Two things motivated this story. The first is a website sponsored by the Town of Vail called solepower.org (very cool). This should be a blogpost in itself, but as you can see if you visit the site, it’s a way to log miles walked or pedaled in lieu of driving. Check out the Team Leaderboard and you’ll see that the Antlers is kicking just about everyone’s butt, with the exception of our friends (ahem) over at the West Vail Liquor Mart. If you scroll the Solepower blog, you just might also see some smack talk between the two of us. It’s all good.
The second big driver was just the attraction of being one of the few people (to say the least) to ride a bike from Vail to Denver for a business meeting. Call me crazy … everyone does.
So Sunday afternoon at 2:00 (after walking 18 holes and shooting a million, by the way) I set out from home on my trusty Giant armed with rain gear, a couple fresh jerseys and a healthy supply of “vitamin i” in my backpack.
3:00 found me at the East Vail exit feeling great.
Shortly after passing our namesake signage on the way up, by 4:20 I was cresting Vail Pass and happy, happy, happy.
A mere thirty-five downhill minutes later it was hi and bye to Frisco.
Who knew that the bikepath across the Dillon Dam was painted bright pink … what’s that all about?
Forty-five minutes further up the road, I pedalled into Keystone. It was at this point that I started feeling less than 100%. When I realized that one of my original two water bottles was still half full, it dawned on me that I wasn’t drinking nearly enough and might be getting dehydrated. Duh. In retrospect, I was already well beyond what I could fix by simply drinking a bunch. In fact, although I didn’t know it yet, I was toast. More on that later.
After hanging at Keystone from 6:00 to about 6:30, eating power bars, drinking Gatorade, drinking Gatorade and eating power bars, I hit the road still foolish enough to think that Loveland Pass summit would be no sweat.
Notice that the sky is a bit dusky. Right. What should be an hour and change took me over two (with more than a couple catch-your-breath stops (piss me off). At that point I had been on the road for six and a half hours, it’s beyond “dusky” and I hadn’t pee’d once. Pardon me, but this isn’t good.
Nevertheless, the gratification of being at the top, combined with less than no alternatives of what to do next, made for an exciting (shall we say?) descent. Just me, my bike, my little headlight (thank you again, Evelyn) and an occasional eighteen wheeler. Yipee. By the time I rolled into Georgetown at 9:30 I was beyond pooped, and really, really happy to call it a day.
I posted a picture of my luxurious motel room on Facebook and quickly got a “Motel 3?” response from Boomer. I replied “two point five”. But who really cares?
I should back up and tell you that the destination for this (not ill advised, but poorly executed) adventure was a CACI Executive Committee meeting at the University Club, a block from the capitol building in Denver. Prior to being dim-witted enough to let myself dry out, I was sharp enough when I met with them the week before, to ask Darla and Eliza (our queens of PR) if they could deliver my suit to said destination. Brill, and thanks.
Day 2 -Rise and shine … 7:00, out the door, back on the steed and Ya-hoo … another 18 mile thrilling descent into Idaho Springs. And this time I can SEE WHERE I’M GOING! It just doesn’t get any better.
From there, it’s a not-too-tough climb up Floyd Hill. Now I’m no medic, but methinks that the dehydration screwed up my system beyond what guzzling water and one night’s fitfull sleep could fix. When it took me at least twice as long as it should have, to climb FH and everything else, I was sure of it.
Reminiscent of Loveland Pass, reaching the crest of the hill next to Lookout Mountain got me stoked, with those familiar great views both east and west.
Toasted or not, the E-ticket ride down Route 40 is a hoot. I confess to being a little preoccupied with the prospect of having to crawl back up that same path later in the day, but it was still really fun.
Once in Denver, I made my way east on Colfax (bad idea) and some side streets (slightly better) until I eventually reached my final
resting place destination.
It was 10:30 and I had time to shower (thanks U Club), change, and get ready for our meeting. I did my best to not let on that I felt somewhat like badly overcooked spaghetti, and seemingly got away with it, as the meeting went well and we adjourned just prior to 2:00 like usual.
When it came time to head out, I shared my adventure with Dan, Ann and Chuck, but predictably left out the part that I felt like hell and should have been ever so much smarter about drinking an ample amount of water along the way. They were each more impressed than was deserved and Dan even went so far as to email out my undertaking to the entire CACI board. Slightly embarrassing, but okay.
True to form, Ann took a picture.
Once changed back into my bike gear, I texted Evelyn that all was well (although my pants were on fire), telling her that the meeting went fine, but I didn’t feel great and was starting to question my ability to make it all the way home. I presumed that we would communicate more and ultimately make arrangements to meet in Idaho Springs or similar. You have to know that Ev was never too fond of the whole idea in the first place. A short time later I got a return text telling me that she was passing Frisco and “on her way”. At that point I had mixed emotions, part of me unhappy with her rush to judgment (and action), doubting my abilities altogether. The other half of me was completely of the attitude, “OH THANK GOD!”. By the time she picked me up just as I was about to begin the long ascent up to Lookout Mountain, the latter feeling had won out completely.
In sum, I think I can claim to be one of the few people to ever ride from Vail to Denver for a business meeting, but it does still leave me with one more goal for the future … down AND back. And I’ll be a LOT smarter about how much water I drink!