This turned out to be a pretty decent endurance weekend, at the mtnrunner2 level: 20-mile run and a 40-mile ride (not epic but I am rolling Nevegals on a mountain bike).
After waking up and seeing wet pavement and cloudy skies Sunday, things finally turned nice in the afternoon, resulting in nearly perfect riding weather. I wanted to do a long ride of some kind, and hadn't seen the paths south of Bear Creek, so I decided to do a big loop of south metro Denver: ride Bear Creek into town, head south along the Platte River, then loop back around on the hilly C-470 bike path. Mostly paved, but with the opportunistic stretch of singletrack taken here and there.
I don't have a lot of pictures of the Platte or C-470 sections, because it was industrial and/or un-photogenic (as mountain views along a higway go) and I was cranking along and didn't stop much. I did snap a picture of these bluish-purple flowers that, for whatever reason, lined almost the entire path:
The goal here was to build endurance for long bouts of climbing. The speed limit on most of the path was 15 mph, and I did a decent job of keeping it pegged around that for the flat sections, and up above 9-10 mph for most of the uphills. A few of the hills on C-470 tested me and had me yelling out loud from the burn, but my moving average was just below 13 mph for the entire ride which I'm pretty happy with. Heck, yeah.
But I sure was glad to get back around to the familiar territory of Bear Creek Lake:
I took the singletrack down, and probably clocked a couple of miles total on dirt in spite of the omnipresence of concrete today.
Then, I was back in the "jungle" along Bear Creek, riding in mellow fashion through the woods. There tend to be a fair number of dog walkers and kids (both love the creek!), so I kept things easy:
Here are some more of the dead trees around where I surprised the coyote the other evening. They are suggestive of oddly-shaped body parts:
Ride distance was 40.96 miles, time 3:36 (moving 3:11), elevation gain/loss 1,146 feet, avg. speed 11.4 mph (moving 12.9), and max speed 27.8 mph.
As I said, I'm pretty happy with how this went. It took less time than I planned, and I managed to keep the pace up. I have to say riding really works different muscles from running; in spite of a deliberate attempt to keep turnover high and use the entire leg, my thighs are beat. No issues at all in the knees. Also no issues in the hands, which were a problem at first, and I'm not sure if that's my developing technique, pushing hard with the legs, or the new riser bars. They were pretty comfortable the whole time.