Originally when I signed up for this back in December it was with the intent of doing the full Century again this year. But as we know my fitness level and training is not what it should be so I decided I would shorten the ride. I wasn’t sure what mileage I would do and had the opportunity to change at many different points during the ride. I knew that I wasn’t up for Lookout Mountain. Lookout Mountain is a very well known ride here in Denver and I did it several times last year including the Denver Century last year. At the last minute Kathleen decided she would sign up and I was thrilled to be able to share at least part of the ride with her.
As usual when the alarm went off at 4:20 I was wondering why in the heck I sign up for these things that have me getting out of bed so early on my days off. Even if it is my normal weekday time to rise it just feels wrong on a Sunday morning! But drag my butt out of bed I did. Had some coffee grabbed my stuff and headed to the start of the ride.
|Me and Kathleen|
This ride would prove to be a little different than I was used to as part of it was very urban. In fact we rode through parts of downtown. It was kind of cool but also a bit of a hassle as there were many stop lights and the roads at the beginning were a little scary. There were many huge holes as well as long cracks that were just the right size to catch a tire. Luckily we survived with no issues but I heard there were others that were not so lucky.
After going through downtown we went through more of an older residential neighborhood. As we neared Golden and what would be the first real aid station I saw my dad on the side of the road sitting in his lawn chair and holding a florescent green sign.
|Happy Father's Day Dad!|
It was fun to see him out there and all though he had mentioned he may come watch us go by I didn’t know for sure if he would be there and I for sure didn’t expect the sign. He had a lot of fun talking with the riders that went by and all of the male and female riders who claimed to be Julie. I stopped to chat for a bit and then got back to it. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had forgotten to wish him happy father’s day...how awful is that! And right as I was thinking about it two girls road by and asked if I was the Julie that the sign was for. They had read my name on my bib.
|Not the best photo but gives you an idea of the different terrain we saw.|
At the first aid station I sent Kathleen on her way to have fun with Lookout while I took my time, sampled the food...they had coffee and these great sandwiches made with waffles, sausage and eggs! Sent my Dad a Happy Fathers Day text and chatted with a couple of women I knew from the group compu rides that we had done early this winter. Soon I figured I better move on.
The course had been pretty flat for the most part so far and with the exception of few hills I knew were coming up ( it’s an area I ride quite a bit we were quite near my home) it continued that way. Which was good. My cough was doing better but it was still there and the easier I took it the better off I was. If I exerted myself to much I would start to cough. It wasn’t long into this part of the ride I saw one of the strangest things. This guy road by on a motorcycle that was covered in pelts and had all these antlers on it. I’m telling you it was crazy!
|Not my picture. May or may not have been the one I saw but looked just like this!|
After a few small hills and a little wind I arrived at the next aid station. The views had changed a bit and as I was sampling the food at this aid station...turkey sandwiches and the best Oreo’s ever...the wind really began to pick up.
I exchanged some texts with Kathleen as we tried to decide what would happen. We were hoping that she would catch up with me as she is a much stronger rider. We decided I would just continue on at my slow pace..as I headed up Indiana which is a fairly heavily traveled road, not sure why the organizers chose this street, there is no shoulder at all and the wind got CRAZYYYYY! It was literally blowing us around and with all the cars and the lack of shoulder to ride on it was difficult to say the least. It wasn’t long be for the coughing started and I felt it was better to just get off and walk. I was not the only one. When I reached the top of the hill I took a short break and headed out. It was pretty much downhill from here.
By the time I hit the next aid station mile 46ish , it was getting really hot...I mean really hot..they had ice at the aid station and I drank a whole bottle of ice cold water...it was fabulous...I knew there was only one more quick water stop left before the end and it was only 6 miles from the end..through this point I was starting to get a little sore..my quad in my right leg wanted to cramp up a few times and my feet on and off got numb and sore. It was still windy but nothing like the wind from before. I was so ready to be done. Exchanged a few more texts with Kathleen. She was struggling, the wind and the heat were taking it out of her. I kept waiting for the water stop which I finally thought I must have somehow missed. I was at mile 60 and kept wondering how it was possible I could be back to the start in only 2 more miles. I had ridden this bike path before and had a vague idea of where I was and I just couldn’t figure out how it would work...before I knew I hit 62 miles and guess what I found...yea the water stop and 6 more miles to go to the finish....so more water and Gatorade. I spent quite a bit of time at this point a little angry with myself for the lack of fitness. I am pretty disappointed in just how much worse it is this year than last when I completed the full century. On a more positive note though I didn’t finish this ride feeling as bad as I did at the end of the Platte River ½ marathon in May.
|Part of the bike path|
|The huge Outdoor World store we rode by.|
Much of the last part of this ride had us riding on long spots of gravel. Now while I’m not a fan of riding through gravel I don’t mind if it’s just a little, but these areas seemed to be quite long and there were several spots I felt should have been marked a little better as you would be riding along when all the sudden the gravel would become close to 2 inches deep of loose gravel. Scary. As I approached the end a guy I was following stopped and turned around and pointed out a sign that said we were suppose to turn, so he did and I followed...I think we must have been the only two that did this...it went way around this neighborhood and brought us in the back area of the park. There were other signs too so it’s not as if someone had just moved one sign. Very strange.
I headed straight for the food line and then the beer line and sat down to enjoy this
|It occurs to me that much of this post is about the food....|
Along with some pretty decent 80’s music. I chatted with some people sitting around me while I waited for Kathleen. Finally as I was really starting to get worried I saw her. She had stopped a few times to cool off as she was starting to feel pretty bad. We didn’t hang out long as she just wanted to get home and I need to get going also.
And did I say it was hot? When I got packed up and in my car it showed that the temp was 102 degrees!!!! I waited thinking oh it will drop down a bunch once I get going...yea dropped all the way down to 100!!! Yea it was hot out there!
Total 69.5 miles
5 hours 23 minutes ride time
5 hours 23 minutes ride time