Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter Group Rides in Colorado - ahh the crazy fun!

What's the first thing you do before heading out on a group ride in Colorado in January? Check the weather! But based on the weather, do you decide if you should stay inside or ride? No! (well, I don't, can't speak for all of you).... You check the weather to see how many layers you must wear and if toe Hot Packs are needed or if plastic baggies will get you by.

Last weekend, I left my house and it was 13 degrees! Met up with Bill and Barry (pictured) and we rode up to Carter Lake, then up again to Pinewood topping out at around 6,600 feet (started at a little over 5,000 feet). 80 miles and 4 hours later I don't think my toes or fingers ever quite warmed up (and it was still sub-20 degrees) - both my insulated bottles w/ Accelerade froze!

Yesterday, the weather was 30 degrees warmer - close to 50F, the only problem was the wind! Check out my two power files (blue line is speed, yellow line is watts/power. both are roughly 20 minutes long) - the one on the left shows riding into the headwind (11.6 avg speed/236 avg watts/156 bpm) the one on the right shows riding with the tailwind (24.3 avg speed/207 avg watts/145 bpm). Given, I was still pushing rather hard with the tailwind, but the difference in speed is quite stunning.

You think, oh, what fun! Well... not when a 50 mph gust blows you (me) off the road, front wheels hits the sand, bars twist, back wheel summersaults over the front of the bike and I've got Goat Head Rash all up my left side. At least 2 of us where literally thrown from our bikes due to the wind... hmmm. maybe should have stayed inside! After the 'tornado', we booked it back down the road to Amante. Big cappacino's... now that's a 'group ride'!

Today was a whole nuther story - it was calm, warm and beautiful. Aside from the snow drifts in the gulleys, I seriously thought it was April! We had 20 or so people show up and split into an A and B group with the A group running a paceline for 15 or 20 miles. The B group probably just had more fun... Of course even a perfect day has to have some drama if you're on a group ride in the middle of the Colorado winter: 4 of us were pulled over by the Larimer County Sheriff for turning right (running) a stop sign. He basically said he was just practicing for summertime when there's thousands of us Boulderites running ragged through Larimer County.

So, this post ends with a moral, two actually:

1. Don't run stop signs (seriously folks, cyclists have no right to complain about cars if we're bending the rules of the road) and

2. When you look at the weather, make sure you know where the coffee shops are along the route.

- Jeremy

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Moonlight Snowshoe

Tuesday night. Brainard Lake Parking Lot. Full Moon. Light Snow. 20 +/- degrees. It was perfect Blue Sky weather for a snowshoe!

15 or 16 or maybe it was 17 (hope we didn't leave anyone!) Blue Sky'ers lit their headlamps around 8:30 pm and started trudging up the one of the forested trails. Jeremy & Suzanne's dogs had lit red collars and jingle bells and all four were running circles around the group. So there was no worry of running into bears or mountain lions! (I'd show you a picture of the dogs, but they all turned out looking like fireflys or fireworks buzzing around in the dark). Unfortunately, the dogs also scared away any possible sightings of Sasquatches.

Of course we started at the Pumphouse Brewery to get some good nourishment of the 'hops & wheat' variety before braving the outdoors.

Despite the fact that it looks cold, dark and snowy, snowshoeing with a bunch of people through the woods is a lot of fun ;)

Especially when there's lots of little pow wows... "what path are we on?" "anybody bring a compass" "anybody have a headlamp I can borrow? I didn't know it was going to be dark out here!" etc.

When we got to the actual Brainard Lake, it was amazing. The views were stupendous. Wait a minute, that was a different trip, the scenery wasn't actually that much different than it had been in the trees...

All joking aside, this snowshoe trip was awesome and if anyone cares about my recommendation, lets do it again! Thanks Rob and TJ for organizing!