Thursday, December 27, 2018

Eight Hundred Ninety-Four

December 24, 2018
8.63 Miles (Biked) (More really, thanks for nothing, Endomondo) in 55:28
Mood: Merry Christmas Eve!
Soundtrack: The Shins "Wincing the Night Away" / Robert DeLong "Just Movement"

It was a cloudy and chilly Christmas Eve, and I did not have a plan. I was going to ride where the wind took me, and it took me to Westlands Park. I felt much better on this ride than I did on Friday, and despite the chill, I was enjoying myself. I decided to take a picture of the Westlands Park Dolphin statues because what better way to commemorate Christmas Eve than with dolphins?

The only real downside to this ride was that once again I was cheated out of several miles of credit by the Endomondo App crashing once again. I was so annoyed that I deleted the app and then redownloaded it in the hope that it'll work better next time. For now, I was once again denied getting the mileage I should have received by a faulty app. You're on thin ice Endomondo. I don't want to change, but I hear nice things about Strava...

Eight Hundred Ninety-Three

December 21, 2018
29.39 Miles (Biked) (Actually much more, but Endomondo broke.) in 2:45:18
Mood: Grinding out a tough and long one on the winter solstice.
Soundtrack: TV on the Radio "Dear Science / The Avett Brothers "Country Was" / Bad Veins "The Mess Remade" / Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip "Angles"

I had the day off, the kids were at school, and I had a plan. I was going to ride up to the RiNo district to look at the spray paint murals that change there on a somewhat frequent basis. This is a very long ride, but I had a lot of time, and as I left, the weather was gloriously warm for a December day. (Technically, the shortest day of the year.)

I had a slight headache as I pulled away from home, and I gave a split second of thought towards going back into the house and taking some ibuprofen, but I decided it wouldn't be necessary, and I plowed forward towards downtown. A few miles in, and my headache was not really subsiding, and I didn't feel all that great, but I was not diverting from the plan. I kept cycling northward despite the uncomfortable feelings.

I actually briefly felt pretty good as I was tooling around downtown Denver. I saw the murals (including the one pictured above) and they were pretty awesome. I also saw a statue on a rooftop of a T-Rex eating Mickey Mouse. This brief section downtown was pretty great...apart for the time when I tried riding my bike through the 16th Street Mall, which was jam packed with pedestrians and was excruciatingly slow going.

My headache returned with a vengeance once I hit the Cherry Creek Trail. Add to that a feeling that my blood sugar was starting to get low, and I was a bit of a mess. Knowing I pretty much just needed to keep moving forward, despite being about ten or so miles from home, I just put my head down and kept moving. At one point I was passed by an elderly couple on a bicycle built for two, which was not great for my ego, but I didn't care much at that point. I was tired and hurting and I just focused on continuing to move.

Things got better as I got closer to Wash Park. I found a convenience store, and briefly ran in to get a Powerade and a bag of chips. After buying those, I also bought four ibuprofen tablets for two bucks, which is an obscene overcharging, but I happily paid it to help with the headache. I had stopped partially because I was hungry and partially because I needed something to raise my blood sugar. I stood outside the store and ate my chips and guzzled the Powerade as the pills slowly began to do their work. By the time I reached I-25 and Downing, my headache was feeling much better and my brother called me to let me know that our Broncos season tickets had been selected to allow us to go down to the field and help unfurl the giant American flag before kickoff. This would have been awesome if I was going to the game, but we had sold our tickets, so it was more of a thing that could have been awesome, but wasn't.

I then just through sheer determination made it the rest of the way home. Going south at that point is largely an uphill endeavor, and there were a couple of times on University that I walked my bike up a hill because I was tired. It was about at this point that I noticed that the audio updates that announce every mile tracked on my Endomondo app stopped occurring. I was too tired to care too much about it, but when I got home, I realized that I had been shorted several miles because for whatever unknown reason, the app just stopped working. So in truth, I definitely went over 30 miles and this may have been my longest ride ever, I only got tracking credit for 29 miles. This is not a big deal, but it annoys me.

Still, I survived, and got home and rested for the rest of the day, so all in all, it was a win...even if it was definitely not  the most fun ride I have ever had.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Eight Hundred Ninety-Two

December 18, 2018
14.29 Miles (Biked) in 1:18:55
Mood: Trying to avoid having to make navigational decisions.
Soundtrack: The Gist

Having my exercise territory basically doubled in that I can cover a lot more distance on two wheels than I can on two feet has been pretty awesome. It's allowed me to go to a bunch of new places and see new things, but it has also led to an unexpected stress...I have to think harder about where I'm going and how to get from point A to point B. This navigational stress was something I was in no mood to deal with on Tuesday morning, so rather than trying for a new destination, I decided to just hit the Highline Canal Trail and stay on it. I went seven miles out, and then seven miles back. It wasn't overly exciting, but it was a pretty morning and not having to think about where I was going was kind of a relief.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Eight Hundred Ninety-One

December 16, 2018
22.57 Miles (Biked) in 2:11:27
Mood: Enjoying deflated Christmas decorations
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "Emotionalism" and "I And Love And You" and "Four Thieves Gone"

I took my time getting out the door on this Sunday morning, so I started a bit later than I originally had wanted. My goal was to ride up to the Bear Creek Trail and retrace my steps from post 798. I made it to the beginning of the trail, but after riding just a short while along it, I realized that if I took it as far as I did on that particular run, I would not be back home in time for church, so when I arrived at Sheridan Boulevard, I took it south and headed back for home. My hope is to get back here again sometime in the coming weeks and go further down the trail.

My return home led me past this home pictured above with deflated Christmas decorations strewn about the lawn. I have seen this house many times during the Christmas season, and it always makes me think of some type of terrorist attack where all the inflatables were wiped out in a tragic disaster. I stopped to take a picture, because this scene makes me laugh every time I see it, and as I was doing so, the people who live at the home pulled up in their car and told me that I should come back after 6PM when they are all inflated. I told them that I was taking a picture of them deflated because the sight cracked me up, and they looked at me like I'm a crazy person.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Eight Hundred Ninety

December 14, 2018
14.05 Miles in 1:19:07
Mood: Toasty hands thanks to a loving wife.
Soundtrack: Alanis Morissette "Jagged Little Pill" / Passenger "Runaway"

This is the historic Cheese Ranch Windmill, a site which my friend Scott decided sounds very much like a track on Mario Kart, and he isn't wrong. This is only the second time I have ever visited it. The first was when I walked to Lone Tree on my 2018 Walkabout. This time, it was decidedly colder. Although, for a change, my hands were fairly toasty thanks to a decision by my lovely wife to give me one of my Christmas gifts eleven days early. She pulled out some brand new biking gloves, which I wore much to the delight of my fingertips which did not freeze on this outing and actually stayed decently warm. It was a perfect gift, as she handed them to me right after I mentioned I should add them to my wish list. She's a good wife!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Eight Hundred Eighty-Nine

December 12, 2018
13.06 Miles (Biked) in 1:14:55
Mood: Is this a Kraken?
Soundtrack: The Bill Simmons Podcast / The Shins "Heartworms"

This may be the greatest parking space in history. Any time you can park your car in full view of a mural depicting a giant squid attacking a water tower, you really should do so. I was kinda sad I didn't have a car to park. I discovered this fantastic parking space pedaling my way through downtown Littleton. There is a costume store on the north side of that little downtown area which is completely covered in awesome murals, this being one of my favorites.

It was downright balmy by December standards, with temps in the 40's for nearly my entire ride today.  I was unable to ride yesterday because when I walked out to the garage, I discovered that my bike's rear wheel was blown. I got it fixed yesterday afternoon, and after a morning spent getting ready to ride only to quickly discover that I was out of luck, it was pretty glorious to have an ever prettier morning to ride a day later. Plus, I was chomping at the bit to get some miles in. I pushed myself harder than I usually do, really attacking some large hills, and as a result my legs were a little wobbly by the end. Wobbly in a good way, though. Like I had really worked out hard. It felt good.

Perhaps the only downside was that I forgot to start my tracking app for the first section of my ride. That meant that I missed out on about a mile or so of mileage, but I feel okay with crediting myself with 13 miles on a morning where I went hard and got home relatively quickly. I also discovered just how not bike friendly Santa Fe Boulevard is. The top left corner of the map was a section where I rode north and then just had to reverse my direction as I hit a dead end on that street which is more of a minor interstate than it is a road. There was just no direction to go but backwards at that point, unless I wanted to die.

Eight Hundred Eighty-Eight

December 9, 2018
22.98 Miles (Biked) in 2:21:52
Mood: Enjoying Rudolph the Red Nosed Brontosaurus.
Soundtrack: Twenty One Pilots "Trench"

I decided to head northeast on this lovely Sunday morning. It was a little chilly for the first half hour or so, but it quickly warmed up and was much more pleasant than the past couple of rides. My goal was to make it to Bible Park in Denver, and so I headed in that direction, and may have actually gone a bit too far east, but had I not ridden all the way to Yosemite, I would not have seen this glorious Sinclair dinosaur decked out as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and that would have been a true travesty.

I did discover that there is a section of Hamden Avenue that is completely inaccessible by bike unless you are willing to ride in the street in one of the two lanes where cars routinely fly by at fifty miles an hour plus. I am not comfortable pretending I'm a car on busy streets, so I had to turn down this dirt road which led me through a neighborhood of complete and semi-complete multi-million dollar homes. I wasn't sure exactly where I was, so I just kept aiming south, and eventually found a street I was familiar with. It's odd to be in a place you know very well, and then immediately be lost in a land you've never before seen in a matter of seconds.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Eight Hundred Eighty-Seven

December 6, 2018
7.12 Miles (Biked) in 48:49
Mood: Chilly
Soundtrack: Daves of Thunder

It was slightly warmer than Tuesday according to the thermometer (21 degrees when I left rather than 15), but I was colder on this ride than I have been maybe during any bit of exercise I have ever attempted. I rode the Highline Canal, and by the time I was about five miles in, my hands actually hurt from cold. It was awful. I was actually in pain because of how much chill I was inflicting upon my hands. I determined I was headed home, and still had to press on for a couple more miles before mercifully arriving at home. My hands hurt for about 10 minutes after I arrived home, and I had to run them under warm water to get them back to feeling normal. I think I hate December. It is most certainly not the most wonderful time of the year. I yearn for summer.

Eight Hundred Eighty-Six

December 4, 2018
8.19 Miles (Biked) in 1:12:12
Mood: Being cautious in the cold.
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / Everything is Alive / The Adventure Zone

Reluctantly, I left the house. It was 15 degrees outside, and one thing I have learned about biking is that it is a much colder endeavor than running. When I go out for a run, my whole body warms up and even though it is freezing outside, I don't feel TOO frozen. On a bike, my hands freeze up and my feet become blocks of ice at the bottom of my legs, and it's uncomfortable.

I decided to stay close to home in case the temps just got too cold, and I circled around Southglenn picking up Pokemon supplies and taking it rather easy. It was quite chilly, but it didn't bother me TOO much. I knew that at any time, I was mere minutes away from home, and I didn't stay out too long.

My photo for today is the sublimely ridiculous dueling signs at Sears right now which show that they are both hiring and going out of business. Something tells me that great careers are not available.

Eight Hundred Eighty-Five

November 30, 2018
31.97 Miles (Biked) in 2:48:47
Mood: Flying through Denver.
Soundtrack: Mumford & Sons "Delta"

I had a day off, and I was going to go a long way. This was all I knew. The weather was nice-ish, and I had a hankering to take off on the trail that follows the South Platte River. It took me through some rather ugly industrial neighborhoods, but there are many pretty places where all you can see is rivers and trees. I had run on sections of this trail before, but never had I seen so much of it at one time. I took it all the way to the Broncos Stadium (Where your company's name can replace this temporary sign if the price is right!), and then made it to confluence park ever so briefly before heading back down the Cherry Creek Trail and through Wash Park towards home.

My splits showed that I was hauling tail...I've never averaged anything close to a 5:17 per mile pace. And when I got home, I was tired, but not exhausted. It was fun getting a chance to go so long and see so much, and I was glad to grab that chance while listening through the new Mumford & Sons album a few times. Twas a great way to wrap up November.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Eight Hundred Eighty-Four

November 27, 2018
15.06 Miles (Biked) in 1:34:14
Mood: Exploratory
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / The Bill Simmons Podcast

I headed Northwest, and found a trail I didn't know existed. I think it may go all the way to Confluence Park, and I'm dying to try it on one of these upcoming days I have off. Hopefully I'll be back soon, as I couldn't go as far as I wanted with my pesky job demanding that I show up.

It was a cold morning, but nothing too terrible, and the excitement of discovery kept me pushing on. I had one of those rare moments when I found myself in an area and didn't really know where I was. That happens SO rarely for me these days. I mean, I had a vague idea, but when I took the picture that is posted above, I was fairly uncertain just exactly where I had pedaled myself to.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Eight Hundred Eighty-Three

November 22, 2018
8.06 Miles (Biked) in 1:04:24
Mood: Sad
Soundtrack: The After Disaster

It was Thanksgiving morning, and we had an appointment the very next day at the Vet's office to euthanize my favorite dog of all time. So, it's safe to say that although it was my favorite holiday, I was a little bit down. I decided to take a relaxed ride around Southglenn after going pretty hard on my previous two rides.

My choice of podcast for this particular ride was uncanny. I have listened to the After Disaster for years, and one of the guys on the show spent pretty much the whole episode talking about how he had put his dog to sleep in the past week. He loved his dog a tremendous amount, and it would have been pretty sad to listen to regardless of my situation, but seeing as how I was mere hours away from facing the same thing, it hit me pretty hard. There were a few tears shed while listening, and I can't say that this was much of a workout for anything other than my emotions.

When I got home, I found my dog wrapped up in a blanket on the recliner. She was just as happy as could be. It made me smile a melancholy smile, so I took a picture. I miss that dog. She was old, and she was blind, deaf, and more than a little senile and she had trouble pooping in appropriate places, but I still loved her and while it was certainly time to say goodbye, that doesn't make it any easier.

Eight Hundred Eighty-Two

November 21, 2018
12.12 Miles (Biked) in 1:22:09
Mood: Man, those hills!
Soundtrack: Daves of Thunder

I went south to Highlands Ranch on this ride. That place is well named. The "High" from Highlands Ranch comes from the fact that there are some massive hills there. I forget that anytime I go south, I am in for a tough workout, as there are some big inclines to power up.

These reindeer look like they had just been set out the night before, maybe. Christmas is coming. (Even if this ride happened before Thanksgiving.) I'm looking forward to more Christmas decorations to take pictures of, hopefully there will be some extra goofy ones. We shall see.

Eight Hundred Eighty-One

November 19, 2018
30.05 Miles (Biked) in 3:01:25
Mood: Time for a long one.
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast / The Bill Simmons Podcast

I had the entire day off, so I didn't get started super early in the morning, but I still was determined to go a LOOONG way on this ride. The weather was pretty nice, and I just knew that had a long ride in me. At one point, about halfway through, my wife called and asked where I was. When I told her that I was currently in Downtown Denver, I think it threw her.

I saw a ton of cool stuff on the road, but my favorite picture was of this Broncos mural right near Broadway and I-25. I took this photo just in time, because almost immediately after I snapped it a large van pulled right into the spot blocking the Broncos logo.

After finishing up this long ride, I didn't take it easy, however, as my son and a couple of his friends decided that we needed go down to the park and play Ultimate Frisbee. Needless to say, I slept very well on this particular evening.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Eight Hundred Eighty

November 15, 2018
16.28 Miles (Biked) in 1:41:12
Mood: Hazing coyotes and playing in mud.
Soundtrack: Everything is Alive / Middle Brother "Middle Brother" / Mumford & Sons "Wilder Mind"

The temps were in the 40s, and although there was still a decent amount of snow and ice, I felt comfortable hitting the road on my bike this Thursday morning. So it was with a sense of excitement that I left the house. I started heading east, and within the first minute of my ride I saw a coyote running across a street that is very near my house. I heard somewhere that in order to keep coyotes from becoming too acclimated to an area, if you see one you should try and haze it with loud noises. Whether or not this is true, I began yelping like a psychotic cowboy at the coyote, and it definitely got scared. It bolted away into the trees like it was running from Satan himself. I felt kind of proud, plus it's fun to yell at should really try it if you get a chance.

From there, it was just a solid bike ride meandering southeast. I ended up circling Park Meadows mall, and then heading north towards my work. I decided to cycle through the parking lot, and then figured I may as well get a photo by the Pulte sign. I was going to be back here to work in just an hour and a half or so, and it was a little surreal to be there that early seeing that a huge portion of my co-workers were already hard at work. (I work the later shift.)

I bounded through a huge pile of mud, and I remembered something I hadn't thought about in decades. When your bike tires have mud on them, that mud slings off into the air in a most hilarious and messy way when you're riding. For the next twenty minutes or so, I was amused by large chunks of mud soaring into the atmosphere. Good times.

Weirdly, I never shifted the big gears into either 1 or 3 this whole ride, but just stayed on 2 the whole time. Not sure why I did that.

Eight Hundred Seventy-Nine

November 13, 2018
3.81 Miles in 40:33
Mood: So very cautious.
Soundtrack: Jack Garratt "Phase" / Twenty One Pilots "Trench"

I would have preferred to ride my bike to running on this particular chilly Tuesday morning, but a lot of snow had fallen the day before, and there was still far too many icy patches for me to feel comfortable on two wheels, so I decided to lace up the running shoes and give it the old college try.

My heel has been bothering me for quite awhile now. It's hard to explain it exactly, because it doesn't exactly hurt while I'm running, but I notice it. I also cannot run fast (or at least fast by my standards) with it. It's very frustrating, and so I have been using the bike for exercise to give it rest. I was worried that running on it might set back any healing progress, but I also didn't want to not exercise on this particular morning. So it was reluctantly that I headed out into a frost filled morning (with a beautiful sunrise) to see how it'd respond.

It was slow going, I felt winded way too quickly, and I didn't even manage four miles. So it was less than ideal, but my heel didn't feel any worse at the end than it had at the beginning and I got some miles in, so it was a guarded success. On the plus side, my feet were not frozen when I arrived home, which is a common problem on freezing mornings on the bike.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Eight Hundred Seventy-Eight

November 8, 2018
12.61 Miles (Biked) in 1:15:39
Mood: What am I?
Soundtrack: Still no new earbuds

I can't decide if I'm transforming into a biker or am still just a runner rehabbing a sore foot. There are definite things I like about biking. The numbers are higher! It's much more fun to say you did 12.61 miles of something than 7.1 miles of something, even if the running of the shorter distance is much tougher than the biking of the longer distance. It feels more impressive. In addition to being able to say you put in more miles, you actually travel more miles, so you can go further and see more things. The radius of places I can travel to and then back from on a morning stint is about twice as large. Also nice about biking...I don't get as sweaty. Perhaps I'm not actually getting as much exercise too, but being less sweaty at the end of a workout is nice.

The things I don't like as much: My feet get so cold on my bike. When I'm running, the constant plodding on the ground tends to keep my feet warm and toasty, but when those toes are sitting lazily upon the pedals, they tend to form into solid blocks of ice. When I was walking back into the house this morning, it felt like my feet had just solidified into large ambiguous frozen clumps at the bottom of my legs, most unpleasurable. Also when I'm on my bike, I feel less free to stop into a business while working out. I can still do it, but I have to leave my bike outside. This was fine when I was riding a 20 year old Wal-Mart bike that no one in their right mind would steal, but now, I am unwilling to risk my new expensive property by just leaving it outside for any random hoodlum to abscond with.

Probably I'm going to mix it with with both running and biking once my foot feels up to it, especially now that I've invested a sizable sum in a good bike.