Friday, May 25, 2018

Eight Hundred Eighteen

May 25, 2018
2.25 Miles in 21:57 plus
9.05 Miles (Biked) in 1:01:19
Mood: A triumphant mini return to running
Soundtrack: Panic! At The Disco "Death Of A Bachelor"

After not running at all since April 18th, I was able to make a limited return to action. The podiatrist recommended I take it slow at first, so I only did 2.25 miles, but it felt pretty good to be back. I could definitely tell that it has been over five weeks since I last ran, as my leg muscles were pretty stiff and I felt pretty badly out of practice, but it did feel pretty good to be on the trail again, even if it were only for two miles.

After my quick run, I jumped on the bike, and did another nine miles. It was a good mix of taking it easy along with several miles of really pushing myself on the Highline Canal. I noticed that I got much sweatier in 2 miles of running than I ever did with nine miles of biking. I am feeling great afterwards, with my foot having zero signs of pain, so I will continue to ramp up the running portions and decreasing the biking until hopefully I'm back to normal. Although, it is nice to have the bike in my back pocket as an alternative, as I have enjoyed that quite a bit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Eight Hundred Seventeen

May 23, 2018
16.62 Miles (Biked) in 1:50:51
Mood: More adventurous that the previous day, for sure.
Soundtrack: The Decemberists "I'll Be Your Girl"

Wednesday is usually a rest day for me, but since I took it super easy yesterday, I figured I'd get up and go a little harder today. I decided to head south, as I hadn't really gone that direction on the bike, and figured I could enjoy some of what Highlands Ranch has to offer in the way of trails.

Highlands Ranch is called that for a reason, as it is basically straight up a hill to get there. So the getting there was a little rough. At one point, I was biking slowly up a hill when a serious bike guy in his serious bike guy spandex flew past me. I was kind of amazed at the kind of speed he had going up a hill that had reduced me to a near standstill. Clearly, I am not a serious bike guy, but the gap between me and them is larger that I figured.

Once I actually got to Highlands Ranch, I headed directly to the very large Sand Creek Park which is basically paved trails weaving their way through natural beauty, surrounded on all sides by single family home subdivisions. It's so big, though, that it feels legitimately natural. I have run there once before, and was pumped to check it out again. I went through it so quickly and found myself headed North again pretty quickly, and before long I was passing by my church, and then like a trout returning to spawn, I migrated back towards the Highline Canal...where I truly belong.

It was only a 16 mile ride, but it felt much more adventurous that yesterday. Plus I got to see this glorious orange flower along the Highline, which was the visual highlight for me of the whole trip.

Eight Hundred Sixteen

May 22, 2018
10.04 Miles (Biked) in 1:14:14
Mood: Decided to not go chasing waterfalls, just stuck to the outdoor mall that I'm used to.
Soundtrack: Blues Traveler "Four"

This was less of an exercise outing, and more of an intense session of playing Pokemon Go. After the long ride on Sunday, my butt was sore, and I didn't feel up to pushing myself up a lot of hills and working real hard. So I just stayed at the Streets of Southglenn and replenished my supplies after the Charmander Community Day wiped out a big chunk of my goods on Saturday. It was a super nice morning, so I just enjoyed circling the mall a bunch.

I was so lazy, in fact, that I forgot to even take a picture. So I decided to post a screen capture of the most rare Pokemon I captured during the morning...It's the very odd looking Kabutops. Thought this would be perfect, since it's CP is the current year.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Eight Hundred Fifteen

May 20, 2018
25.23 Miles in 2:38:17
Mood: Happy to see people I love along the way!
Soundtrack: The Head and The Heart "The Head and The Heart"

I set a new personal best for distance on a bike ride with this one. It might not have been my most intense ever, but it was certainly super long. I knew my family was going to be volunteering at Wash Park, running a water table for the Arthritis Walk. I also knew that they wouldn't be there until around 8:30, so I took my sweet time getting there, and still arrived at Wash Park ahead of them. I circled the park one and a half times, and then caught up with them setting up, which naturally had to be today's photo!

Then after a low intensity ride to Wash Park, I hustled my butt off to get back home, as there was a slight chance that I was going to be needed to head back up to the park and pick up my daughter to make sure that she made it to church on time, as in her Middle School service they were going to be doing a trivia contest that she wrote, and she definitely wanted to be there on time.

Fortunately, I was not needed to provide emergency transport, and I was able to enjoy a relaxed pace while showing and getting ready for church myself. After my long ride, my legs, arms, elbow and butt were all feeling the effects of the ride, and I was happy to have some time to take it easy.

Eight Hundred Fourteen

May 17, 2018
12.56 Miles (Biked) in 1:25:46
Mood: A little lazy.
Soundtrack: The Head and The Heart "Signs of Light"

I did NOT feel like pushing myself this particular Thursday morning, so I didn't. I took it easy by circling the Streets at Southglenn for a bit and loading up on Pokemon supplies for the weekend's Charmander Community Day, and then I just lollygagged down and back on the Highline Canal. It was far from my most intense workout ever, but the morning was straight up beautiful, as you can see in my photo, and I really enjoyed my laid back morning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Eight Hundred Thirteen

May 15, 2018
18.20 Miles (Biked) in 1:52:37
Mood: Pushing myself uphill.
Soundtrack: Manchester Orchestra "A Black Mile To The Surface"

Somehow I did something that seems impossible this morning. I found an 18 mile route that is entirely uphill! Okay, that is definitely a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly felt like I did very little in the way of downhilling this morning. I headed further east than I ever have before on my bike, and at one point I was much closer to work than I was to home. I thought about how I needed to ride six miles west and shower just so I could head back the same six miles east to go back to work and laughed at the absurdness of it all.

I was a little worried when I was on the wrong side of I-25 a littler later in the morning than I had hoped I would be that I might have gone out a bit too far, but fortunately the downhill stretch that I did eventually reach was in the homestretch, so I did find my way home in plenty of time.

Today's photo comes from when I briefly took a wrong turn and ended up in a dead-end cul-de-sac, and on a hill leading up to a huge home in the DTC area was this marble boy perched on strange clear plastic squares. The nature was lovely, but the statue was somewhat ridiculous. It was the wrong size and shape for the space entirely. This could be a very cool space for a statue, but it needs to be significantly larger than this silly thing.

Eight Hundred Twelve

May 13, 2018
21.78 Miles (Biked) in 2:12:40
Mood: A Happy Mothers Day complete with Old Timey Truck!
Soundtrack: Frightened Rabbit "The Midnight Organ Fight"

I awoke Sunday morning, and it was foggy out. Well, fog is maybe not the perfect description. It was more like a rain that was half falling and half staying in the air. I debated if I would go for a ride, but I consulted the weather app, and it appeared that it wasn't actually going to rain, so I decided to head west.

The weather app wasn't entirely wrong, it never poured on me, but there was enough moisture falling from the sky that for the first ten miles or so, I continually had to stop and wipe the droplets from my glasses. It wasn't a cold moisture, though. The temps were almost in the 60's, and the gray clouds made for a lovely day that was warm, but not too warm and bright but not too bright. It was a lovely morning for a ride and I had two ambitions. 1. Get to Clement Park and back 2. Get home in time to go purchase flowers for my wife for Mothers Day.

I was worried my determination to get to Clement Park might actually ruin my second ambition, but I was able to speed home with time to spare, so flowers were purchased and a lovely Mothers Day was had by all.

Today's photo is something I haven't posted in a old timey truck! I loved the color of this thing, and it looked pretty cool sitting out on the street as I rode by, so I had to take a picture.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Eight Hundred Eleven

May 11, 2018
20.43 Miles (Biked) in 1:56:57
Mood: Returning to an old friend.
Soundtrack: Band of Horses "Cease to Begin"

Today was the first day that I truly took FULL advantage of the range available on a bicycle. Rather than just staying mostly on the Highline Canal and points that are great, but also mostly close to home, I decided to head north and see if I could get to Wash Park and back in a reasonable amount of time. Turns out, yes I can! It was a little surreal to begin my exercise morning at home, make it to Wash Park, and then make it back home again. I have definitely never done that before. My biggest mistake of the morning was not realizing until I was about 3/4ths of the way around the park that bikes are supposed to circle the park in a counterclockwise motion only, and I did my entire lap around the park straight up clockwise. Live and learn, I guess.

I hadn't been to Wash Park in almost a month, and I guess I just missed it. The Pelicans that arrive in the summer are there right now, hanging out at Grasmere Lake. (They are in the picture above, though a little hard to see.) There was also something very satisfying about achieving 20 miles traveled for first time and still getting back home with time to spare.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Eight Hundred Ten

May 9, 2018
13.56 Miles (Biked) in 1:25:32
Mood: Feeling good as my booted days are over.
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "The Carpenter"

I had a meeting that I needed to attend early in the evening, which meant that if I was going to get out for a bike ride, I needed to get up early to make it happen. So I was out of bed at 5, and on the road well before six. Fortunately, it is spring, so the sun comes up early, and I was good to go.

I had been to the podiatrist the day before, and she told me that I could stop wearing the walking boot, which meant that this was my first day of returning to wearing normal shoes, so I was already looking forward to that. She had also given me a cortisone shot in my foot, and the result of that was that my foot felt better than it has in months. I still do not have the all clear to start running yet, but the healing signs are encouraging. Although, I do have to admit that I have grown rather fond of the added range given by a bike, plus it's fun to be able to go fast and zoom by runners that I could never keep up with while running. Still, I miss being out on my own two feet a lot, and I'm really looking forward to hitting the trails and pounding the pavement again. Someday soon, hopefully. For now, I remain attached to the bike.

This particular morning's photo came because I came to an immediate halt when I saw the bright morning light illuminating the tops of the trees. I knew I had to take a picture of it, because it was beautiful!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Eight Hundred Nine

May 6, 2018
19.20 Miles (Biked) in 2:00:44
Mood: Super positive!
Soundtrack: Hootie and the Blowfish "Fairweather Johnson"

Since my bike had died, Jen let me use her bike, and after dealing with my subpar piece of machinery her bike seemed like a deluxe model. It worked like a dream! Shifting and rolling and working just like a bicycle is supposed to work! It was a thing of beauty, and I had a leisurely Sunday morning on which to enjoy it to the fullest. I had such a great ride, and the morning was beautiful, and the goose shown in the photo above was just the right amount of goofy. Everything was perfect, and even when I was riding up the ridiculously steep hills on Prince Street, I was enjoying myself. (I enjoyed it more when I was riding down those hills and approaching 30 MPH! "I'M A BIKE CAR!!)

Eight Hundred Eight

May 4, 2018
12.77 Miles (Biked) in 1:24:02
Mood: So annoyed at a machine.
Soundtrack: The Oh Hellos "Dear Wormwood" / Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More"

This outing turned out to be my final trek with my orange Mongoose bike. I rode it for less than 100 miles before it died. Please, let us observe a moment of silence for it's passing...

Okay. Now it's time to talk ill of the dead. My lovely wife, in an attempt to do something nice for me bought me a bike for my birthday last October, and as lovely and generous as that gift was, unfortunately, I got a bit of a lemon. This trip was it's final hurrah, and it went okay for the first ten miles or so. It was not going perfectly, as the bike was shifting pretty roughly, but it had always done that, so I didn't think too much of it. Then, almost at the exact moment I hit ten miles biked, the gears blew up. The shift guard that keeps the chain from flying off the gears basically exploded off the bike, and the chain jammed up and I was stranded several miles from home. For the second consecutive Friday bike ride, I called my wife to come pick me up because my bike had broken down. (Last week it was a flat tire.)

As Jen made her way towards me, I looked up how to try and fix my bike on YouTube, and just as she arrived to take me home, I figured out how to put it back together again to where it would ride. I felt a mix of excitement for having fixed it (or so I thought) and sheepishness for having my wife show up just as I no longer needed her. I handed her the shift guard ring that had flown off the bike, thanked her for coming, and told her I'd see her back at home.

I then rode down the Highline Canal Trail towards home, figuring I could make it back without issue. I didn't shift from Medium gear the whole time I was riding the trail, and the bike was working. Then, as I reached the bridge which served as my exit ramp, I tried to shift the bike into low gear to get up the steep bridge and on towards home. However, the instant I shifted the bike, the chain hopped off the gear and became wedged as if it were superglued between the gears and the frame. I could not unwedge it no matter how hard I tried, so I ended up walking the bike home the final mile in a state of severe annoyance. This barely used bike was unusable, and I was irritated because it should NOT have broken down after so little use.

The next day, I was able to get the chain loose by levering it out with a flat edge screwdriver, but as I put it back on the chain and tried to test the bike out, the chain would not stay on the gears if I ever shifted, so I was left with a bike that I could use so long as I never ever shifted it out of medium gear. This was unacceptable for obvious reasons, so I took the bike back to Wal-Mart (and a HUGE thank you to the store manager John who listened to my story and agreed to take the bike back despite the fact that we are waaaaaay past the 90 day warranty. That was awesome.)

So, the bike is now history, and the plan is to find a new bike in the near future, and hopefully it will be less of a problem child that this one.

By the way, the photo from this run is of all the pink blooms on the ground, washed away by a steady rain that fell all throughout the day before. We are deep enough into May that most of the pink trees are gone, which is kind of sad. It was a short pink tree season.

The map of the first 10 miles before the bike broke the first time.

The map of the final couple miles the bike ever traveled.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Eight Hundred Seven

May 1, 2018
16.88 Miles (Biked) in 1:49:06
Mood: Hey, I fully figured out how to ride my bike, and it only took 40 miles!
Soundtrack: U2 "Songs of Experience"

One thing biking has over running is that you can cover a LOT more ground. This opens up new places to me that are too far away to run, but perfectly reasonable to bike. I have yet to really take advantage of this advantage, but today I dabbled my toes briefly in the waters of going further by going a few miles past where I would usually venture on the Highline Canal Trail. I've been this far before, but only on very rare occasions, and as a result of this venturing, I got the above photo of a cool statue that is posted just off the canal trail. I took this picture right about at the 8 mile mark, and I'm glad I did, because it's a cool statue.

Also, today I figured out exactly how to get my bike into it's highest gear. I had been annoyed that the highest gear still didn't allow me to pedal much while going downhill, and thus prevented me from really gaining top speeds that I was thinking I should hit. I realized this morning that I needed to twist my gear shifter even further that I originally had thought in order to shift from medium gear to high gear, and suddenly I was zooming down a hill. That's on me for being a dummy, but at least I've finally figured out how to reach max speed on my bike, which is a nice feature to have. It's no coincidence that my longest ride to date coincided with my ability to go faster. Adding to that the fact that I was able to change the battery in my Pokemon Go Plus, which meant that I was also catching as I rode, and this was clearly the most successful ride to date. It keeps getting better with each progressive outing, which I am taking to be a good sign. I still miss running, but the bike is proving to be a better and better substitute with each time I ride.

Eight Hundred Six

April 29, 2018
15.32 Miles (Biked) in 1:42:45
Mood: Getting into the groove of the bike life.
Soundtrack: Jack Johnson "In Between Dreams" and TV on the Radio "Seeds"

With my bike tire fixed, I was back on the road and ready to put in what I would consider my first REAL morning bike ride. This was the first morning where my bike was really fully operational and I had put in a few miles getting myself out of runner mode and shifted into bike mode. I am now solidly in bike mode, and am starting to enjoy it quite a bit. I still am pretty stiff and sore when I am finished, but it is getting less painful.

My original plan had been to take along my Pokemon Go Plus and catch Pokes while riding, but the battery on it died, and when I went back to fix the problem, I remembered that I had lent out my toolbox to a neighbor who was moving, and I didn't have access to my tiny screwdriver, so I had to forego catching Pokes during a really great special Pokemon Go event, which bummed me out briefly, but the morning was so beautiful, I didn't stay bummed out for long.

It's hard to be too bummed out when spring is in full effect, the weather is beautiful, and a great many of the trees are pink. The pink blooms are already starting to blow off of the trees, so I'm afraid there isn't much pink tree time left, but I'm enjoying it while I can. Not only are they beautiful, they are a very pleasing fragrance as well. But best of all, they mean that winter is over!