With my first century two weeks away, it was high time for a nice long ride. I’ve been riding a lot in the 30-45mi range, but I needed something a bit more challenging. The trek down to Chatfield State Park is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and my best guess was that it was about 65 miles round-trip from our house…looks like that was a pretty good guess.
We hit the trails around 8:00am, which is one of my favorite times to be out riding. You catch the early morning folks that are not only courteous when passing, but also greet you with a warm smile and a “good morning”. Later in the day you’re lucky to get a stern “LEFT” before someone whizzes by you. I’m not sure when exactly the shift happens, but I wish these “serious” cyclists would set a better example — because, really, you may think you’re all hot shit, but you’re not above common courtesy..stop being a dick.
What was I saying again? Oh yes, bike fun time.
The South Platte River Trail can get a little crowded once you get south of Alameda and all the branches from the ‘burbs start converging together, but once we made it down to Chatfield the pack really thins. We found out why. There are steep hills heading west into the park — first time I’ve had to come down off the big ring in a while. Shows you how much actual climbing I do.
While I was spinning away I got passed by a dude on a mountain bike. Granted he had a Triple Bypass jersey on, but still, that stung a little. Next time I’ll do better.
Once inside the park you can either wind around by road, or choose as we did to ride the inconsistent and incomplete bike/pedestrian trail. Not the worst thing I’ve ridden, but not entirely sure I’d want to go that route again. Although stumbling across this random cabin may make up for the bit where we had to hike our bikes up the scary, rocky hill. Well that and the stunning lakeside view where we had lunch.
Refueled, we looped around the east side of the lake and back up to the trail. Maybe one of the roughest rides I’ve had to do on a roadie. My hands were sore for the remainder of the ride from the death grip I had on my handlebars. Thankfully we found smooth ground again to get us out of the park.
The headwind we had all the way home was both a blessing and a curse. It sure didn’t help the legs, but boy did it feel great and keep us cool. Wind or no wind, those last few miles home are never easy. So close yet so far. Almost out of water. Another fucking hill. But all was well. 65 miles later there was lemonade…and hamburgers…and hot dogs. It was a good day for team Yarbrough.