Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taking The Bite....

...out of my piriformis muscle, or as I feel I've aptly named it the praying mantis.  It's been a chronic inflammation that literally has been a pain in my ass.  It's taken a bite out of many of my rides and races for years and like the praying mantis, it's camouflaged and hides under more muscle, nibbling away at my body and mind.  Thus far, it seems that I've finally discovered the correct physical therapy, stretching and Hot Yoga (!), and especially core exercises.  I've been thrilled that the praying mantis hasn't been rearing its head and allowing me to find a home in the big ring for the first time.  It also feels like it's slingshot my training and headspace evidenced by yesterday's spectacular ride!

Between Ward and Nederland, happiness and elation.

Starting at the Centennial Park Trailhead in Boulder, I climbed Sunshine Canyon, descended Poorman onto Four Mile Canyon, then Boulder Canyon to Nederland's stellar Buffalo Bill's coffee shop.  It's a caboose turned coffee shop serving great espresso and warm welcomes.  What I love about Colorado is that there's so many that share the same outdoor interests like those that I met at the end of the caboose.  After regrouping from sub 20 degree temps and 30 mph winds in the face, I felt much better and headed out to climb Peak to Peak to Gold Hill to descend Sawmill (quite the descent!) and then Four Mile Canyon to set myself up for the notorious and killer climb of Lickskillet that I kept hearing about.  Possibly the steepest climb I've ever suffered through, along with the 12 Hours of Snowmass's brutal initial and only climb.  So steep that I don't remember using my granny gear for several weeks until then.  It's the kind of climb where if you're not going forward, you're going backward.  I then climbed Gold Hill, descended Peak to Peak and back for another double shot of espresso at Buffalo Bill's and more conversation with the good fella in the back of the caboose.  I then somehow had better climbing legs after this visit (about 5 hours in) than I had earlier.  I then climbed out of Nederland with an uncourteous wheels sucker that I unknowingly towed up the climb until realizing he was wheelsucking on his rode bike and me on my mountain bike.  I nearly turned left into him not knowing he was there!  I then descended Magnolia to Boulder Canyon to Four Mile, climbed the last climb (unrecorded by imapmyride.com since my cell phone died trying to keep up) of Poorman then descended Sunshine Canyon back to the trailhead.  I was uber excited about my results since my chronic issues didn't rear their heads even with a 15 lb. pack on and still plenty of climbing and miles left in my legs but no more sunlight to lead the way.  I can't wait to head down with Brett Ebben to Dawn 'til Dusk, come April!

The day's cockpit.
Gold Hill

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Canyon Fires

Without debate, it's been ultra cold and much worse, windy.  Some cycling and snowshoeing days have been feeling like this....

....but with plenty of motivation and inspiration, I've still managed lots of this...

This photo is special to me since it signifies gratitude for what I have instead of what I want. This photo was taken high up on Sunshine Canyon Road which I was finally able to see for myself.  I squeezed in 7000+ feet of climbing on a 5 hour ride prior to work and couldn't have spent my morning a better way.  The destruction that was caused last fall due to the canyon fires was unexpectedly moving.  The damage incurred in the area was visible everywhere I looked and even if you closed your eyes, the carbon smell was so prominent that you could sense the grief, suffered by many, in the air.  I did manage to shed a few tears despite pushing a subthreshold heart rate which added thoughts to an already busy mind.  I finished this ride knowing I'll return shortly to be grounded and to remind my climbing legs to wake up and smell the coffee instead of the roses.

See you on the trails,