Bicycle Ride Across Colorado Log 2013

26 June

Wednesday, the day before the ride. Rode bicycle to work as a pre ride. Today was also bike to work day. Staff took me out to Outback for lunch to wish me a safe journey. They had a stake in my safe return, and they gave me a very nice card and an angel pin to assure that the will of the gods would trump my stupidity. I placed the pin on my Camel pack on a strap on the right side. It’s intention was for the angel to watch my back. A normal drive from Denver to Grand Junction is about 240 miles one way. My route would take me through the Rocky Mountain National Forest and its round trip would be 800 miles. I have 12 days. It’s ambitious and crazy. My longest one day ride up to now is 69 miles. And I am a very slow rider with poor techniques. The purpose of this exercise vacation ride was to ride my bicycle to lose weight. At the start of my ride I weighed 201.8 pounds. I’m also planning to eat less and eat better during this trip in hopes that it will jump start my diet to eat less and eat better the rest of my life. It’s just impossible to ride a bicycle for many miles while the body is trying to digest a cheeseburger.   

27 June

Started my ride towards Fort Collins at 7am. Today was the hottest day of the year at 100 degrees. Checked into the hotel and waited for Gwen. Gwen drove to Fort Collins later this night. Gwen had to work today but she was going to support my ride for the next two days. Total miles today: 70.16 miles. Yes I broke my record of 69 miles. My goal is to ride 100 miles in one day. Today was not the day. The weather report that today was BLAZING HOT.   

28 June

Rode into Poudre Canyon. If you’ve ever driven through the canyon, you know it’s not a safe ride because the road is so narrow. And the cars and trucks roar by so fast. I’m thinking this is crazy for me to be out here. There’s not another bicycle that I can see. The canyon is beautiful but not on a bicycle. Also rode a few miles in the evening and in an instant, there was a thunder storm. I had to ride in a mini tornado and I was pelted with rain, dirt, and wind. If I was in a car, I would pull over. But when you’re on a bicycle, the only thing to do is to keep pedaling. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Later that night, the weather report warned against being outside. No one should be walking outside and small pets should remain indoors. The old joke punch line in which King Arthur said, "I wouldn’t send a knight out on a dog like this," really applied. Lucky for me, I was on a bicycle. Total miles 32.99 miles. 

29 June

Rode back home from Fort Collins. My plan is to pack my bicycle and pack the car and continue the journey by car and bicycle on my own. I’ll get a hotel and ride forward and back. Get in the car the next day and get to the next hotel and ride forward and back. It’s much more time consuming and hassle but I wanted the car as insurance and I don’t camp. If I broke down in the middle of nowhere, I could always hike back to the car. Got my first flat tire. Gwen was nearby and she was able to pick me up and make it home. Total miles,  45.45. Tire is fixed and in better shape that I am. But I’m determined, and ready to go at it again tomorrow.

30 June

Sunday. I’m pooped and hot and butt is sore. I’ve decided today was a good rest day. Rode for 15.13 miles just to stay loose.

01 July

Packed car and picked up where I left off in Poudre Canyon. I think I’m more tired from driving than riding my bicycle. Anyhow, I only managed 10.98 miles today and stayed in Walden. I had planned to ride much farther today but it was so hot in the canyon.  

02 July

Tuesday, the day I crashed my bicycle. I hit a bump. There was a sign that said “bump” and I said to myself “what bump” and in an instant my bicycle was air borne by a few inches and the front tire was facing right and my body was falling left. I was quickly horizontal and received road rash on my left elbow, left shoulder and left calf. Bruises on my left hip and left ankle. My foot was clipped on the pedal so the bicycle landed on me. The chain was off and the left handle bar received minor damage. As I was lying on the asphalt, I noticed a phone on the road and I said to myself, “that looks like my phone. Someone dropped their phone in the middle of nowhere”. I then realized that was my phone and it had flown out of my camel pack. The angle pin was on my camel pack facing the rear on my right side. I landed forward on my left side. Spooky. It could have been worse. I was able to ride back to the hotel and get in my car and decided to drive back home. Change in plans but I’m still riding. It’s now going to be 600 miles to Gypsum. Total miles today: 41.85 miles.

03 July

My bicycle is fixed. I’m sore and healing. Rode through Boulder and to Niwot today. Total miles today: 80.29 miles. I really tried to get to 100 today but sadly I just could not. Tomorrow is the 4th of July and the family wants me to stay home to celebrate. I’ll celebrate not getting back on that bicycle, and then I’ll pack up the car again on 05 July and pick up where I left off.  

04 July

6 more days to ride and 300 miles more to go. Can I do it? Joanne wonders if all I wanted to do was ride 600 miles, why don’t I just ride around the block. The number one reason is boredom. And it’s more impressive when you tell people I rode 600 miles across Colorado versus I rode around my block 1000 times. Neither scenario would do much to impress them with my mental stability. Total miles today. 11.33 miles.  

05 July

Drove to Gore pass. Tremendous climb and very lonely road. No hotels anywhere. Rode 24.45 miles and drove back home to sleep. There are no hotels when you need one. And home is not that far away (by car).  

06 July

At it again and finished Gore pass and rode only 40.28 miles.  

07 July

Into Wolcott and this is where I’ll finish up my ride. Will continue to ride around Denver and see how many more miles I can put into this adventure. I read on the internet that a 12 year old rides about 10 mph. 10-12 mph is light riding. 12-14 is moderate. 14-16 is a little more intense. And onwards to 20 mph plus which is about the speed professionals ride. I’m pathetic at 11.7 mph during this trip. So today, with intention, I pushed myself and averaged about 15mph for 3 hours. It’s exhausting and I don’t know if I can keep this pace up for long periods of time. At least I know I can do it. I don’t want to think my speed is that of a 12 year old. Total miles today: 28.64 miles.

08 July

Total miles today: With another day of “riding with intention” I finished my odometer reading at 12,8 mph. And this is my average for the entire ride. I managed to increase my average from 11.7 from yesterday to today to 12.8. I wonder what my average would be if I rode with intention from day one. I discovered that I’m just as tired riding slow as I am riding fast. It was a good ride to end the journey. Total miles today: 65.22 miles. I know I didn’t make 100 miles in one day but the effort was there. For me, I’m good with it.   

Q and A:

Q: What were you hoping to discover on this trip?

A: This journey was a personal journey. I was not riding for a cause or charity. There are others who ride faster and farther than I. I was only comparing myself to myself. I did not discover religion or God. I did not come across any wild animals or motorcycle gangs, and I wasn’t passed by any 12 year-olds. I discovered I can probably do more if I put passion and heart into it. And when you fall into the mind set of zen after so many hours of riding, there’s no other feeling like it.  

Q: How many days in a row did you ride?

A: 13 days 

Q: How many total miles did you ride?

A: 477.70. And if I rode a straight line to Grand Junction and back, it would be about 450 miles.   

Q: How far did you get on your ride from home?

A: Wolcott. 

Q: Did you ever think of quitting”

A: Every morning when I woke up, I wanted to quit. It took a lot out of me to wake up every morning at 5:30am. It would have been so easy to just pretend to ride. No one would know. I can sneak in a donut and coffee and no one would know. Well. . . . the devil tempted me every day and I was able to say “get lost”.   

Q: Would you recommend this to anyone?

A: Yes. Definitely. Go out there and see what’s possible.

Q: Would you do it again yourself?

A: Definitely NOT. Are you crazy? 

Q: What have you learned?

A: That this was more mental than physical. I tell myself and my kids to always do their best and to do more than they think they are capable of doing. I apply it to my dentistry, to my bowling, to my ship building, to life. This was a test to see if I can actually do what I say. Up till now, I’ve never rode my bicycle for more than two days and never more than 69 miles. I didn’t reach Grand Junction but that was never my real goal. It was a test to see if I was going to quit along the way.   

Q: Any final comments?

A: Colorado really is beautiful. Some drivers are just insane, but they can be anywhere. I planned for this the past two years and trained for it on and off the past two years. I figured if I was not in shape, I would be in shape when I finished. And I would say I’m in better shape now than when I started two weeks ago. I’m definitely more tanned but it’s uneven so it looks ridiculous. And on that angel pin, the next time I see one, I’m buying 10 of them and I’m placing them all around me. That’s it for my log. I think I hear a cheeseburger with extra mayo calling me.

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