Waking up at 2:00am on the Sunday of the weekend St. Patrick’s Day festivities in a drinkin’ city seemed a strange way to begin a trip. I needed to go from the North side of Denver, through the South side, without incident. And then far beyond.
Plan: ride the bicycle from the back door to the Barr Trailhead ~90 miles away in Manitou Springs, CO and immediately begin the 13 miles hike up to the summit of Pikes Peak, for a winter ascent of a Colorado 14er, before it ain’t winter no more (mere days away). And of course carry all the gear that’s probably going to be needed. Which is really unrealistic, so just take what’s absolutely necessary. Which probably means, a different pair of shoes.
Then, take a few winks and ride back home, in perhaps a bit more scenic (read: more difficult, mountainous, less boring) route.
Cross racing season ended for me around December with the State Championships, where I managed to do fairly OK, as I did for most of the races I entered. 45 minutes of racing is certainly not my sweet spot. I felt like a marathon runner, doing a 100 meter dash, which is somewhat close to reality.
Denver finally hosted its own CX race, in my old neighborhood, even – I’ve lived on both 36th/Marion and 35/Brighton.
I got to the scene late – even though my race was at 1:20pm or something (1: I can’t count, and 2: I sleep in), and found myself sprinting to the start line still in my jeans, with pockets filled with loose change, my phone and my keys, as well as a fixed-geared bike.
A dude named, Shane decided to map out, and put on a 50-odd mile, Ultra Cross race one Sunday, when the regular cyclocross races were far away in Fort Collins and more expensive than usual (they’re always pretty expensive). His was free.
The road that travels up to the summit of Colorado Springs’ resident 14er, Pikes Peak (neé heey-otoyoo) @ 14,115 feet would be open to bicycle travel for the first time for an extended period: the entire month of September on an exploratory basis. In the recent past, the road has only been open for one day, for a bicycle race up to the top.
This road needed to be ridden to, from Denver and summited, before the end of September came; before the road was again closed to such noble of transportation options.
Twenty-Five days since finishing up the Tour Divide, I’m happy to report, I’ve done really nothing sensationally physical or demanding to my body. All too often, I – like many people who have an extra surplus of energy and stubbornly high pain tolerances, rush much too quickly right into another foolish test of strength, endurance and gas station junk food eating.
This year, I knew it’d be better to just lay low and allow my body to slowly and naturally replenish itself.