Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday's Sights

Today was my last big training ride before next weekend's Mt. Evans Epic Ride. It was a fantatic Colorado summer day (a bit hot, not much wind) and great blue skies, so I stopped a few times during the ride to get some pictures for my bike blog.

I left the house over an hour after I had planned on leaving, but that's because I got a little extra sleep. My legs were feeling OK (yesterday they were hurtin' on my ride) but I didn't know how they'd feel on some hills. My plan was to ride down to the Garden of the Gods and back and pretty much that's what I did.

Took it easy on the first part to warm up and made sure I was drinking since it was going to be warm. I cut through the Air Force Academy to avoid traffic and went over to Woodmen Rd. Decided to climb Woodmen all the way to the top. Up I went. Pretty long climb that gets a little steep at the top. Fun coming down Centennial though! Saw Carley from Team In Training and gave her a shout out. When I turned on 30th this cyclist with the most amazing calves I have ever seen passed me. I couldn't help staring at his legs. Wow. A few minutes later I was in the Garden and stopped to take a picture.
Kissing Camels is the rock formatino above 'Gods'
Continuing on my climb, passed what looked like a father-daughter climbing up on a tandem mountain bike. Cool! Made my way to Balanced Rock, where a guy offered to take my picture with the bike. Wish he'd gotten more rock than road, but it was nice of him anyway!
at balanced rock.
Next stop, the Trading Post to use the facilities and refill my water bottles. And another bike photo op with the cactus!
outside the Garden of the Gods Trading Post
After leaving I did one extra "little loop" for a fun 'S' curve descent and then back up to balanced rock and out into Manitou Springs. when I cruised over there I realized today was the Pikes Peak Marathon and people were lining up at the finish line. I hung out, ran into Brian McCarrie of Pikes Peak Sports and waved at Tim Bergsten, also of PPS, as he was also covering the race. Then I watched the top 3 runners finish (yes, Matt Carpenter wins AGAIN). What is it about watching a race finish making you think, "I could do that!"
Matt Carpenter wins 2010 Pikes Peak Marathon in under 3:52
I eventually need to get home so I didn't stay long. Turned around and headed back into the Garden to finish the loop and head back home the way I came. My legs were feeling good so I opted to climb back up Centennial all the way. Saw Carley again as she was coming down! This road is mostly a reasonable climb until you get near the top. Add in no wind and it was a tough climb! I enjoyed the descent back down Woodmen and swung by my friend Sarah's place. I didn't see her car parked out front so I continued on, back into the Air Force Academy.

When I stopped at the thunderbird plane to take a pic, I ran into Dan from the Pikes Peak Tri Club. He's training for Ironman Florida and was doing laps of Stadium Drive. I found him around mile 68 so he was a little tired.
Dan of the PPTC
Got my photo of my bike...
If only I could ride as fast as this can fly!
After this brief stop, I decided to do the climb around to the Visitor Center for one more climb of the day and to get more water. This was a hot climb! Usually the wind is strong up here but since I think I had a slight tailwind (no complaining) it got warm. I was a little low on calories and took a gel and washed it down with warm water. Not ideal but better than nothing. I didn't push too hard on the climb but was glad to get to the Visitor Center (air conditioning, cold water!) Once I filled my bottles I sat outside in the shade near the entrance. A nice breeze cooled me off while I hydrated some. Chatted with a woman who did the Ascent yesterday. With 60 miles under my belt here, it was time to go home. One more climb past the soccer fields and then fly down North Gate Blvd. Except there was a big kids soccer tourney so traffic was thick! Kids were running across the street so I had to yell at one to be careful since I didn't know if he was going to run in front of me. Pushed up this last hill then enjoyed the descent again (mostly - it's better with fewer cars). Just a few more miles until home. Made it! Now I'm really looking forward to a week of recovery so I can rock Mt. Evans!


Terry Odell said...

Rock away. You coming to the Divide Fire Station pancake breakfast on the 5th?

Christi said...

Great ride! You went by my house twice on your ride. I live on Centenniel right before it turns into Woodmen. I have made that climb many a time! Good luck next week!

Nicole said...

Thanks! Mom - I'm planning on heading up for pancakes, but will confirm that week.

Christi that's some hill you live on!!! :-)