You’re going to ride how far?
When I first mentioned to my (ever-loving) wife that I wanted to do Ride the Rockies – weeks after we moved to Fort Collins, CO – her first response is, “You’re nuts.” In her defense, she was correct. I hadn’t really ridden since the previous summer as I spent all of my free time finishing the construction on our basement before we put the house on the market and moved. Then there was the packing the house up while she moved out to CO to get us set up and start her job. My first real road ride in Fort Collins was a 25 mile loop up around Horsetooth. It sucked.
I had a beer gut from my weeks of packing up the house, eating out nearly every night and well, enjoying the breweries of Asheville. I was out of shape, my legs were weak and my beard was unruly.
As soon as I pulled into town on that cold, blustery January evening – and my wife looked down at my gut and smirked – I was ready to get back into shape. I had been researching rides, routes and cargo bikes. I had several pairs of long underwear. I was going to get back to my winter roots (I was born and raised in the cold climate of Michigan)!
Once I braved the first cold route on my own, I knew I could log in the necessary miles if I got into Ride The Rockies. Getting the kids to agree to let me use them for a little resistance training during those colder days was a bit harder, but luckily, they are young and adventurous.
Here I am
Now, a few months down the road, a cargo bike to haul the kids in the garage and some reasonably agreeable weather, and here I am, lighter, slimmer and in better shape than I probably have ever been. I have been called compulsive, maniacal, crazy, a glutton (for punishment) and a masochist.
I have gone from pretty good form to lousy, and now to peak form. I have filled our garage with bikes for the whole family (and several extras for myself and various riding moods, like the mid-70s Fuji fixed gear I am building up). I average 30+ miles a day (in May) and have logged in nearly 2000 miles in three months. I have increased my average speed by over 5mph in that time. I have gone from not being sure I could climb the really big mountains of the Front Range without being overly winded from the altitude to tackling the Peaks to Peak Highway and knowing I can handle – however slowly – any mountain thrown in my way.
In short, if nothing else, the training alone for Ride The Rockies has been more than worth it for me. If it came down to it and for some reason I couldn’t ride from Telluride to Colorado Springs, if the roads just disappeared, I’d still be able to say I’ve enjoyed the journey thus far.
But I know there is more to come in the next few weeks to make it all even more worth while, and I will be there with bells on.