Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Training in Colorado - part 2

More scenes from my training days around the Denver area.  I have so missed the mountains and tried to get as much mountain time as I could.

Just for kicks, I checked out the Tour Divide route from Frisco heading south.  I cannot imagine ever riding as far as these amazing cyclists do (from Canada to the Mexican border - !!??) but it's fun to see part of the route here and there.  Especially since I picked a beautiful day, not too warm or cold, plenty of sunshine, and gorgeous Colorado views.

Riding the bike path up from Frisco, well this is easy.  Apparently I picked one of the easiest parts of the trail too.  Maybe if it were like this the whole way, I'd consider it!

My first selfie while riding!  Look John, solar  :)  And no, I will not be perfecting the art of selfies while riding, "one and done" is good enough.

Aspen bike.  Taking a break at Breck to check on the status of the riders heading south.  Hmm, looks like they might be coming up this climb to Boreas Pass a little later.  I'll go ahead and get started.  Too late to see any of the guys who left from Silverthorne this morning, though.

Finally on gravel, heading up the long, climbing road:

Lovely views in the direction of Quandary where I climbed with Tom recently:

Red rocks and blue sky:

A very large tank, and any excuse to get off the bike for a minute to take a picture:

Well, that was a very long, kind of tedious, but really good for training, climb up to the pass.  It turns out it was built as a railroad grade, so the incline was constant, not too crazy, but never changing.  That sure made it interesting.  I was very glad to finally reach the top.  How do those riders do this over and over?  Amazing and inspiring.

Breaking all kinds of rules - "no parking", "do not block gate":

Requisite selfie with the bike on the Continental Divide:

Lovely flowers and snowy mountains:

I got all the way back down to Breckenridge without seeing a single TD rider.  I stopped to check on their locations and almost immediately a woman turned up the street - it's Fay from New Zealand, way to go!

Followed soon by Garrett:

Lynne and Angela were back on their bikes as well:

Christian and Achim were riding together, I'm not sure who is who in the next 2 photos, but they were looking good starting their climb up toward Boreas:

That was seriously awesome, watching them all take off up the road.  I saw another couple riders later hauling butt into Frisco, I believe it was Alexis and Dana, but they were going too fast to get a photo.

Good job riders!

Tom and I met up for another 14er hike, aiming for the top of Mount Bierstadt:

This time we were joined by Marcela, Tom's girlfriend, excellent!  Here she is, coming out of the restroom, and here we are playing around with multiple selfie photos to capture the occasion:

Marcela getting psyched up to climb her first 14er:

Nice path up the side of the hill, looking for marmots:

More beautiful views - I promise I'll stop with the mountain porn soon (we're in North Dakota as I write this, for example):

Another hiker mentioned that Mountain of the Holy Cross actually has a snowy cross on it this year, apparently a rare thing in recent years.  I tried to get a zoomed-in photo, so you can kind of see it on the horizon.  Very cool!

Marcela doing great on the climb!

Celebration at the top, well done!  Mount Evans in the background (where you can drive up):

Lunch with trail dogs:

A woman walked past carrying a bouquet of roses and I was like, "what's happening?" - her boyfriend brought some signs for a little show-and-tell, so we had to go watch:

Will you marry me?  As someone who got married on top of a mountain, I'm all into this kind of creative proposal!

She said yes, yay!!!

Another form of celebration - a dog who got higher than anyone else that day on Bierstadt, too funny:

Beautiful wildflowers:

Soaking the feet in the cold water, Marcela enjoyed that part too:

Congratulations on your first 14er!

Finally, a hike with John  :)  We drove over to Golden Gate Canyon and climbed around on a couple trails to get a brief taste.  The elusive John Beard on a trail, hello John!

Excellent trails, we need to come back and run around here some more:

Love the big rock formations:

Admiring the views:

Thank you, mountains!

This sign made us laugh just saying the name outloud:

Lots of Colorado training entertainment, super enjoyable couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Training around Denver - part 1

We were lucky to get to spend a couple weeks in Colorado, a nice break from the heat (or in John's case, a bit of cold to be tolerated).  Visiting friends, lots of training, some upgrades to the trailer, plenty of good stuff keeping us busy.

Kelly and Ryan invited me on a hike into the Indian Peaks area, on Devil's Thumb trail.  What a beautiful day, and I was SO happy to be back up in the mountains!

Lots of snow melt happening:

But not all of it has happened yet!

We made it up to a pretty lake (Jasper, I think), deciding that was a good place to turn around.  We had considered climbing up to the Divide, but there looked to be a lot of snow up high.  Playing around on the snowy trails was enough excitement for the day.

Look John, solar!

Back to the "lowlands", I met up with my adventure racing teammate Tom for some packrafting practice.  Posing with our rental Gnu:

This guy put on the river right before us - check out the PFD on the dog!

Launching on the South Platte River for some fun in the manmade rapids!

John took a couple videos of us - except he used his old phone with a super low-resolution setting so it's not really easy to see that it's actually us in the boat.  But you can kind of get the idea:

Another grainy video with us yelling as we descend (warning - potty mouth language):

Not a self-draining raft:

That was so much fun we needed a short nap on the riverbank (more expedition race training):

We paddled a few miles, bumped a couple knees, turned the boat over once and didn't drown, success!

We met up again on another day to climb a 14er - Quandary Peak!

More happiness and beautiful views:

Almost made it!  Oh wait, that's just the flat part before the final climb:

Oodles of mountain goats on the mountain!

They just wandered by, fairly oblivious to the people clambering up and down the trail.  So cool.

Such the scenery:

Heading up the last steep pitch:

More "walking through snow" practice:

Yay for the top of Quandary!

It has been too long since I've been up here:

Tom demonstrating how to pack an excellent lunch:

More mountain goat cuteness:

Can't quite get over these guys:

Another herd of them hanging out as we descended:

That was a wonderful start to my Denver training experience.  Some good altitude acclimation, adventure race-specific workouts, and fun with my teammate Tom.  Thanks Tom!