Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Training Rides Will be the Death of Me

As the day of reckoning closes in on me, I've done my best to get in as many training rides as I can for Venus de Miles. On the most recent ride, I decided that I should find the nearest, uphill ride I could complete in about 2 hours. Locals often take off up Nelson Road, so I figured it was worth a try. Before I had started, I was well advised and versed in the stories of this road. Sam has even moaned more than once about the "false flats" and even "false downhills" on that road. Many times I've taken Nelson to 75th and travelled north into what is known as Hygiene, but never have I actually taken the bike to the edge of the mountains at Foothills Hwy. Little did I know what awaited me.
*Image from Google
Though difficult to see here, the "A" marks an approximate half way point from Hover to Foothills Highway
I decided to leave from kickboxing and head out. By the time I actually reached Nelson Road, I was already feeling the exhaustion (this is what happens when one goes to a class and then decides to go for a "training ride"). I could feel myself slowing down, but I expected this to take place because although the road looks flat, it is definitely uphill when heading west.  I shifted and let myself spin (something I rarely do). I'm trying to save my knees which haven't been doing great the last few weeks, so I figured I was in no hurry and would just take it as it came to me. As I looked ahead, I could see a nice downhill area coming. I was excited that I wouldn't be climbing for a bit, and couldn't help but think, "What are all these people talking about?"

As if experiencing some kind of karmic joke for even thinking such a thought, my pedaling slowed even more. I seriously thought that perhaps I had a flat, and kept trying to check out the rear tire while continuing to move forward. Everything looked fine though, so I just kept pedaling. "Ahh, this must be the false downhill everyone talks about," I thought to myself. I continued on... pedaling... pedaling... slower pedaling... and even slower pedaling. "It must level out at some point," I muttered to myself, but the uphill just kept coming.
Stopping so as to not kill myself. As you can see, there was still more climbing to do.
Finally, I had to stop. My hands were killing me and I was thirsty, so I pulled over and just stood in the heat. I debated whether or not to just turn around and head home, but I felt as though I just had to get to the end of this, if for no other reason than to experience it for myself.
Despite the skies looking foggy, this is actually smoke that has arrived from fires in Idaho and Montana.
Looking east at the climb to my stopping point... for the record the part that looks like it's down hill, really isn't.
As I got back on the bike and started pedaling, I wondered why I was doing this to myself, but still I kept going. Other cyclists came whizzing past me. In those moments, I understood the benefits of a 15 pound, carbon road bike, certainly. Here I was, climbing up the hills at about 5-8 mph on my approximately 40 pound steel bike (with all my stuff in the saddle bag). I'm sure I looked ridiculous to them, but I figure to each his/her own. Everyone was cordial and polite, so perhaps they just thought I was lost... or they thought I was an absolute moron.

As I continued to ride, I couldn't help but wonder when it would end. Finally, I just couldn't see the highway getting any closer, and decided that I needed to turn around and head back so that I could actually get work done. I was a bit bummed because I wanted to experience the entire length of the road (and I regretted it even more when I got home and realized I was about 3/4 of a mile from the end of Nelson). The downhill back was A-MA-ZING! I rolled down at about 35 mph, and actually scared myself a bit at how fast I was travelling.

All in all, the rides are coming along, but I have to admit that I wish I had more time to train. Every time I complete a ride, I realize that I should've started this much earlier. I am doing my best with the time I have though, and hopefully that will be enough. I only have a few more rides to get in before the big day, but I remain hopeful that I can finish when the time arrives. Anyone else preparing for an organized ride/race in the near future? How do you prepare?


  1. Keep it up! Training rides are great because they make you focus a bit more. Don't forget to keep them fun, and make sure all your rides aren't "training," even though they all are.

    1. Thanks, Chris. The rides definitely aren't all for training purposes as I tend to ride more for transportation than anything else, but it's definitely a good reminder to keep things fun so I don't end up hating this. :O)

  2. I can't tell you how many times I have trolled up Nelson, thinking "it's not that far, and it looks like a downhill". As we discussed, it's 8-9 miles on that stretch(8.7 from Sunset and Nelson), so about 9 miles of gradual uphill, spinning! Great for training of any sort, but it beats up your mind, you can't see the end!

    1. Yeah, not being able to see the end is a little trying on the mental state, but I will definitely give it a go again one of these days soon.

  3. Eastbound Nelson from US-36 to 75th is often called the best (mostly) straightaway in Boulder County. Double the fun when the usual westerly wind is at your back!

    1. Now I'll have to try it again when the wind is blowing at my back. :O)


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