Monday, October 22, 2007

Highway US-287

Earlier this week Kyle told me about how one time he biked to Fort Collins to see his buddy Tony. Whenever my friends come up with something cool they can do, I always think to myself "Well if they can do it.... so can I".

I really love my bike and I really love riding it. It gets me places much faster than walking! Anthony taught me how to ride a bike when I was 19. Before then I'd always been too scared to do it because I fell when I was little and that left me traumatized. So I have 19 years of cycling to catch up on and I feel like I'm finally off to a good start.

Meet Betty Blue: She's loyal, she's light and she's FAST. She's my Giant OCR3 2006 18-speed road bike. Our goal: bike 20 miles from Boulder to Longmont, Colorado and back. Kyle had told me the ride was flat and easy, but having never lived in Illinois, he has a terrible misconception of the term "flat". What he really meant was that there is no altitude gain between Boulder and Fort Collins, but in between there are tons of rolling hills that you have to bike up and down. It was killing me. I took several breaks during my trip, sometimes I stopped when I got to the top of the hill to catch my breath and also to be able to look back at the landscape.

The ride between Boulder and Longmont was most enjoyable. I saw farms, horse ranches, snowy mountains, all in the ever changing shades of fall season. It was gorgeous. I took Arapahoe avenue and went east until I hit US-287, then north all the way. After 1 hour and 15 minutes we got to Longmont. Piece of cake for Betty, so when we got there we decided that Fort Collins could not be too far ahead, why turn back now? I already knew that if I survived the trip to Fort Collins, I probably would not be able to make it back. Luckily Kyle was going to go up there anyways to have lunch with his buddy Tony, and this time he was driving, so he agreed to give me a ride back home.

Longmont was a nice little city, it has a very cute downtown and for some reason there is a liquor store in every block. The next town after Longmont was Loveland, which wasn't very lovely at all. It gave me a general feeling of emptiness and unhappiness and I got yelled at by some dumb bitch in her car who told me to use the sidewalk instead of the street. My problem with that is that the sidewalks were terrible and my crotch was hurting bad enough already. So I took the sidewalk whenever it look like it was in good enough shape. The views between Longmont and Loveland weren't as pretty and I got bored at times, but that only made me pedal faster. After I got through that craphole, Loveland, I kept saying to myself "I'm almost there, just a few more miles" I was REALLY tired at this point and for some reason my left fingers and left toes were going numb and cramping up. My speed diminished significantly when I was going through Loveland, I knew I was pushing my body to the limit, I don't usually exercise like this. But low and behold, as I was barely making it up this last stupid hill when my legs were near giving out, I see the sign I've been dreaming of for hours: "Fort Collins City Limit". So of course I stopped to stretch, drink some water and take a picture of Betty next to the grand prize. I felt like Lance Armstrong, I had done it. I kept going a little longer after that because I was supposed to find a good place to get picked up by Kyle. Bikes weren't allowed on the street in Fort Collins so I had to take the sidewalk and that slowed me down a lot. I went passed a huge strip mall and several car dealerships, finally I found a gas station with a nice little bench were I could settle down and stretch properly. Kyle got there a little later and we went to lunch with Tony.

Total travel time: about 3 hours and 20 minutes (several short breaks included, and slowing down whenever going through city traffic).

- Giant OCR3 2006 road bike: $599.99

- Schwinn youth size helmet: $16.99 at Target

- Registration fee at CU's bike station that allows me to do regular maintenance on Betty: $10

- Granola bar and Camelbak: FREE, I stole them from Kyle

- Riding my bike for 45.9 miles: priceless

Here is my route. If you want to attempt this (and I can't think of anyone who couldn't, I mean I did it, and so can you) remember to bring lots of water, some energy bars in case your sugar goes low, put on sunscreen and always wear a helmet! safety first! And of course you should have your cell phone and some money in case you get a flat or get into an accident or something. Yay me!


Keenan said...

Man, you have me totally outclassed... and I used to think it was a long *drive* to Ft. Collins! Glad to see you're on your way to becoming a true Boulder yuppie. :)

Anthony said...

That's pretty far. My little duckling has outgrown me! I don't think I've ridden my bike that far in one sitting.

Queen of the Bongo said...

Aw... you guys...

Parisa said...

Dude, you should have told that bitch that if she has space sharing issues, she can drive on the sidewalk. Bikes are for roads.

Eric said...

i love that you had to by a children's helmet. that is priceless.