Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Monday, May 27, 2013

"Doubling Down!" Another Fabulous Colorado Weekend

Bighorn Sheep Canyon: photo courtesy of someone else who took this picture
The weeks of school have been long and arduous for what seems like the entire months of March, April, and May.   The weekends have been short, but full of fun times.  This weekend has been no exception.  We traveled close to 400 miles during the last three days, and slept somewhere different each night.  But that's just the way it is, when there are some many adventures waiting out the front door.
After a long day at work on Friday, I cut out of work as quick as possible and headed home.  We had a lovely family dinner down at the Nature Center at a place called the "Coyote Grill."  We first ate there about a year ago, and it's a great place to enjoy a meal.  In these warmer months, it's a very "open" restaurant with a nice outdoors feel.  It was actually so warm on Friday that we wound up dining just inside the doors.  When we returned home, I got a few things together for our quick trip to Buena Vista.  I also took a few minutes to get all of my biking essentials together so that I wouldn't have to scramble around in the morning.  I find that getting ready for a bike ride takes at least three times longer than going for a run, or even a swim.  So much gear, a bike to look over, etc.  But finally I was ready for bed with everything in place for the coming day.
The Route from Pueblo to Cotopaxi
 On Saturday morning, I woke up early and had a cup of coffee and read the news.  A little after 6:30, I set out the front door, rode down to highway 50, and headed west.  I would stay on this same road the rest of the day, and depending on what time Melisa decided to leave Pueblo, I would continue riding (well, maybe the occasional stop).  Best case scenario would be that I'd have enough time to ride to Salida which is about a 94 mile trip.  At least, I hoped I'd make it as far as Canon City.  As it turned out, I didn't have quite enough time to reach Salida, but I did make it quite a ways, definitely a longer ride for me.
  The toughest part of the ride was just outside of Canon City.  There's a climb of about 6 miles up to the top of the Royal Gorge.  This little stretch took a good 45 minutes or so.  When I reached the top, I was a touch over 3 hours and so I stopped for about 5-10 minutes at a roadside RV "resort" where I downed a Sprite and refilled my Water bottle.  For the next couple of miles I had a screaming descent down into the Big Horn Sheep Canyon.  In all honesty, it was really steep.  I didn't let myself ride too far above 30 mph on the way down because I was unfamiliar with the road and the conditions.  However, it was nice to have some downhill after that climb as it gave me a little chance to rest before starting a more gradual climb up the canyon towards Salida and Buena Vista.
The full ride had a total elevation gain of about 3700 feet, but the trek up the canyon was fairly steady.  I just pressed forward making the best time that I could and taking advantage of a few rollers to pick up the pace here and there.  A few minutes after noon, I took a ten minute break at a scenic area to get some nutrition, and to rest a little.  The day was starting to heat up, and the mild headwind from the morning was starting to include a brief gust every now and then.  Nothing channels wind like canyon walls.  But it was a beautiful ride!  On my right was the Arkansas River which was running quite high.  This made the white water rafters quite happy and I must have seen about thirty boats in the river that morning, coordinating their shouts in unison with the effort they were making against the current.  Like I said, the canyon is not steep but it is narrow, and the walls rise straight up beside the highway, on the left hand side if you're going up.  For parts of the ride, I could only see the direction of the road a few hundred yards ahead as it snaked along next to the river.  Other times I would crest a small roller and a longer stretch of the road would be revealed.  It never ran in a straight line, but bent forward, and slightly upward towards the Canyon's end.  Occasionally above the cliffs, a gap would open up just enough to see the Collegiate Peaks peeking down from above.  At 1:00, after another hour of riding, I was 66 miles into the ride.  The back of my entire left leg was sore, and even though I knew I was only about 4 miles from Cotopaxi, I stopped for a minute or two to stretch.  Revived, I was back on the bike and rolling up to a small cafe right next to the highway. Time for Lunch!
Elevation: Approximately 3700 feet of gain
Checking out the gear at the BV whitewater festival
  I sat outside under an umbrella, eating my Turkey Sandwich (well, more like inhaling it!) and watching the road in case Melisa happened along.  Our original plan was that she would call me when she left Pueblo, and that I would check in with her to let her know where I was at, and where I expected to be on the route so that she would no where to look for me.  Unfortunately, it hadn't dawned on either of us that there is no cell reception in the canyon, so the only way I was going to get picked up, was if she saw me riding on the side of the road.  I went back in the cafe and quickly paid my bill, and got back out on the road.  And not a moment too soon.  Within about 5 minutes of riding, I heard the happy chirp of the Element's horn behind me.  Melisa slid over onto a turnout in the road and I pedaled the last few feet up to the car.  Total ride was 71.1 miles.  After loading the bike on back, it was on to Buena Vista and the Mount Princeton Hot Springs.  Our third trip in about two months.  I won't go into too much detail about the trip, but let's just say it involved a whitewater festival in town, pizza and beer at the brewery, and soaking in the hot springs until about 11:00.  By the time we got back to our cabin, I was ready for bed.  I would have slept like a baby too, except for the hangover that was developing.  It had been a long, but enjoyable day.  The fun continued the next morning with breakfast, followed by one more dip in the springs before heading back to Pueblo.
Waiting to start the race!
 After a couple of hours at home on Sunday, we were back in the car and headed up to Parker where we would spend the night at my brother's house before the Bolder Boulder on Monday morning.  This year was going to be a special race as our daughter Maya was getting ready to run her first 10k.  Early on Monday Morning, we awoke and had a quick drive north to the CU campus and Folsom Stadium, finish line for the race.  It was a beautiful day and rather warm in fact.   We parked the car and headed for the starting line about a mile away.
Ready to Run!
  By the time we joined our starting wave, the sun had started to beat down on us pretty good. Bu, what a great race and tradition this is!  I have done this race just about every year since I was in 9th grade and I'm currently on an uninterrupted 16 year streak.   It's such a great way to spend Memorial Day, and I can't think of anything else I'd rather do on that day.  There were around 55,000 participants this year, and there's always something to see along the way.  Maya especially enjoyed all of the sprinklers, hoses, etc. as we ran.  By the time we got to the finish line, she was a soaking wet mess.  This year marked my 25th running of the race.  Not one of my faster Bolder Boulder's, but certainly one of the more memorable.  We had planned to meet some friends for lunch but by the time we got into the stadium and sat down, the women's elite race had started.  It's been many years since we've been in the stadium for the elite race, so we decided to stick around.  After about 20 minutes, the women's leader entered the stadium to the sound of thousands of cheering athletes.  Just a half a minute later, Deena Kastor, the first American woman, came racing to the finish line and the place went absolutely crazy.  The men's elite racers finished a short while later.  It is amazing how fast they move during those races and it always looks so effortless.  We wound up staying for all of the Memorial Day celebration as well including the parachutists who land just inside the stadium.  Truly amazing.

Congratulations Maya!
Afterward, we stopped by the expo to look around.  It was shut down for the most part, but we got to add a small square to a giant patchwork quilt they are making for the Boston Marathon next year.  They plan on doing this at several races over the next 12 months.  A really cool idea and a great way to honor our fellow runners!
Maya's Picture for Boston!
 So finally after another 120 miles of driving, we finally made it home again.  A whirlwind Colorado weekend to be sure.  As for next week, we don't have a lot of plans yet.  And to tell you the truth, I kinda hope it stays that way!

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