Saturday, June 14, 2008

2008 Greenwood Goosechase

Greetings Readers

"Woke up this morning..."

What another beautiful Saturday Morning. I woke up ready to bike and start the morning off with the Soprano's. Nothing gets me in the mood like some Soprano's.

I could hear the birds starting to chirp away this morning at 4:40. I got out of bed and wrapped myself in a blanket since I did not feel like showing off my almost naked body. Though this was an opportunity to show off my thighs. =). The morning was cool and I could hear some water sprinklers in the distance. I also could literally hear silence, birds and water sprinklers. I was not focusing on another noise and it was very, very, nice. I could feel the cool morning air seeping into my blanket and it felt nice against my body.

Anyway, that was the morning. After some time it was time to get Rebecca ready for her first official ride of the year - The Greenwood Goosechase. I also had to pick a helmet and I pick the yellow Giro helmet. Now, the bike jersey. I already knew what bike jersey I was going to don for the Greenwood Goosechase. "Quit your bitchin!" I know there was no other choice for what bike jersey I was going to wear. Yet, The Greenwood Goosechase is sort of family orientated and the thought of walking around the event with a "cuss" word on the back of my bike jersey was something that I really did not want to do. Never-the-Less - I was going to wear the bike jersey regardless.

I did not pre-register so I was going to pay extra the day of the event. No biggie. I was unsure how the weather was going to be this weekend so paying the extra five bones was not an issue.

Fast Forward - The event looked pretty packed to me and I did chose the 45 mile ride - there was no option to chose anything less than the maximum mileage of this event. I saw a lot of bike jerseys that were just plain and simple. I also saw the Elephant Rock bike jersey for this year, the event that sold out before the day of the event. I saw some nice bike. I also saw some nice thighs from several women. Oh la la.

Registration went well and it was off to the starting line. I saw a lot of riders, but not really packed, packed. I picked a spot to wait for the starting time. I took a good hard look around me. I saw a bike that looked just like Andrea, but no where near the excellent condition that I have taken care of Andrea. I saw no other Southpark bike jersey.

The gun went off and my destiny awaited. I waited at the starting line until almost all the riders cleared out of the starting area. It was about two minutes later that I finally got going. The stranglers, but keeping ourselves safe from the maniac riders that must begin racing once it is time to start. Not me - as I stated before my MO is usually to work from the back of the back to the start of the pack. I like being behind and working myself to the top during any biking event. Being in front means trying to stay in front while you have an elite group of cyclist chasing you down. And more often than not it is the solo bike rider that must overcome a few riders of a cycling club working together to chase up down. Two, three and more riders working together will overtake a solo rider any day of the week.

Yet, there is an exception to that rule. I can decimate about all cyclists on a climb. Period. Damn proud and very confident stating that for the record.

Anyway, I started out slow savoring the start of my first official bike event of 2008. I also was in the mode of showing off my bike jersey. Not even 50 feet out of the starting line "Quit your bitchin" is what I hear when I slowly passed a few riders. They laughed and I smiled in return, not that they could see that smile of mine. It was worth every 80.00 bones I paid for the bike jersey.

After about 1 mile I decided it was go time. I also decided to take the extra longer route through the Highland canal. This was decided since I wanted the extra mileage, but in addition the weather was sunny so that meant the dirt trail was dry.

In fact it was too dry. All of riders who chose the Highland canal trail were leaving dust trails in our wake. It was that dusty and not that windy so the dust was sort of hanging in the air. This was especially good news since that meant all I have to do is get a wet paper towel and just wipe Rebecca clean later on.

Finally, onto Belleview and that meant this where I lose any cyclist following me on the trail and more importantly to see how my training has been going for the year. Coming off the Highland canal and going East is a pure climb towards to I-25 and then a bit 1/2 mile reprieve and another climb to the Cherry Creek State Park Reservoir. All in all it is a good warm up for the legs. I would say it took me about 50 yards to get in the rhythm, after that it was all business. I did do pretty good.

I was decimating a cycling club with a light gray and orange highlights bike jersey. I think, I saw Denver Hyatt printed on the back of the bike jersey, but I am not sure. I passed a couple of them. I started passing a lot mountain bike riders. Spinning in a high cadence rhythm (is that right?) and going nowhere fast. Me - I was in the lowest gear slowly turning the crank with a nice fluid motion. I got up a few times out of my seat to exert my dominance on the climb when I thought there was going to be a wheel sucker on the back of me. Not going to happen.

Then, as I was getting near Quebec street I see some spectacular calves pedaling away on a mountain bike in front of me. I was about 40 to 60 yards away, but the definition of the silhouette of the calves was remarkable. Definitely what I liked! I put the pedal down and decided right then to see how old, how good looking this woman rider might be. I caught her pretty easily and I saw that she was a bit older than me, but nothing I can not handle. I was still in awe of her calves. Yes, as you can guess calves, well a nice pair of calves is a huge thing for me.

Then, as a few of us got near I-25 the policia were in force and it was a stop and go traffic to get to the other side of I-25. I took in some water since I had time and surveyed my company. Not too bad. Then that is when I saw two riders of another cycling club sprint by me on the short downhill from I-25. I got back into the grind and then we were off climbing up Belleview once more. I saw that the distance that had opened up was closing fast between me and those two riders. Hmmm. Perhaps those two are not that good of a hill climber? Or perhaps saving strength? But, saving strength on a 48 mile route. Highly unlikely.

Soon, it was the two in front of me and me closing the distance fast. Soon enough I was on the back tire of the two and was deciding whether or not I should pass or see what these two were up to. Then I noticed that there was a third team member on the back left of my wheel. They (he) had boxed me in so I could not pass his two team mates. Motherfucker. I looked back left, looked in front and then took in the distance and speed I would need to "escape" the boxing they did to me. I was going no matter what and should the back rider hit my back wheel he is going down - not I. I can control a back tire hit, but rarely a front tire hit. I saw the chance and took it pretty soon I dusted that three person team. I kicked up my pedaling another notch and soon enough I looked behind me and I could not even see them.

I put some distance in between me and I also got the policeman's go ahead to turn towards Cherry Creek Reservoir. Thank goodness. I soon arrived at the turn off and over shot the entrance over the Dam. Well, that was the opportunity to let that team that boxed me in go ahead of me. The three were cruising at a good rate and alternating the lead. Meanwhile, I had to go from an almost dead stop to back up to riding speed. The wind had picked up a bit, a few riders were on the Dam, but really scattered over the Dam so there was no one really out on the Dam road.

Since I was riding solo and this was a real test of my training since the beginning of the year I decided to make this ride all about me and not wheel suck anyone. I let other small groups of riders go past me, which I had every opportunity to slip in back of their slipstream, but decided against that. So, going solo was something I felt pretty good about. Well, only three small groups got ahead of me and some single riders were slowly being overtaken by me.

Then, I caught some rider off the back left and 4 feet away. Basic standard spacing for any triathlon event for not getting DQ for drafting. I also saw that one drafting group was slowing down or I was speeding up and soon enough I knew that I could bridge the gap and catch them. I decided to show off right there. I got out off my seat and got those thighs moving. I saw that I was closing the distance on the Dam road in front of me. I took a quick look behind me and I saw that I literally left that rider to the left of me behind. Well, needless to say I bridged the gap before we got off the Dam road and I was pretty happy for myself doing that. This also help me gain some distance between the three riders who boxed me in.

Yes, the getting out of the saddle and riding like the wind took a big effort, but after that moment I did not feel that I had wasted any strength nor did I feel winded after that little effort. A short descent into Cherry Creek State Park with weaving on a bike path from the Northern Entrance. Then, a short distance later it was onto the asphalt road of the park. I had made myself go in sync with the other riders around me and get some water into me. I knew that there was another hill climb in the park and this was where I was going to make up distance I lost on the flats to the three riders.

The hill approaches and I saw that most, if not all riders, had slowed and dropped into their easy gears. Meanwhile, this was another shot (spot) to shine and show off. I kept Rebecca in the deepest gear and soon enough we cleared the first small climb without incident. I did pass about 10 riders. Then, there was a short flat and then another climb and that was when I saw the three going up the second hill. Damn, I was back into contention. Hill climbers they are not.

Soon it was onto the exit road of Cherry Creek State Park that empties onto Parker Road. A flat part of the course and this was time to catch some of my breath and see how much more of an effort I can get out of me. Mind you readers, I do not think that I had even gone 10 miles and I was pushing myself to LT breakdown. Parker Road came and went and it was onto the bike path from Parker Road into the State Park. We had company from riders going the opposite way, walker, dog walkers, and other riders going slower than us to deal with.

I saw the three in front and it was at this point that I realize that these three are going to be an incentive to push me to my limits (within reason, of course).

Flashback - the mayor of Greenwood Village had said at the beginning of the bike event that there was a rough rough on the East side of the Park and we should watch out.

Well, I was looking and keeping an eye out, but I could not for the life figure out where she was talking about. I knew Cherry Creek State Park, but never remembered any real part of the course being rough. Well, I reached a point in the course where we had always turned right, well this year the sign indicated keep going straight. That was when I knew this had to be the part that is rough. I keep my fingers on both sets of brakes, the path got rough and rougher. The morning sun was also casting shadows from the trees onto the bike path. I rounded a sharp corner I took wide, thankfully, and saw that the path had literally a big hole in the middle of the path. No asphalt was to be seen except for a few inches on either side of the hole (from what I remember).

In the spilt second I saw the hole I chose a path that looked pretty good to ride through. I did good. Then, the bike path had literally disappeared and I had to ride through another damage area of the bike path. Out of the woods and I could see the Cherry Creek State Road inside the park. Yet, there was an S curve and at the beginning of the S curve was a nice (a sarcastic nice) patch of sand (fine grain sand from the look of it). Fuck. I knew I was fucked. I could not turn at the speed I was going at without losing control of my bike. And I was not going down. No fucking way. I kept a straight line and rode through the sand and rode out onto the side of a hill onto the road, which the volunteers had stopped traffic just in time. I was not going fast, but I was not going slow.

It was time to get onto the road I was familiar with last year and that was bump, bump, bump from all the tarring that the park has done to fill in the cracks of the Cherry Creek State Park road. I hate those bumps. Small bumps, but can be felt on the handlebars and with every lap in the park it is fucking annoying to feel.

I saw more riders which I was able to pass with ease. Then, from the left of me it was one of the three riders that boxed me in. He was apparently playing catch up from somewhere and was trying to get to his other two teammates. Soon enough he was gone from my sight, only due to me keeping the pace I was at and him going all out to catch up to his teammates. I also attracted a wheel sucker that I noticed. I decided to make him work for keeping on my back wheel. Once more kicked it up a notch and soon enough he and I were working who could out ride the other. No contest, but he did pretty well keeping pace for about a 1/2 mile.

Now, it was onto a part of the course that I despise. Blind corners, always crowded, and very hard to get any speed. Which in fact this year I was able to use to help me catch the three. It is a gradual hill climb to the turnaround point, so that helped me to catch them faster. And more importantly, when the third rider caught up he had to catch his breath before the three started riding like the wind..

Soon enough, we four hit the turnaround point and apparently the three ran into a "friend." They stopped, I did not. This was my time to put some distance between them and me on the downhill and flats of the course. I did put the hammer down once more and got myself going as fast and safely as possible. I wanted distance since I know that these three will soon overcome me. Me against the three.

I had a nice ride back on the path to the road inside the park. Soon enough I was on a part of the road that I do enjoy. No bump, bump, bump and this is also an area of Cherry Creek Reservoir that I work on my sprinting. You either go with the wind or you go into the wind. Not a bad place of asphalt and that is why that I enjoy this little stretch of road. I did take a look behind me and saw no other riders, specifically the three.

I never looked back until the hill climb to the south entrance of Cherry Creek State Park. I saw one of the three riders making the hill climb behind me about 40 yards to estimate. I did not see the other two, but I am sure that they were right around the blind corner / tree. I decided to put some extra effort into my climbing and this was the opportunity to put distance once more between me and the three.

At the top of the hill was the rest station. I had water and I still had some orange goo and I did not have to go to the restroom. With that, I passed the rest station and headed down the front of the Dam on the bike path. I rested and drank more water since I had the chance to recover. I did not know if the three were going to stop or if they were going to try and catch up to me. It was all downhill and I was sort of keeping back some strength since there is another hill climb on the front side of the Dam.

I saw one rider in a green bike jersey and I saw that this rider was all business, like me. That meant I had something to go for and also keep me pushing myself to catch up to the rider. At the distance I was at I could not determine if it was a he or a she. Regardless, this rider was riding pretty darn good. Matter of fact, I could not tell if I was closing the distance between me and that green bike jersey rider. I did pass the same riders that the green bike jersey rider past. Soon, I was in sight of Parker road and I saw the green bike jersey rider just making the corner. I was getting close.

I would say I was about twenty seconds behind from my counting in my head to the point I marked off in my head on where the green jersey bike rider had left. Well, as I crested the top of the hill the rider was a he and he was stopped doing something. So much for that little incentive.

I still had no clue of the three and where they might be at.

And it was once more through the park, the turnaround, the south entrance of the park and then it was onto Greenwood Village once more. I stopped for a breather at the rest stop that I past twice. I was unsure of taking a break or to get back going. Well, I wasted about one minute and then it time to go.

I made the ride from Cherry Creek State Park solo, but I saw in front of me many, many riders that were held up at a intersection (Belleview). Nice, but not nice. I soon cleared the mass group of riders and was on my own on a short hill climb. I reached the top and soon I was coasting down to Orchard road at the speed of 21 mph (courtesy of the radar speed sign.) I could of rode hard, but I needed to gather some energy back from that little hil climb and not to mention that extra effort I have been doing to keep the three at bay.

I had to stop, red stoplight, at Orchard and it was the three that showed up on my wheel. We four waited about a minute and then we took off. Well, in that minute my leg and calves got a cramp. I could not sit and pedal. nor could I stand in a pedal. I coasted on the down hill trying to stretch the muscles. It was a cramp ready to go critical. I was almost finished and I had to get this cramp loose. I think it was from the hard exertion, and the sudden long stop that got the cramp started. Damn, I did not want to lose the three, but I knew that I was going to.

I let them go. Or they dropped me. Depending on your point of view. I was finally able to sit and pedal, but I needed to get back into a rhythm and keep the cramp at bay. I was able to keep them in sight of me about 50 yards, but eventually lost sight of them due to all the corners on the last four miles of the bike course winding ourselves through the DTC (Denver Tech Center).

The cramp in my calf took its toll and I knew that there was going to no way to catch up to them now. Especially, at the pace that I have been doing for the past two hours. I was tired, but not tired - just spent at mile forty something. I did the turning through the DTC and then soon enough I had reached Orchard once more.

Lo and Behold - the three. They got caught at the intersection at the red light. As well as about 20 other riders. Wow. What luck. I gathered what strength and got ready for the green light.

The three took off, as well as another rider and then me a close forth. The three did not take off immediately, but still kept a nice pace. They were yelling, basically happy yelling for their confidence - perhaps? or the end? Who knows. I would say I kept them at a ten to twenty yard distance. Then, as we neared the Arapahoe Light Rail Station they got the green and I got the yellow and red light right after they cleared the intersection. Fuck. I had the three. And more so, I had the Yosemite Hill climb up and over I-25. I had them. A fucking red light at the right moment for them, a wrong moment for me.

I mentally cursed at no one except the stoplight and my timing. Finally, a green light and it was off once more. About a mile left and I was unhappy that I got the red light when I so had them on the last hill climb.

More turning through every corner in the Denver Tech Center, passing Fiddler's Green and then finally approaching Quebec street at mile 48 for the last time. I coasted into the finish line and that was that.

And my rider number was 1064..

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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