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).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

MTCC Experience Ride (What an experience!)

It has been nearly a week since finishing the Mountain Top Cycling Club's Experience Ride.  This year my brother joined me for the ride which was great and made for a much more pleasant experience (Read his in-depth report here). The MTCC is a friendly little bike ride that takes place in and around the mountains of Florissant.   The 106 mile ride includes approximately 10,000 feet of elevation gain.  In fact, nearly all of the ride involves either climbing up a hill or flying down the other side.  According to Strava, there are three category 3 climbs, along with nine category 4 climbs.  In between there are numerous other little bumps to enjoy as well.  The challenge with this constant climbing and descending is that it makes it really difficult to settle into any kind of rhythm.  The legs get used to a certain amount of climbing, and while a nice downhill is great for recovery, it is usually very brief, and starting up the next hill can be incredibly difficult as the fatigue starts to develop in the legs.
A few hills make for a challenging ride
Maybe it was the lack of training rides in the mountains this year, but the ride was much more challenging for me this year (not that it was a picnic last year either).  In 2013, I had logged at least three rides of 50 miles or more in the mountains prior to trying this ride.   This year, I did manage a 96 mile ride from Pueblo to Parker, but did not find the opportunity to get into the hills for any riding prior to the event.  At any rate, I really hit a rough patch at about 60 miles in this year.  There is a stretch on the course that takes you up Highway 9 about 15 miles, and the last 10 miles or so just beat the living hell out of me.  There were a couple of points where I simply had to stop and take a breather for a minute or two before moving on.  The topper was when the guy below came by me as I was stopped on the side of the road.  I did notice that we had the same bike . . . his just had a little more stuff on his. . .
Just like my bike, but with more "stuff!"
Once we reached the hamlet of Guffey, I knew that I would finish the ride.  There's a very nasty little climb out of town that's a couple of miles long, but I willed myself to the top where my brother was kindly waiting!  From there we cruised the next twenty miles or so before returning to the start back in Florissant.  The ride took me about 8 hours and 20 minutes this year which is probably close to 45 minutes longer than in 2013.  The good news is that it wasn't a race (I don't believe there are even any "results" that get posted) so I can just take it as a "casual" bike ride.
The highlight of the day (other than finishing of course), is a stop at Paradox Brewery in Woodland Park on the return trip home.  This year I picked up three bottles to bring home.  One particularly interesting acquisition was the "Cerveza Provisional."  This was a farmhouse style ale aged in anejo tequila barrels with lime and other natural flavors added.  The result was a very unique tasting beer.  The lime was natural (think the opposite of a limearita or a BL lime) and didn't' make it overly tangy, but it had the nice zap one would expect of a sour beer but with an extraordinary tequila flavored finish.  Having lived for three years in Mexico, I can appreciate a quality tequila (by the way, good tequila is not Cuervo Gold, 1800, etc. and is meant to be sipped, not slammed down the gullet with a lime chaser).  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys trying something a little different when it comes to beer.
I don't know if I will return in 2015 for another go at this ride, given that there is an Ironman planned for the same summer.  I might consider doing the 50 mile ride which is still fairly challenging.  I will say that for the money, I doubt that there is a better Century Ride anywhere in Colorado.  In addition to be very affordable, it is well-organized, there is plenty of support, and the MTCC members seem to be some of the nicest folks around.  While I might take a pass on this one in 2015, I doubt that I've done my last MTCC ride.

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