The "Steeplechase of Cycling" they call it. I was a steeplechase runner in high school and college, and the name fits. The races are short, but brutal. Even at the back and slower than the business end of the race, it hurts. I call it cross lung post race. Things come up from the depths of my lungs.
The last two races were pretty lackluster. I see my friend's in good form. I am not. I have a million excuses, but they don't make me fit or faster. I have learned to race smarter, but the race has changed a bit for me. At this point since 2005, I have logged more races on a single speed in CX than on a geared bike. I forget what it is like to race gears.
Some images of the last few years. The good , the bad and the ugly. I still love cross.
I have made some great friends and have a great team I am on. Like minded cyclist that balance being competitive and having fun. Real lifestyle cyclist. I am honored to suit up and race with these guys. We had 9 guys in the Single Speed race Sunday. In search of that Nana Cup. Our own team competition for the that coveted single speed CX crown.
Sector 1 - Peak 1 - North Table Mountain
Rooney Trail Head to Golden up 93 to North Table. Up North Table to via NTL, Mesa Top to Rim Rock (Peak#1),
descend to east side via Mesa Top to North Table Loop to Mesa Spur. To road to Easly, beofore Easly take Irrigation
Fire Road to Tony Grampas. Through Tony Grampas to 44th Ave. 44Th Ave to McIntyre to 32nd Ave.
Aid #1 - 44th and McIntyre Gas Station
Sector 2 - Peak 2 - South Table Mountain
32nd East to Country Club, up Col de Winger to Foothills Rd trail acces to South Table Mtn. Up North trails Acient Palms Trial to Basalt Cap.
Head west to a "secrect" trail loop that will dump us to the Castle Rock (Peak#2). Decend trails (TBD) to South Golden Rd. Secret cut through to Rooney Rd.
back to the RR TH.
Aid #2 - Route 40 Gas Station at Rooney Rd.
Sector 3 - Peak 3 - Green Mountain
Take Rooney Valley Trail up to the Green Mtn Trail to Radio Tower (Peak 3). Decend to W. Alameda (TBD). Head to Morrison Road to access Bear Creek Park.
Sector 4 - Peak 4 - Bear Creek Park
Depending on entrace on the North Side, ride the cross country course (or the Carbon Cross Course) to Mt. Carbon (Peak 4) and decend to complete loop.
So many options to ride in the park. We will decide on the fly. About 10 miles of trail. Exit Park at Northwest entrance via bike path, take bike path
back to the Rooney Rd. Trail Head.
Aid #4 - Conoco Gas at Morrison Rd and Bike Path.
We will ride as a group and meet at any junctions if there are any gaps.
We will obey trail and road rules. It's Important to keep these trails open to bikes!
Route can be subject to change if group would like to change route.
Any bikes welcome. Cross or Mtn will work. Gears or SS.
Pushing or Shouldering bike on climbs allowed (it's a Cross Ride!)
Plan on 4 hours of riding.
Plan to have fun and get in shape for Cross!
It's July and almost 100 degrees. I am watching the tour and inspired by the efforts on the big climbs. Base training has started to become more "formalized" and I am back in PT/Core Training to get my back back in race shape.
Who thinks about Cyclocross in July? Lots of us. The many that have focused in the fall to be the season to turn yourself in side out. Cliche, the "Pain Cave". I love running in the heat. My running buddy, my one cattle dog, Sadie likes to run with me. She knows no race called Cyclocross. Just piss, poop and fermenting cherries on our route in Highlands.
I love racing in the nastiest weather. I have an thing for adverse conditions. It started long ago. Last season was "dry". I never got dirty. This fall could be wet. Wet is good. Muddy is good. Dry courses that are dirt crits are bad. I don't say this to be so Jens, but my best results have been in really shitty weather.
Bikes are in pieces waiting for new parts and reconfigurations. I think about gear ratios. I continue to ride up hill and suffer to get in shape and loose the beer weight.
I am now in the Cat 3 group, but will continue to race single speed. The season is much longer this year. September until January.
Can you endure until January?
The weather has turned toward spring, and the mountain roads are getting a bit more manageable. Everyone is headed into the western hills to find their winter climbing legs.
It's tough transitioning from CX racing and 2 months of short climbs and roller rides to head into the mountains. A week of life getting in the way left me beat up and I was not exactly ready for an extended climb. The trails are still socked in, but temps in the 60s and clear roads made for a good day to head up to higher ground.
Not a well traveled climbed, but it has been on my rotation for some time, either as a supplement headed to higher ground or back from my old friends "Grapevine". Often it is a nice 35 miles out and back.
Just a few miles up highway 40 is the Mother of Cabrini shrine. The climb is short in Colorado terms. Only about a mile or so. It has a few steep graded sections and it is treeless, odd for a climb at elevation of just about 7200 ft.
It feels very European or "euro". Steep right off the bat from 40 and then is a gradual zig zag switch back to the top. Along the way are signs of religion. The blessed mother, crosses, a stream of Catholics in cars head up to visit. No bumper stickers that say "climbing for Jesus"
Today was a typical spring day, "in February". Sunny, warm and windy as hell. I make it to the base of the road and I am out of the saddle. I make the transition and start spinning on the less steep sections. The wind is a bear. In form, the climb is like knocking of a rosary for penance in grade school, knocking out a steady tempo of Hail Mary's and Our Fathers. The beads run fast through the hand like a steady cadence.
Today it is more the Stations of theCross for me, February form, wind, and virgin climbing legs of winter, I am hurting. I make it to the not so pearly white gates of the entrance, they are more like chain-link grey. I pass the old stone structures. I do my loop around the visitor center and gift shop. Take a long pull off the bottle and zipper up for the descent. On the saddle from the center to the entrance, a majestic view of the plains and the city of Denver appears. I feel high up, I sit about 2000 ft above my house, sixteen miles away. I fail to take a picture, but I have it saved in my mental file. It's wonderful.
I descend in the wind back to 40. Without breaking and pedaling, the decent is a fun bomb that hits speeds in the mid 30s to 40 mile per hour. I make it to the gas station that is my staple stop on the way home from Gennesee, Kitridge or other mountain towns off of 40. A 95 cent can Coke is always on the menu. I get back on the bike and more descending back to the city.
I love being a Denver urbanite. I can leave my house through the old neighborhoods of North Denver and spin for 10 miles before the "mountain" climbs begin. I can see the city from high above and return home in less than 2 hours. Best of both worlds.
If you find yourself needing to mix it up, go see the Mother, you will not be disappointed.
Ride Log - Feb 19th
Not even close yet, but it is 60 degrees and I am sitting at the edge of Sloans Lake, snow covered, panoramic view of Green Mtn, the foothills, and my summer tick list climb, Mt. Evans. The sun is hot today. Little Man naps in his BOB. People ride past in shorts. It will be nice later today in knickers. A few months until the roads will be clear and trails ready in the high country.