I don't figure to get a ton of physical benefit from the training that I'm doing in CO. I think any acclimatization to the altitude that occurs will be lost by the time I get back to CO during the race. Plus I'm a little tired from the Iowa ride and probably need some time to recover physically. But the long climbs are something I haven't gotten much of in the last 7 or so years since I moved from CO to Alaska, and mentally I think there will be a lot of benefit to doing this riding. And living at about 450 feet above sea level I know the 10,000+ ft passes are going to hurt and I want to feel that burning now so I don't freak during the race.
But I've already decided to shorten my trip up by three days and am taking a couple days off in between the harder rides I'm doing.
I got back to CO on Thursday (5/10). Spent all day friday getting things ready in the van, putting a roof rack on it, shopping for some of the supplies I need, etc.
Friday night Tim and I did an easy 1.5 hour ride over the Horsetooth dams. It was a really nice and scenic ride. Probably one of the better 1.5 hour rides anybody has from their front door. Had I not spent a big chunk of the day trying to drive around Ft Collins in ridiculous traffic and getting in peoples way at the Mega-low-Mart I would have probably been thinking "man, we should move to ft collins."
On saturday Roslyn and I rode from Ft Collins to Carter Lake to meet my Friend Kraig and his friend Scott. Kraig is an uber-athlete and loves to climb and we were planning on going up into the mountains a bit. It was a lot further from Tim & Ros' to Carter Lake than we thought so we were a bit late getting there. But Kraig & Scott found us pretty quickly. From Carter we went up to Pinewood Reservoir. Which was really pretty, but not much as reservoirs go. Then came back down to HWY 34 and went up the Big Thompson Canyon, which is easily the flattest canyon ride around here. At Drake we turned off HWY 34 and went up through Glen Haven. This is a little steeper and features two pairs of the tightest switchbacks around during a 1 mile 12 to 14% section. It tops out at nearly 8000 ft just above Estes Park.
Kraig and I had talked about going longer, but my legs were really not feeling good and we had a good ways to get back to Ft Collins, so Ros and I went down HWY 34 and Kraig and Scott went out the Peak-to-Peak HWY to take Lefthand Canyon home.
Ros and I fought a headwind all the way down Big Thompson. I think I decided I don't like that canyon much. I don't mind working hard going up a canyon, but working hard to go down is ridiculous...
After a little drama involving me thinking I'd lost my credit card (only to find it in my wallet back at the house) we got home. The ride was 6.75 hours, 110 miles, and had 7000 feet of climbing. I felt pretty bad for almost all of it. Probably partly from having tired legs and partly from the elevation.