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).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"North" Colorado

This weekend we are up visiting my parents in "North Colorado."  Sometimes being up here feels like being in a whole different state compared to Pueblo (HA!).  With the MTCC Experience Ride just a couple of weeks away, I brought my bike along to get an early morning ride done.  I wanted to get some time up in the mountains again, since I haven't done a ride with that kind of challenge for a couple of weeks.   A look at the elevation profile for the upcoming MTCC ride indicates a fairly challenging course.  I hope that I haven't bitten off more than I can chew, although I will be surprised if the ride is more difficult than the ultra I did last month. Since this is my first century ride I plan on taking my time, and not hesitating to take a break here and there.
Elevation Map for MTCC
This morning, I left the house a few minutes before six and drove west over to Loveland.  After parking the car, I pointed my front wheel towards the mountains and began riding.  The route up the Big Thompson Canyon is fairly tame.  There are a few steep portions, but nothing unmanageable at all.  I hadn't really realized that the distance between Loveland and Estes Park was so short, but it really isn't more than about 25 miles each way. It was a pleasant ride this morning with no wind and cool temperatures.
The ride up and down from Estes
 As a kid I spent some time in this canyon, and a trip to Estes Park was an annual event.  The Canyon is probably most famous for the horrendous flood that occurred on the evening of July 31st, 1976.  After heavy rains, a wall of water came roaring down the canyon destroying everything in its path.  More than 140 people were killed in the flood and it remains the worst natural disaster ever to hit Colorado.  I was only about 5 years old at the time, but I can remember listening to my dad's ham radio in the basement of our home (the ham radio operators in the area were utilized to provide communications support for the emergency efforts).  Within the canyon walls, there's little trace of the damage now aside from a few memorials placed along the highway.   Still, as you ride up the canyon, it's hard not to think about the flood and the impact that it had.
The Flood quickly devastated the canyon. 
As I ride, I manage a steady pace.  Nothing too fast, but nothing too slow, either.  I do my best to attack the steeper parts, and apart from a moment here and there where my energy wanes, I feel good for the majority of the ride.  And then, before I know it, I crest a hill and after a short descent, the city limit sign of Estes Park comes into view.  I've made it.  My initial urge is to ride all the way into town and go to the saltwater taffy store or maybe grab a slice of pizza.  However, the reality is that it's only about 8:30 in the morning, and it will probably be another couple of hours before the stores open.  What's more, I have my family waiting for me at home, so it's time to turn around and head back down the canyon.  Prior to leaving, I snap a couple of pictures on the edge of town.  One of the great things about living in Colorado is the spectacular scenery that the Rockies provide.  I am very blessed to live in this part of the world.
The view from Estes Park
The ride back down to Loveland is uneventful and takes about half of the time that the ride up did.   As I head back down, it looks like the majority of cyclists are starting on their way up.  I pause a  couple of times on the ride down to enjoy the scenery, and it strikes me as I'm riding that summertime has truly arrived!

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