This summer and fall have been full of checking activities off an unwritten list of things that I never thought I'd be able to do.
(Ok, well, never as in the last few years.)
Today, Chris and I took advantage of this continually warm weather and took care of one of those items. Fall is sticking around in these parts and seems unwilling to give way to actual winter-like weather. This week Denver hit 78 degrees. At the end of November. It's crazy.
One item on my list of things I've been wanting to accomplish, is riding the Marshal Mesa trail from home and back. Marshal Mesa is a pretty easy ride that we've been riding since back in our Boulder days with GhettoBike. Chris likes to make this relatively easy trail into a more substantial ride by riding from home. He makes the trip fairly often, but I've always thought it was too far away for me to ride and still enjoy the trail in the middle.
So we tried it.
In the end it turned out to be my farthest single speed ride yet... around 31 miles, 2000 ft of climbing, in about 4 hours.
We (as in I) started out pretty bundled up, but quickly stripped off layers. The high today was in the upper 50s and it was almost too warm for knee warmers. We enjoyed the cruise down The Wall over to the Colton trail and rode that up to the regular Marshal Mesa parking area. I was surprised at how quickly this part of the ride went, it really wasn't that far to get to the trail! Zooming down the Colton trail was fun and I even went fast enough to get some air off of some little jumps. Once we reached the lot where we normally park our car, we crossed highway 93 and rode the Dowdy Draw trail. The views of the Flatirons and Eldorado Canyon were spectacular. The trail itself was really fun and in great shape. In the past we have ridden up this trail, but this time we got to go down it. Much more fun that way! We stopped for a few snacks and hit the normal Marshal Mesa trail on our way back to the road behind Superior where we turned back toward home. As seems the norm for big rides around here lately, we had to cruise up The Wall before getting to spin home. I was nervous about climbing The Wall on my single speed with giant heavy wheels when I know I usually suffer up it on my speedy little road bike. At this point my knees were really bothering me as well (URGH!!!!!) but I made it up.
A few random thoughts from the ride:
1) Chris is a badass. 30 miles on the single speed really is hard. Harder than I expected. And he does that on his rest days. Dang.
2) Prairie Dogs right now are really fat. And apparently suicidal.
3) Having not really ridden except for once in the past month, and not that often for the month prior, I don't feel that I've lost a lot of fitness in my legs and muscles. I do, however, feel like I have lost lung/heart fitness. I had to stop for too many breaks. That was annoying.
4) I need to fix my knees. The foam roller of pain is helping, but not enough. I need some serious strength exercises to make them better. Any suggestions for IT Band exercises?
5) It does not feel like the end of November. I hear it may snow over Thanksgiving. I hate driving in the snow, but really, it's about time.
We had a great time, on a great day, on a great ride.
Now I'm sore and tired. As usual.