I had a pretty rough day on Friday. As much as I love my job, sometimes there can be trouble in paradise. It was so rough that it was on my mind all weekend and dragging me down. Which is a shame because today, June 3rd, is supposed to be great: It’s Sharon and my 24th wedding anniversary! 24 awesome years with an awesome woman. WOOT! I even took the day off from work today to celebrate with her, however all the celebrations were muted. Thank you work. Ugh.
I needed a win. I needed something so crazy that I could say, “Despite that crap, I did this!” I needed that feeling that I could focus on something big, crazy, and somehow still achievable today. I thought for a second and suddenly some uninvited voice in my head said, “Hey, why don’t you Bike to downtown Denver?” Wait, what?
You see, I live in Louisville, which is about a 30 minute freeway drive to downtown Denver. I occasionally bike to work in Westminster, which is about 8-10 miles away depending which route I take. I can go the shorter route, but the hills are steeper and longer. Or I can go a longer route, which have less steep hills, but still hills. Either way I’m stuck on a path that has me sucking wind like a dying bagpipe. It takes my slow butt just under an hour to bike there. It’s brutal. Oh yeah, then after working 10 hours, I get to bike home too. Hills both ways. How is that even possible?
Also, I’m not exactly the poster child of health either. Just a month ago I weighed in at 250. I’ve been actively trying to lose weight and I am down to 231 right now, but it’s still a far distant glimmer to my goal weight of 185. Being overweight has been a struggle my entire life. Hopefully that’ll be the subject of a future blog post, how I lost the weight.
So, when my brain farted the words, “Bike to Denver, Webb!” you can now understand the context of why it felt a little crazy, and probably exactly the kind of crazy I needed.
Ok, let’s plan this fool’s errand! I excitedly opened Google Maps, typed in my home address with directions to Union Station in Denver. I switched from “Car” to “Bike” mode, and Google quickly found a reasonably safe bike route. I dragged around a few of the blue lines it until the path looked interesting and I was able to stay on bike paths and sidewalks nearly the entire distance. I used Street View to verify the bike safety conditions were when I had a doubt.
You can Click the + below to see the map.
Quick Tip: I learned that pressing CTRL+SHIFT+4 in Google Maps will display all bike routes. WHAT! Right? Bikers rejoice!
- Turn on Strava, check.
- 2x Bottles of water, check.
- Clif Bar (Caramel Toffee w/Sea Salt… Oooo yeah), check.
- Overcast and 77 degrees, check.
Time to hit the road! The first 10 miles were exactly the torture I had come to expect since they were effectively the same path I take to work. They were tough. Up hills. My bald head leaking sweat like a water tap. Down hills. Heart pounding out of my chest. Gulping water like I’m stranded in a desert. Etc.
I got through a few more tough climbs, including the 1.5 mile stretch from Walnut Creak to 92nd Ave, but then something happened I didn’t expect. The path evened out. No more vomit-inducing climbs. Heck there were even some nice downhills to give my chrome-dome a well-needed breeze. For the next hour and a half, all I experienced were enjoyable light rolling hills. I couldn’t believe it. My leg muscles still groaned, but I was able to force them to push my 231lb body along at 15-20 mph. What was happening? Had I hit some sort of “bikers high?” I don’t know, but it was awesome. I need to figure out how to find this zen more often.
Cruising along, and I read a sign in passing. Screeeeetch! I jammed my breaks and backed it up… what did I just read? Yeah, that’s a pretty accurate assessment of the moistness situation.
About the 25 mile mark I turned a corner, the trees parted, and I saw the silhouette of the downtown buildings against the sky. How did 10 miles go by so easily? Crazy! What was in that Cilf Bar? Just to be safe, I had another bite.
Yeah… I was so in the moment that I forgot to take photos. Sorry! Honestly, I didn’t plan on making this a blog until after it was all over.