Monday, August 28, 2006

Quads of Goo: 2006 Horsetooth Double Dip

Howard, being the self-employed slacker that he is, slept in this morning until 10 a.m. But he had just cause: He rode the 73-mile route of the Horsetooth Double Dip Bicycle Challenge on Sunday, and then finished off his century with 28 more miles of riding with his best girl.

The pain when trying to climb the 16% and 18% cliffs was unbearable and just plain awful. Howard climbed the steepest hills he's ever climbed yesterday on the Stove Prairie portion of the route, yet he lived to tell the tale. And for what it's worth, Howard was the first one to finish the 73-mile route.

The ride started at 7 a.m. Howard finished the ride at noon with a bit more than a half-hour of breaks in-between. Probably because the aid stations were generously stocked with Clif Bars and various energy goos, most of the other riders were taking very long breaks at the aid stations. But Howard's learned to limit his breaks to maybe five minutes each time otherwise his old-guy muscles will cramp up.

Total ride time on the bike was about 4 1/2 hours. That worked out to an average 16.6 mph.

The supportive and always mezmerizing Mrs. Howard drove the route with the car, and she met Howard at four stops along the way to offer encouragement, and a place to sit and guzzle PowerAide as a supplement to the four aid stations. Howard got back to town so fast that they hadn't even set up the buffet at the starting/finish line, CB & Potts Restaurant, yet. So he went home and showered, then came back with the wife and ate free pizza. Even when satiated with pizza, only about a half-dozen people had gotten back from the 107-mile route by then. There were about 30 people who did the 107-mile route, but only about 15 did the 73-miler.

There was a lot of suffering on the roads yesterday and Howard experienced his share of it.

The highlight of the ride was a thunderous downpour for about 15 minutes along Glade Road, heading south towards Loveland. Howard's touring bike has 32mm tires, rather than the skinny 23's that most road bikes have. So he was like an SUV in treacherous weather -- overconfident. He got good and soaked too, and had a wonderful time.

After getting home from free pizza, The Howards went for a 90-minute ride to a neighboring town and back to "get a century" -- riding 100 miles in one day. To celebrate the long day's achievements, husband, wife, and youngest son went to Red Robin and had a great greasy dinner with big chocolate malts.

Howard now realizes why he's not such a good climber: He's still about 15 pounds overweight when compared to uber-skinny uber-serious cyclists. Plus, his Fuji Touring Bike, with pack on the back rack, also adds another 15 pounds when compared to sleek and expensive road bikes. Those extra 30 pounds make life tough on Howard's quads and calves on the steep inclines.

Next up? The 100-mile ride of the Buffalo Bicycle Classic on September 10th, which begins and ends in Boulder. This time, Mrs. Howard is riding along and it will be her first century.


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