After lots of hiking last week, my legs have finally recovered and this week has brought lots of riding.
On Tuesday, Chris and I rode to Golden, then back via the Clear Creek path (?), up through Arvada, and we stopped for a delicious cookie snack at a bakery. In all, we rode about 32 miles in 2.5 hours. It was a fun, relaxing, middle of the day ride. I've always wanted to ride to Golden from our house, and now I have. I was surprised at how easy it was! Plus, throw in a tasty cookie and you've got the makings of a nice ride.
Wednesday night brought a group ride with the gang. We had a really good showing -- about 8 of us rode Lair 'O The Bear near Morrison. We rode this trail a few times last summer and each time I suffered pretty hard. While it's only about 12 miles in total, the first few miles are a good steady climb. The top has some great rolling terrain, then more climbing until the end. Last summer I was awfully proud of myself for finally riding to the very end instead of turning around early as I was accustomed to doing. Last night I realized just how far I've come in the past year. I climbed strong and wasn't even out of breath when I passed the tree that I'd thrown up on two years ago. I felt good and could usually keep our fast guys in sight. Before I knew it we were at the turnaround spot, and I still felt fresh. It was getting dark and since I am sans-contacts until I get around to ordering more, I could only see clearly about three feet in front of my face. I took the descent easy and enjoyed hanging out, talking, and riding with Melissa. By the time the ride was done, I was ready for dinner, and enjoyed having *most* of our group back. It was an awesome ride and I couldn't be more pleased with my progress. I can't wait to go back to that trail, it has to be one of the best in Jefferson County.
Since Chris has had a few hard days on the bike (while I rode a rockin 12 miles yesterday, he rode to the trail and ended up with over 50), he decided that today would be an "easy" road day. Feeling good coming off of last night and looking forward to some good cross country and downhill racing this weekend, I decided to tag along. I may be getting a lot stronger and becoming a better overall rider, but Chris's easy days are still usually big days for me. Since we rode to Golden earlier this week, I decided it would be fun to head the other way and hit Boulder. Chris rides to Boulder often and I've never made the trek. About an hour and 45 minutes later, we were on the north side of Boulder about to enjoy an awesome lunch at our favorite Boulder restaurant, Murphy's. We both had some burgers and delicious little desserts. Mmmmmm. Yummm. Murphy's never disappoints. After stuffing ourselves full, we headed back south towards home. To get home, we'd have to go over "The Wall." As a front range rider, it's amazing that I've yet to go up The Wall, and just the idea of it made me very nervous. However, as we got to it and rode up it, it really wasn't that bad. Sure, my leg muscles were burning toward the top of the climb, but it really wasn't as bad as I'd made it out to be in my mind. And the best part... once you are to the top of The Wall, it is basically all downhill to home. In total, we had ridden 42 miles and about 3.5 leisurely hours.
We've had three awesome days of riding. This summer of perpetual Saturdays really does suit us well. I go back to school in less than a month, but when I go back, at least I'll know I took advantage of every day that we were given. Chris is riding incredibly strong and is looking fit and ready to tackle the Colorado Trail. His calves are looking more ripped than I've ever seen before and he, at least currently, has the perfect attitude to conquer the TrailBeast. We'll both be racing this weekend in Winter Park, then perhaps one more 14er next week before he heads off on the CT. Somewhere in there we probably need to finish painting our basement so I can finally post pictures of it... Hmmmm...