Winding Roads and Trails

Photo 5

Orange Sklar on the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

D-day for knee surgery looms in four days. At this point in time – save for a somewhat fear of surgery and anesthesia and the unknown – I'm ready. Mentally, I've let go of what I'm missing this spring and early summer, instead focusing my energy on the fall and winter of 2014/15 and the steps required to get there healthy. I've given the past two weeks a name, phase one, chosing to mentally begin the process now and not at surgery date. It's a cheesy name, but I don't care. This first phase of this whole process has focused on being as fit and strong in the legs as possible before surgery. That's meant a return to the best leg strength machine I know of, the bicycle. It's worked – in the last two weeks my legs have gotten stronger. And in the meantime, I've fallen back in love with the ride.  

It helps that almost simultaneously with the news that I need knee surgery I also had delivered to me the sweetest bike I've ever ridden, my Sklar. It's beautiful, balanced and smooth. Most of the week has been spent riding on winding mountains roads, and while it's a very competent performer in those situations, it truly shines on the trail. Elaine, Old Man Vigers, Miss Patten and I took to the logged routes on West Magnolia today and did a singletrack christening of the new Sklar. It rides wonderfully; balanced, smooth and spry.

It's truly a surreal experience, seeing the old trails in an entirely new clear cut landscape (Hobbit One is silly without the trees). And while the loss of forest life is painful to see, I believe this area will be stunning with meadows and flowers and aspens and animals other than squirrels in 20 years time. That right there is motivation to keep on riding.

Near the end of the ride, the thunder rose and the rain came beating down as we wove through the rivulettes and puddles like little kids. For Elaine, mountain biking is a totally new experience, and it's fun to see her improve as the ride goes on.  She already has a job for while I'm recovering: spend as much time on technical singletrack as possible!

Overall, it's been a physically progressing time to balance out a mentally taxing week. I'm looking forward to finishing up this part of the process strong, before we enter phase two – surgery and rest. 

Photo 1

Woke up Thursday morning looking for a new experience. When we saw on the internet that it was the last day of the season that Trail Ridge Road in RMNP was closed to cars, it became obvious: load up the bikes and ride to the top, sans traffic!

Photo 2

A wee bit of snow up on Trail Ridge Road and a very orange bicycle!

Photo 3

The past week has been the biggest biking blitz I've been on since 2007. It's amazing what a new bike can do for motivation. I still love going uphill on a bicycle. I'm looking forward to the time in therapy where long climbs on the bike are possible and recommended. 

Photo 4

Coming through Rock Cut near the very top of Trail Ridge Road. 

IMG_3443 

Since the normal mountain we hike is a flowing stream of run-off and myd, we've been taking to the drier north side mountain and heading up a local jeep trail for dog walks and morning sanity. I came upon a herd of elk, as well as deer and ptarmigan up here. Today we saw a golden eagle circling overhead. It's nice to live in a place like this, with nature at our doorstep. I'm lucky to have this as my place for recovery and rejuvination. 

IMG_3440That's home down there in that valley. 

Photo 6

Apparently there are plans to chop down these trees on 9th Street as part of a downtown revitalization. Boulder can be strange sometimes, but I love this, and the fact that people who think like this live here. 

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