Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cycling and Boulder

We can all do more than we think we can. Today my ruminations will be about hiking, cycling, Boulder and me. We arrived in the Boulder area on Monday night after a long day of driving. Boulder is a thriving community-hip and upscale in many ways but down to earth in others. We did our first hike on Tuesday. A hike that was billed as “moderate” up to the lovely Flatirons in Chautauqua Trail system to the Royal Arch. We new as we started that there was an elevation increase of over 1200 feet, so for us, both non-mountain hikers, this was a stretch. The trail proved to be arduous at times as we scrambled over rocks and walk up rock steps to get to the top. We both thought about turning back, not because of the difficulty of the trail, but more in consideration of our aging knees. Especially me thinking about my 67-mile ride coming up. But we persevered. We are not quitters and carried on to the top. Here are a few pictures of the trail on the way up.

The Royal Arch
All smiles now after reaching the top!

The view!

I was sore the next day, as would be expected, but overall just fine. I am glad we did it and really glad we did that hike with still several days more to go (and recover) until the Venus. 
Today we visited Rocky Mountain National Park and the town of Estes Park. First the landmark Stanley Hotel.  

RMNP is spectacular as the following photos a test:

Speaking of the Venus de Miles, I am becoming familiar with the route. Twice I biked portions of it. When they describe my route as a “calf-cramping 67-mile ride,” I know they are not kidding. There is one section through a mountain canyon that ascends more than 1500 feet in 8 miles. This will be the toughest part of the route, but it is not the only climb: there are two others! Here are a few pictures of one of the routes along another canyon (not the highest assent) and some of the lovely scenery that I will ride through. 

My confidence is definitely shaken a bit after viewing the route in person. But, I think that is a normal response. It is an endurance challenge after all. I am allowing myself three days off from biking to just rest and recover. Come Sunday, I will be ready. I know, too, starting out on this ride will be emotional for me because it was already on my first training ride in the Boulder area on Tuesday. I have come along way in my pursuit of health and fitness. A mere two years ago I could not have imagined that I would ride a 67 miler on a bike and up and down hills and mountains. I am doing it. I will do it. But, it is still hard to fathom that I am. Doing. It. I can do more than I think I can!