Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ride, Rant, and Reminisce

The other day I went on a road bike ride up Lookout Mountain road to the Buffalo Bill memorial. It was a great ride. The road skirts along Mt. Zion for a while, passes under the Mines "M" and then goes over to Lookout Mountain. Golden is still brown, so the views toward the city weren't spectacular, but it was still a very pretty ride. There are a few sections where you're riding along a cliff with rocks outcropping. Once you get past the first switchback section, you realize that Mt. Zion is actually a very pretty mountain on the north side. The east side is lame. It's just a hill with an M on it, but the north side has lots of huge beautiful rocks. See this photo album for evidence of the north face's beauty. There are several sections along the road where you can see the rock layers that have been formed over the years. It seemed like the majority of the rock I saw was granite gneiss, so it was lots of pink and dark gray stripes.

I realized that I'm a wimp when it comes to going fast down a windy road on a road bike. Going uphill I was passed only once by a guy riding a $5,000 carbon fiber Cervelo bike, so I wasn't ashamed since his bike probably weighed half the weight of my steel Surly. But going downhill I was passed by three guys. I was ashamed, so I tried to keep up with the third guy for the rest of the way down. I started coming up with excuses as to why I was going slower. "Those guys have less tread on their tires. They probably have better brakes than my cantilevers. They've been in a tuck position and I've been sitting upright." When it comes down to it, I'm just not confident on a road bike when it comes to going fast on a windy road.

There were several road bikers out. I've never thought very highly of the typical road biker. They never smile (which is saying something coming from me). They have ridiculously light bikes that look like they'd split in half if they crashed. They all dress the same: 80 dollar jerseys, Lycra shorts, stupid shoes that are worthless for walking, high tech socks and a helmet they bought for $200. You never ever see a road biker with a backpack of any kind. They always have energy gels and patch kits crammed into their backside shirt pockets. They've never once ridden a bike for the sake of transportation. Their saddles are rock hard, which probably explains why their personalities are stone cold. Anyways, I saw a lot of these people on my ride and remembered that I don't want to be like them.

I also saw some mountain bikers. One was just cruising down the paved road and I shook my head at him for passing up on the opportunity to ride the most fun part of Chimney Gulch trail. Though I couldn't help but be jealous of all the mountain bikers I saw on the trail that cuts across the road a couple times. Mountain biking is wonderful and I miss it. I miss churning away on the uphills and pushing through the rocky sections to see how far I could get. I miss speeding along the smooth single track and hopping off the woop-dee-doos. I even miss that feeling you get when you realize you're going too fast to make the upcoming turn and you just know you're going to crash into the bushes. But alas, I have no mountain bike.

There are three weeks and 4 days until I leave for my bike ride. There's no clear-cut point of no return, but I'm getting pretty close to where it would be if there was one. I bought my ticket to Bellingham. I leave at 9:40PM on Saturday, May 22. I was stressing out about getting someone to take me to the airport early Sunday morning, so I just decided I would bite the bullet and sleep in the Seattle airport so I could leave Denver at a decent time and still have a moderately early start in Bellingham. I'm getting nervous, but I can't wait.

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