Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rainy Ride

I elected not to ride yesterday and instead spend time with my family.  My mother is visiting for a few weeks, and I am busier than ever with just the usual stuff.  It was also incredibly hot yesterday, the last day of a lengthy heat wave that the western U.S. is experiencing right now.

So this morning's bike ride, with a smattering of big fat raindrops and cloudy skies, was quite pleasant.  I was out early, about 7 a.m., so I was pretty much alone on the trail.  I would pass an occasional cyclist, or one might pass me.  I like those early rides.  It is full of birds and the occasional deer, and plenty of space for me to wibble-wobble all over the trail.

I say good morning or hello to everyone I meet on the trail.  I have learned to pick out the ones that will not say hello back.  Those are the "serious" bikers - those with the fancy expensive lycra clothes, and the deep tans from hours of biking in the sun.  Older men always respond to my hellos, or say hello first.  But younger men almost always ignore me.  And virtually all women ignore me.  I may just be a fat chick on a bike, and I may not be wearing any lycra, but I'm out there exercising too, working out too.  It would be nice if a few of them would bother to nod or smile or return a hello.  I live in a friendly town, but I sure can't say that the bikers I encounter are friendly.  Grumpy butts, most of them. 

Oh well.  I'm still out there.  Still enjoying it.  Still keeping myself in as best a shape as I can.  Round is a shape, right?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yampa River Core Trail, Steamboat Springs

Yesterday's bike adventure brought me the experience of being stopped in my tracks by a big green frog.  Sitting, he was bigger than my hand.  When he decided he didn't want to be run over, he jumped away, and from nose to tip of toes, he was easily a foot long.  I've been challenged by geese, squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, and all types of birds, but never a frog.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Thursday I put my suitcase in the trunk, strapped the bike to the rack, and headed uphill to Steamboat Springs.  I was going for a work-related meeting, but because of the long drive (almost 4 hours) I went up the day before.  My intention was to drop my bags, change my clothes, and ride my bike.

Steamboat Springs is at 7,200 feet above sea level, and I immediately noticed I was having mild trouble breathing.  Not that that was going to stop me. There was a bike shop next to the hotel, and I went over to get a map of bike trails in the area.  Despite my regular biking and pushing my limits, I know I'm not ready for mountain biking, so I asked about a trail that was relatively flat, and paved.  Steamboat is in the Yampa River Valley, and the town has built a paved bike path that goes about 8 miles round trip along that river.

The difference between it and the St. Vrain Greenway trail that I usually ride (which runs alongside the St. Vrain River in my town) was that the trail was a bit more winding, and definitely had more hills and valleys.  There were a few hills I was afraid I couldn't make it up, but I did it, even if it was in 2nd gear.  The worst were the underpasses that went under roads; these were usually narrow, had a sharp turn, and when you got out of the sharp turn, you had a steep uphill to get back up.  The sharp turns made me slow down, which didn't give me any head start on speed for getting up those sharp inclines.

My knees creaked, I groaned, but I made it up every single one.  I doubled back to try to get an extra mile onto my ride.  I ended up with 9 miles, 9 hard miles.  It was completely worth it.  And what a view!  The river was relatively full, and rushing over the rocks.  The trail also went past the Botanic Garden, which had a musical event going on.  So I got a serenade as I went by.

I hope I get to try some other trails around Colorado as time goes on.  I will not do street/road riding at this point. There are too many accidents between cars and bicycles to be comfortable doing that, unfortunately.  But I think it's time for me to look closer at some nearby trails, and expand my horizons a bit.  I am not bored with the greenway, but my experience means that ride is getting easier for me, and I need to keep myself and my body challenged.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I See Ponies!

I didn't bike the last two days because of wind.  I'm not very aerodynamic to begin with, but throw some wind at me, and biking is just impossible.  I had hoped it would be okay early in the morning each day, but it just wasn't.  On Friday I opted to go up in the mountains to look at the snow instead.  The wind was even worse up there, but since I wasn't trying to bike in it, it was fine!

So today I rode 13 miles instead of my usual 10, to try to make up for some of the lost miles.  I just turned in my miles and hours for May.  I had 16 bike rides in May, for more than 9 hours of riding, and a total of 89 miles.  I burned over 12,500 calories.

Today was 13 miles in a bit over an hour, and I burned over 1700 calories.  You would think this would be helping me lose weight, but it isn't.  I'm still stuck at 320.4 pounds.  I may be putting on muscle, or not, but I am not changing in size.  My clothes still fit the same.  I have more stamina, can climb stairs easier, and generally feel better, and in the end, that was my goal.

Today, there were horses in a field where there are normally only prairie dogs.  They weren't there when I went by, but they were there when I rode back by on my loop.