Day 3 was a very special affair. The highlights started with a very interesting breakfast conversation with Dr. Allen Lim. “Yes” that Allen Lim. The one-time Director of Sport Science for the Garmin and RadioShack cycling teams. Perhaps better-known today as the founder of Skratch Labs. Among a myriad of other things, Allen talked about adapting to high altitude. I wish he had told me about taking an iron supplement to help maintain blood oxygen levels before I arrived in Boulder.
After keeping Allen speaking for far longer than planned, we all piled into cars for the ride to Golden. The home of the Colorado School of Mines, the Coors Brewing Company, and on this day, the starting point for a ride that would end atop Lookout Mountain.
We started from the Starbucks parking lot on Washington Avenue in Golden. A spot most convenient for its access to bathroom facilities. We rolled south through Golden, but unfortunately not under the famous arch. Which would have been the second highlight of the day. That section of Washington Avenue was already closed for the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge from Golden to Denver.
The next highlight came about 10km / 6mi later, on the climb up West Alameda Parkway in North Dinosaur Park. We rode past sets of dinosaur footprints in the rock face to our right. How cool is that?
The highlights kept coming. Around the corner was this sight in Red Rocks Park. It reminded me of Radiator Springs from the Disney-Pixar film Cars.
We rode within spitting distance of the Red Rocks Amphitheater, but didn’t actually see it. Which is a shame, because the photographs are spectacular.
By that time we had climbed about 300m / 980ft, and I was falling behind as I moderated my effort to match my ability to take in oxygen. My ride mates were all fitter than I was! Fortunately we all took a break before the descent down Titans Road.
From here it was 40m / 130ft down in the space of 0.5km / 0.3mi. I could descend faster than some of my riding buddies. But I got left behind again on the 190m / 623ft climb to Idledale. Population 78 or so. The Cognoscenti crowd added at least 15% to that number while we hung out beside the Post Office, refilling bottles and eating Skratch Labs sushi bars and cookies.
We then proceeded to climb another 310m / 1,000ft up South Grapevine Road to Interstate Highway 70. Well, the others climbed. I crawled.
The group waited for me to get to the top of Grapevine so that we could shoot down together. The 11km / 6.8mi run back to Golden took about 18 minutes at speeds up to 70kph / 43.5mph. Wheeee!
Then it was back to heavy breathing and slow going while climbing the 450m / 1,475ft to the top of Lookout Mountain.
The reward at the top was lunch, catered by Cured. Cured is a specialty grocery store, liquor store and delicatessen owned by former Garmin-Slipstream rider Will Frischkorn and his wife. Salads, handcrafted sandwiches, potato chips, nuts, olives, San Pellegrino soda, Poco Dolce chocolate tiles. All under a Cognoscenti tent. Class!
Fed, watered and rested, we made our way on foot to find a good spot to watch the race come over the top of Lookout Mountain. Five riders were in the breakaway.
About two minutes later the rest of the peloton arrived.
After the last of the peloton disappeared over the top of the mountain, we all got on our bikes and shot down the mountain the way we had come up. More wheeee!
We piled into the Cognoscenti vehicles at the Starbucks for the ride back to Boulder. After a shower and a short rest I had a sports massage. One of two massages that each of us could have during our time in Boulder. All I can say is “OUCH!” That guy had hard elbows.
Dinner was once again outstanding. This time in OAK at Fourteenth. We had meatball and ahi tuna spoons, shaved apple and kale salad, peach and tomato salad, grilled New York strip steak, curried halibut and calamari, and pasta. Followed by salted caramel pudding.
The rides get bigger with each passing day. And the good food just keeps on coming. What will Day 4 bring?