Sunday, March 25

The Leadville Chronicles: Hike-A-Bike

Part V

Was Saturday "Take Your Mountain Bike for a Hike Day?" 'Cause I did.

Oh, I tried to ride it. I tried really hard, but my body wasn't going to let my mind have the satisfaction. They don't get along so well.

The whole story began...

[wavy lines and cascading music]

...on Friday.

I commuted up to Boulder for my Watershed to Waterwise class on The One. The weather was perfect. I felt good and strong. But as I passed through Superior I felt sluggish. I actually stopped along Marshall Road to see if there was something wrong with the bike. Air pressure in the tires seemed fine. Maybe the front brake was sticking a little, but not enough to make me feel so slow.

As usual, the long downhill of Marshall Road wasn't the screamer it seemed it should be, further solidifying in my mind that I was running seriously behind. Then as I cruised along Broadway I noticed the Flatirons in full sun. Yeah, it felt late in the morning. I was going to be cutting it close...

I finally made it to the Wolf Law Building (LEED platinum) and locked up The One. Then I took out my phone to text my wife and checked the time. 7:55. I was supposed to be in class at 9:00am. I'd left Arvada at 6:10 because my last commute had taken 2 hours and 20 minutes. Friday I'd made it in a lean 1:45. I'd managed a 12.4 mph average, and the commute isn't flat.


Sustainable Practices Program, Watershed to Waterwise class, CU Boulder

The class was good, and at 5:00pm sharp I pedaled away from CU. I imagined that afternoon traffic and the mental and physical baggage of a day sitting in class would slow me down. I rolled into the Bikeport at 6:45. Another 12+ mph average!

Mandy and I went to the 9:15 showing of The Hunger Games in Olde Town. We'd both read the books over a year ago and had been looking forward to seeing the movie. It didn't disappoint.

It was a late night so we slept in on Saturday morning. Then sun never lets us sleep too late though, and as we lay in bed trying to decide what to do with the day she suggested I go do a training ride for Leadville. I was torn. I knew I'd pushed hard the day before. But I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to get in a good dirt ride. It was an easy decision, but I still wrassled with the balance: train or be productive, train or be productive?

Within nanoseconds after Mandy had suggested I go for a ride I had hatched a scheme. It was an ambitious scheme, and in my mind it seemed possible. Sometimes my brain doesn't correctly apply physics to the plans and schemes it comes up with.

The scheme? Ride from home to the foothills, White Ranch Open Space to be exact, and then ascend Belcher Hill, drop down paved Golden Gate Canyon Road, then head up Lookout Mountain and descend Apex Open Space, and then...move on down to Matthews-Winters OS? Mount Falcon? Green Mountain? Anyway, the concept was just to start north and work my way south until total system failure. Like I said, there is a disconnect sometimes between my schemes and reality. Sometimes I surprise myself and pull it off, but usually I bit off way more than I can chew. Of course, I try to build in minor successes within my schemes, so if I ultimately fail I won't feel as if the effort was a complete waste.

The problem was that I had to pass North Table Mountain on the way to White Ranch, and I decided to incorporate it into my scheme. Weh-heh-hell, that was a good ride in itself, but it didn't do much for my success in climbing up Belch Hill (White Ranch).


MTBer on Belcher Hill Trail, White Ranch OS

I walked the steep gully up the eastern gully to the Mesa Top Trail. At the top an older couple was taking in the view of the western suburbs.

"Nice day to walk your bike 'eh?" the gentleman asked cheerfully.

I laughed. "I like to get it out for a walk now and again."

I was tired long before I reached the lower White Ranch trailhead and started up Belcher Hill Trail. I kept at it, chugging away, for quite awhile, but eventually I came off the bike, and I spent very little time on the bike as I climbed up to the upper trailhead.

To my credit, there is a lot of technical, and sometimes loose, climbing. It's consistent, sometimes steep, and it just goes and goes and goes.

After a long slog, some riding, some hiking...lotta hike-a-biking...I finally reached the upper trailhead...with a rear flat. Well, it wasn't flat, but I had a slow leak and it was low.

Pumped it up and rolled out the road to the main road. Stopped and put some more air in the tire and then turned my front wheel toward the long descent into Golden down Golden Gate Canyon Road.

I was concerned that at the bomb-run speeds of a canyon descent, even a slow leak could be dangerous. I was trying my best to get down while I still had adequate PSI. When I reached highway 93 I was still doing good.

I rolled dusty into downtown Golden. The main drag was hoppin' and I hitched up The One out front of D'Deli and got in line. They have the best sandwiches anywhere in Golden.

I left D'Deli with a half sandwich (Italian bread, turkey, bacon, mozzarella, guacamole, mayo, lettuce and tomato) and two cans of Coke. My skin was crusty with salt and my body underneath felt hollow and weak. My D'Deli haul didn't stand a chance!

It was a bit ambitious to attempt such a ride after Friday's effort. I managed almost 30 miles on Saturday, but I averaged about 6 miles an hour. If nothing, the effort was a good benchmark, and next time I can improve on the effort.

I'm going to go back to portaging Bean to and fro. I've missed my commuting partner and I'm looking for a change in routine.

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