This week we were scheduled to take a “taper” ride. After weeks of long miles and lots of climbing, the idea was to taper off the effort so we would be ready for Moab on September 17th. As we assembled in the Target parking lot in Glendale, our coach made a joke about doing Lookout. I responded that we should do it, and we did.
Coach says he wasn’t planning on doing Lookout again until I said I wanted to, but I don’t believe him. As a fellow teammate says, “Steve is a mean, mean man.” Of course, we are really just teasing about this. Steve like to push us, but it is just to get us ready for the 105 miles in Moab.
Yep, I did say 105 miles. This year, the 100 mile course does not include the challenge of the Big Nasty. Because our Team Hero (Mark Williams) was adamant about doing the Big Nasty, Steve and Mark contacted the event organizers to find a way. Now, the whole team has the option of combining the 65 mile Big Nasty course with the 40 mile River Cruise for a 105 miler. Most of our team is going for the 105 mile Big Nasty option and we feel prepared after the climbing we have been doing for the past couple of months.
That preparation is why we also didn’t whine too much at the thought of doing Lookout Mountain on our taper ride. After a delayed start, we made our normal path through downtown Denver, Wheatridge and out to Golden. We kept a pretty good pace and everyone seemed anxious to get this last training ride in the books.
After a SAG stop next to the Coors plant, we started out to tackle Lookout Mountain. As I crossed the gates to Lookout, I reset my average speed and took note of the time on my bike computer. The first time I went up Lookout I stopped 3 or 4 times and I think I averaged about 5mph. This time I just kept cranking and tried to keep my speed up without overexerting myself. When I got to the top it was 38 minutes later and I had averaged 7.31 mph.
Of course, that isn’t that fast considering the pros do it in 16 minutes and in the recent King of Lookout Mountain competition the top times were in the low 20s. But that is OK, I know how far I have come since the beginning of the season and I look forward to continuing to improve.
After another SAG stop at the top, we were ready to get back to our starting point. We took it easy down Lookout (check out the video below), but once we got through Golden we really started to cook. Between Golden and Wheatridge, we averaged 26mph in an awesome paceline. The rest of the way back, we still pushed ourselves and the ride was over before we knew it. We completed 48 miles in less than 3 ½ hours of seat time. Not too bad.
Now all we have to do is start carbo loading and packing for Moab. We leave on Thursday for the festivities. On Friday, we do a team warm up ride and have an “Inspiration Dinner” to honor all the people each teammate is riding for. Saturday morning at 7am we start out on the big ride. I can’t wait!
Lookout Mountain Descent: