There are so many emotions that come after finishing a race. I feel blessed to have been able to train hard, ride hard and have a good race. Part of me is happy that it’s over and part of me is sad to end the serious training but it’s always good to have a future goal or race in mind. Fortunately, our riding group is still going strong and will continue to get in some rides each week. As I get older and recovery becomes more difficult, I realize more than ever that staying fit is a way of life for me and should be for everyone.
The 41st riding of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic here in the mountains of southern Colorado had perfect weather and warmer than usual temperatures. I hadn’t raced in the “B” category before and it seemed to have a large start group. Somehow at age 55, I started with my friend who is 29. She and I shared a few feisty words about how slow the peloton was going and that riders were not talking to each other about road hazards (like orange traffic cones) and slowing riders as they should have been. It was very nerve-wracking and I’m not anxious to do that again! Because of the lack of group riding etiquette and the slow tempo out the valley we decided to take the lead, breaking the cardinal rules of going out too hard and fast. We asked the riders behind us to come up to take the lead but they were content to draft behind us. Perhaps that was their plan all along and we just got sucked in to leading…live and learn.
The waterfalls as we ascended were spectacular from the winter snow melt-off and were momentary distractions from the steep climbing that went on for about three hours. Spectators lined the crests of Coal Bank and Molas Pass with music blaring. The descents were fast and incredibly beautiful with no traffic. The last mile into Silverton is slightly uphill and is lined with friends and family members ringing cow bells and shouting words of encouragement. I’m so grateful to have been able to participate with friends and help train our cycling team, Core Value Fitness. All 24 team riders finished the race and enjoyed mass quantities of food and drink, recounting the minute details of their ride. The camaraderie is really special and something to be cherished. It is a healthy activity with a positive outcome for all involved. Our family celebrated with a tasty dinner in town, dark chocolate bars and a half gallon of Breyer’s ice cream.
I think of my dear friend Cindy, who lost her battle with cancer about a month ago and my neighbor Dave, who was a top ranked cyclist and skier who had a freak accident while skiing in Telluride last month. He is now fighting to regain any movement at all in his arms and legs at Craig Rehab Hospital. They would want us to do the best and be the best we can be, all the time. They were with me in spirit during every peak, valley, and pedal revolution of this race.
I’ll be putting together a short family video from the Iron Horse day to post here, so stay tuned! Special thanks to my husband who sacrificed to help me train for hours on end, shuttled cars, put on/took off bike racks, picked up kids from school, sat for hours at baseball practice, listened to all my road warrior stories and still, after 19 years of marriage, rubs my feet every night.
Find your own ride or adventure, believe in yourself, and get moving!