Don't worry... I survived. Yes, Saturday was the scheduled Death March ride, and we left downtown Golden, pretty much right on time, and sans leg coverings, even at 10am! It was bound to be a glorious, warm day!
Seth has a good right up over on his page, complete with lots of photos. I grabbed the camera to throw in my pocket, only to realize that the battery was dead as a could be. I did manage just a quick picture of the new steed, on my way out the door. That was it for the battery life though;
Having just finished building up Eddy at 11.30pm the previous night, I wasn't sure I was willing to risk doing an epic ride on a completely unproven bike. All the more so when you haven't had a chance to try out how the Shimano cassette was going to mesh on the Campy drivetrain. Sure, I've set people's bikes up like that before, but not my own... with new everything. So I brought both bikes down to Golden with me, a quick, single loop around the parking lot, and I decided to go with Eddy. What the heck!?
Koach, Rubin, Joey Pink, myself, and a small group we assembled took off for our ride. Lookout was leisurely and the weather was downright ridiculously nice. I think I only missed two shifts on the new system as well. Then it was time to get out of town... up through Bergen Park and then onto Squaw Pass. We turned a nice steady tempo with just the four of us left at that point. A little headwind, but overall, still insanely nice out. It was a little windy and cool over the top, but hey, we were surrounded by snow on all sides, and over 11,000 feet up. It's pretty much always a little windy and cool up there. I really don't like Squaw Pass all that much, but the best part of going over it, is dropping back down the Echo Lake side to Idaho Springs. Saturday it wasn't quite as nice. You had to keep your eyes peeled for icy patches, and it was the windiest part of the ride, but still, a total blast to descend. Oh yeah, and the bike was doing really well. I think the best measure of a bike, is realizing after a long ride, or even a 14 mile descent, that you didn't think about your bike, the entire time. That means it's working right!
We grabbed some lunch in Idaho Springs, slightly creeping out the locals in SafeWay as usual. Guys in lycra, walking around the store in funny shoes with bloodshot eyes always perks up the intrest of the locals. You get a much better effect in places far from "civilization" because then the locals start trying to figure out where the heck you came from. Then they realize you likely came from "Denver". Which is a good ways down "the hill". All the more so if they knew you came the hard way, and that this was just your lunch break before heading back out for more.
Here, Seth and I peeled off from Kendall and Joey. Those two were headed back "as the crow flies", but that was going to include some icy bike path, and good ol' Floyd Hill. Seth and I chose the Casino Road, just to really put the hurt-down on our bodies. The lunch break had lulled my legs into complacency, so I settled into a steady pace climbing up the highway. The pain in the legs was made a bit more bearable by the fact that in shorts and a long sleeve jersey, it was almost too warm on the climb!
Dropped into BlackHawk, stopped to chat with some of the patrons, up from the big city to spend their Social Security checks, and we were back to climbing. Climbing out of BlackHawk though, is where my legs gave up the ghost. I would have paid big money for a 20oz. Mountain Dew at that point, but no such luck. Just crankin' away in the only gear that the legs seemed to tolerate. Two more unkind climbs on the way "down" Golden Gate and we were home. Just over 5hours 45minutes ride time for me. The legs were toast, and I went well-beyond the reserves on those last three climbs, but hey, it was bound to snow Sunday.
So yeah, overall a pretty awesome ride. I mean how could it not be with that weather!? And I had further proof of my mechanical abilities; the new bike needed absolutely nothing beyond half a turn of the derailleur cable to account for some cable tension. Beyond that, the bike worked flawlessly! And I had set the fit up right, since nothing felt goofy or created odd new pain on the ride.
I think the weekends will actually get easier once the racing actually starts!