborhoods in the mornings they go like their pants are on fire, like they have to escape the 'burbs at any cost? But then in the afternoon/evenings when they are returning to the cluster of cul-de-sacs they go just as fast, as if they found something worse they needed to escape during the day? Like their jobs? Anyway...
I found myself caught up in school drop off traffic near an elementary school and it was the largest snarl of traffic in such an innocuous place that I've ever seen.
But then I was free of the suburban hell and pedaling up a wide, four lane road with 35 mph speed limits and little traffic through an office "park". Of course every single one of those few cars tried to smash into me. Crazy cubicle dwellers!
I crested Simms at 120th, cut west to the City of Superior open space I'd used to get to the Dirty Bismark and with little further stress made it through Superior in about two hours from home. I had less than an hour to get to class!
The ride into Boulder was uneventful from there. I slipped in covertly, like a Cold War era spy into the former Soviet Union, and immediately began enjoying the low hanging fruits of a Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Community. As I cruised along into town the sun had finally broke over the horizon and splashed across the faces of the Flatirons.
And then I reached the building where my class was to take place. It had taken me 2 hours and 20 minutes to travel 22+ miles and I was beat.
An hour into the class my legs started to cramp, so I grabbed a complimentary banana and sucked down enough water to draw attention to myself.
The class was great, it gave me some good direction, inspiration and the right amount of confidence in my own thoughts and I can't wait for the next class. Our instructor let us go an hour early, at 4pm, and I was very thankful, as I was kind of dreading the ride home, knowing I would be riding a good portion in complete darkness.
And then in a moment of exquisite serendipity one of my fellow classmates, who happens to live within a few miles of me asked if I wanted a ride.
"Do you have a truck?" I asked--because you don't just sling an Xtracycle on a regular bike rack or stick it in the trunk--not imagining he would.
He said he did.
So the Cannonball X and I caught a ride down to Olde Town and I have a ride to class next Friday as well. It was the perfect end to a good day.