Sunday, August 28, 2011

U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge and the Week That Was

Great time today watching the pro cycling parade of color whoosh by up on Lookout Mountain in Golden. A nice capstone to a solid week of running.

It wasn't until about 10 a.m. this morning when I decided to head over to the Lookout Mountain area to catch a bit of the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge race. I've been watching each stage on Versus (thanks to whomever invented the DVR!). Time to see some of the action up close.

I parked over at the Mt. Vernon Country Club, about 3/4 of a mile from the junction of Lookout Mountain Road and Highway 40, both on the race's route today. I ran pretty hard about 3.5 miles to the King of the Mountains arch, then another half-mile to get down into the crowds. I figured if I was going to watch the race, I should do so among the rabid throngs that line the climbs.

I wasn't disappointed. The vibe was great, the crowd seemingly vibrating with anticipation. As the racers appeared below (great view of the switchbacks below from our vantage point), the spectators limbered up. There was the guy in the gorilla suit and viking helmet, a couple of guys in the now-ubiquitous Speedos, a few guys with their chests painted, a Gumby, a banana and a whole bunch of regular folks out on a beautiful morning watching a first-rate athletic event. Good stuff.

Proof that evolution continues.
I had to tell this guy that the racers were coming from the other direction.
Much waiting for a few seconds of excitement as racers whiz by.
King of the Mountains arch, post-race.
Here's a couple of videos. The first is the leaders blowing by. The second is what was left of the main peloton.

The week that was:

Monday:  Matthew Winters/Red Rocks/Hogback - 1:19, 6.75 miles, 1,182 feet o' elevation gain. Tough day in the heat. Bonked hard.

Tuesday:  Apex Open Space - 1:20, 8.3 miles, 1,210 feet o' elevation gain. Still hot, but was fueled and carrying water. Solid climbing. Good day in the heat.

Wednesday:  Evergreen Mountain - 54 minutes, 5.68 miles, 1,052 feet o' elevation gain. Nice evening dog run. Had to use headlamp for last mile or two. Maya led the way on the climb. Perfect running temps.

Thursday:  Elk Meadow Open Space - 42 minutes 5.18 miles, 579 feet o' elevation gain. Squeezed this one in post-land trust board meeting and dinner.  Nice jog.  Followed it up with short dog park jog with Maya and Cisco.

Friday:  Off

Saturday:  Eccles Pass Loop - 3:51, 15.07 miles, 4,049 feet o' elevation gain. So great to be back in the high country running. Eager to get out into the hills again soon.

Sunday:  Lookout Mountain Road - 1:03, 7.31 miles, 671 feet o' elevation gain. Road run in the heat. Ran solid in both directions. On the out, I was driven by the desire to make sure I found a good vantage point before the riders appeared. Turned out I had plenty of time. Run back was harder (and hotter...thermometer in the truck said 87 degrees...and that's at 7,200 feet!

Totals:  49.23 miles in 9:29 with 8,854 feet o' elevation gain.

A solid re-building week. Very glad to feel like I'm getting back into things.


  1. Really cool that you got to see that. You could have gotten in a few short, hard effort uphill reps if you had your speed-o with you.
    Rick Merriman

  2. Looks like a very fine way to spend the day. The pic of the 303 guy facing the wrong direction is classic!

  3. Awesome! Glad to hear that the gears are turning!