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


Jose said...

The cop's comments shed light on the fact that there is STILL a lot of friction between cyclists and the residents. It is worth it to try to be courteous while heading up there. Running a stop sign is like the only thing we can get busted for of all the 'annoying' things cyclists do...and maybe hanging the hog on the side of the road. For a driver to have to drive around a bunch of cyclists that are strung out from Hygiene all the way to Carter Lake can get frustrating. Then throw in large groups like the Bustop ride, then throw in a few looking for a fight and the source of friction for the driver becomes apparent. Not to say drivers and the residents are completely innocent in this. Some just have an outright disdain for cyclists and the 'Boulder County Freaks'. I think a more CONTSTRUCTIVE dialogue is still necessary with law enforcement, legislators, and residents when possible. If we don't try to squash this tension, someone will get hurt and maybe killed, like what happened up there a few years back. We can't just do a lot of 'yes, sir, no sir' stuff just to avoid confrontation. My 2cents

Jeremy Duerksen said...

You are absolutely right Jose. Call (this goes for anyone) the Larimer County PD and see if you can get on the task force that was being put together last year to constructively analyze the growing tension between cyclists and residents in Larimer County. That would be the time and place for dialogue. But when you're on the road, or stopped by an officer for breaking the law, any 'dialogue' will be taken as belligerant arguing I guarantee. And along that line of thought, when it comes to 'arguing' with cars/drivers - remember you're on a 20 lb bicycle! And we all represent not only cyclists, but Blue Sky Velo and our sponsors... so make 'em proud!

Jose said...

I have emailed the Sheriff of Larimer COunty directly to offer my services in trying to remedy this matter. That was the first thing I did when I got home

Isaac said...

Hey Jose

That's cool what you're doing. And I'll throw in a few thoughts: the only reason the cops are out there is because residents keep calling and complaining. Sometimes (like with Bustop) it might be warranted complaining, but there is also a fair amount of innate residential hostility. I know I've been flicked off and yelled at on those roads when I'm totally alone and riding to the right of the white line. When that happens to cyclists we probably should call *CSP just to even out the complaining, but like my 6th grade teacher would say, when you ask to get your test re-graded then EVERYTHING is under the microscope, so we've got to obey the traffic laws, even if no one is coming and it's a right turn from one shoulder to another.

Jose said...

Agreed Isaac. I hate to say it, but if they wanted to make the residents happy they should really start handing out tickets. I am seriously glad we didn't get one, when we totally deserved one. But if they hung out near the Roadhouse up by Carter, they could definitely make some cash and the residents would probably applaud. It's only fair though if they enforce the laws, but evenly involving cyclists and cars.

Anonymous said...

There's no stop sign's at hall ranch..