What Have I Done??

I know everybody at one time or another in their lives makes a statement about something epic they are going to do and then think long and hard about it and realize they might be dreaming a little too big. Most of them come back down to earth and park the idea and move on.

The Bike that Completed the Journey, AKA, Black Beauty

MOST of the time I do this too, except this one time, maybe I got carried away. A little caught up in the moment perhaps? Originally I was trying to think of a way to raise money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado (a cause I very strongly believe in). I started thinking since I love riding bikes maybe some kind of bicycle ride? Hmmmm,  250 miles sounded like a good number, but the idea evolved and grew and before I knew it… It became an epic bicycle ride of 1,000 miles in 10 days. Maybe I was trying to compete with my big bad ass friends, Charley Barnes and Mike Nuererburg who were riding their motorcycle 10,000 miles in 10 days. Pretty sure Charley Barnes may have planted the seed for the bicycle ride. He had tried 3 times to complete the Iron Butt Ride to raise money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado, which he raised a TON of money for. Sadly he came close a few times but (until prior to this ride) had not yet completed it. I guess I was feeling competitive, those who know me can attest to my competitive nature, you just cannot let something like this go! After all, how hard can this really be?

June 1, 2017

This day marked the first day of  what would be hands down THE most difficult self imposed challenges I have EVER undertaken.  Riding my bicycle 100 miles a day for 10 straight days. I loaded up my Specialize Diverge Bicycle and was on my way!

Day 1 – Piece of Cake

And she’s off!  I hopped on my bike and started on my way.  From Greeley, CO to a very long way around back to Mead, CO.  Easy Peasy I

Jennifer, David, Jackson & Maisie

said to myself.  As I cruised 18 MPH through Greeley my mind was on fire.  YOU got this!  I guess the adrenaline kicked in, I could hear my inner thoughts touting: BRING IT! After all, I have trained since January for this very moment in time.  I was as ready as I would ever be!

I made it to the Poudre River Trail   where my 10 year old son Jackson and 8 year old daughter Maisie were going to join me for the next 21 miles.  As we wound through the scenic trail I was chatting with them about the river and how it always changes. How water is one of the most powerful in all nature and natural disasters. Almost as soon as we had that conversation, the trail up ahead was closed due to high levels of water in the river which was blocking the path. The original plan was for David, husband/chase truck, to pick up the kids at the other end of the trail and I would continue on. We made it 5 miles in on the trail, the kids were disappointed their ride was cut short but life never goes as planned and the more they experience this at a young age the easier it will be for them to navigate road blocks later in life.

The rest of day one went pretty much as planned.  I ended the day in Longmont, CO at my son’s first baseball game of the season. Could not have asked for a better ending location.

Day 1 and the first 100 miles down.  I was feeling great and still felt a little cocky quite honestly. Like, pfffft…. This is gravy….

Day 2 – Metropolis

100 miles down, 900 to go! As I left Mead, CO I was really excited about this leg of my trip.  I was going to ride on the new US 36 Bikeway. It is the little things in life that get me excited.  This 12 foot wide cycling path goes from Boulder to Denver along US 36. The views of the Flatirons are breathtaking. One of the things I love the most about biking is you really get to SEE IT ALL! I used to think how awesome it was taking road trips in the car and seeing the countryside.  But when you are traveling 75-80 MPH you miss 50% or more of it. The sounds, winds, smells, and small things you cannot see in the car skip by without ever getting noticed. On a bike, you cruise along at around 15 MPH and can take in everything. It is simply amazing.

Top of US 36 Trail out of Boulder, CO

In Denver I changed over to the Cherry Creek Bike Path. This trail goes through the heart of the Denver Metro area along the Clear Creek river.  During this portion of the ride a thunderstorm rolled through and I was faced with the dilemma of stopping under one of the underpasses and wait it out or just keep riding through it.  My preference would have been to wait it out but this portion of the trail is known to have very high population of transients and drug abuse.  As the storm was intensifying I was along a higher ridge that followed major high line power-lines. The lightening was now surrounding me and yet I still felt safer than the underpass with all the sketchy characters that I had just rode through. Needless to say, my speed increased as I pushed as hard as I could to get out of the storm and this area of the path.

One of my favorite parts of this day was riding on East 56th Avenue on the south side of Denver International Airport.  Two reasons, 1 – the jets fly extremely low right over this section of roadway one after another just before landing.  Seeing this perspective was a different kind of thrilling. The sounds of the engines roaring was incredibly violent revving up my internal excitement for powerful violent machines. Being able to practically read the underbelly of

Near Strasburg, CO a Farm with Thunder Clouds

a 747 as it flew over head was SUPER COOL! And 2 – they had just paved this roadway – it was like riding on a smooth pathway of butter (but without being slippery) – ahhhh butter road.

As continued the last 25 miles I managed to dodge two major thunderstorms and was beyond thankful for that. I literally felt like I was in the middle of NO WHERE.  Cars would go by every 10 or 15 minutes at the most. As I approached the Strasburg KOA where David had already set up our camper and was awaiting my arrival I realized I was 4 miles short of my 100 miles. Let me tell you…. you DON’T ride 97 miles on your bike and call it good enough! As tired as I was, I rode straight past the camp ground 2 miles then turned around and came back to complete my 2nd day – 200 miles down, and I was still smiling and still a little cocky…

There is MORE…. Click here for Day 3, 4 & 5

And More… Click here for Day 6, 7, & 8

Even More…. Click here for Day 9

AND THE FINAL DAY 10 Click Here: Day 10

2 Responses to Epic Journey – 1,000 Miles in 10 Days on my Bicycle – Part I – Day 1 & 2

  1. Karen Barber says:

    Thank you for sharing! I have thought of nothing else the past three, of bike camping and seeing the country. I let my fear stop me. You make it sound exciting and safe. I really look forward to reading the rest of your journey and am hoping that your kids are still participating.

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