Monday, July 30

Inspiration Point

I had wanted to ride down before work and catch the start of the 2012 Colorado Trail Race at 6am at the Waterton Canyon trailhead this morning. When I finally understood the math I realized I'd have to leave at 4am to get there by 6. Nuh-uh!

I need to keep training and I want to pad my miles for July as much as possible, so decided to head up and over Lookout Mountain. The deal was sealed when I saw a tweet from @steepclimbs:

Lookout Mountain, Golden, CO

Yeah, had to go do Lookout. I'd been up there twice this summer but turned back both times at Windy Saddle because I didn't have time to go on to the top and make it to work on time. This morning I made sure to leave early enough that I'd have plenty of time. And I did.

I'd never ridden Minus (my '86 Bianchi road bike) up Lookout. I was worried it wasn't geared low enough. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

Minus goes up hills like you wouldn't believe. At the pillars I settled in to my crotchety commuter pace and within a mile or so an old guy passed me. He wasn't screaming up the mountain, but he pulled away and kept right on going.

When he was a couple hundred yards ahead the competitive demon on my shoulder told me if I were truly hardcore I'd catch the old coot. So I mashed down on the pedals and Minus lurched forward. Huh? I definitely wasn't scraping the bottom of the barrel. So I applied more force and sped up. Easily.

I never caught the other cyclist, but I kept a good solid clip all the way to the top and over into Mount Vernon Canyon.  It was a good morning to ride, and I chose a good ride to do.

Riding up Lookout always makes me want to ride more. Kingston left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but I've since masked it with my ride on Friday and this morning's jaunt. I feel inspired to incorporate Lookout (and other rides) into more of my commutes, to spice things up, to keep my interest up, to keep me going when the going gets tough.

Before I "had to" get serious about training for Leadville I think I was sinking into a rut. In only rode places I had to ride. I mean, I tried to make my cycling interesting, I rode to places like Boulder, but I'd become Jack's Crushed Spirit. I should have been stoked to be riding, but it do often felt like a chore.

I did Lookout Mountain from highway 93 to the entrance to Buffalo Bill, which is right at five miles and 1,450' of gain, in 55 minutes.

The record (for the 4.5 miles from pillar to post) is 16:02 by pro cyclist Tom Danielson. I'm a universe away from that kind of effort, but I think I can shave off some time from today's effort, definitely my best to date.

So...I need 130 miles and change by the end of the day tomorrow to pull down 700 for the month. It's tempting to call in "sick" and go out and do a solid century in the plains on the road bike. I can totally justify it as training.

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