I get it now.
What all the fuss is about.
I want to move to Boulder. I want to pack up my Illinois life, throw my bike in the back seat of the car, maybe bring a few pairs of shorts, move to the mountains to live with a scruffy mountain man. Cowboy hat not optional.
But wait. I’m married. And sadly Chris does not look so good in a cowboy hat.
But a helmet? That’s just his style.
And right now we are in the perfect place for helmets and bikes. We are in Boulder. It is beautiful, it is dry, it is surrounded by mountains standing tall under a big blue sky.
And up this way, we found the Red Bear. That’s right – we’ve bear-napped Red Bear from his Fort Collins cave. He is staying with us and he is trying hard to Ragbrai our hotel room. But I won’t let him. We do not turn the hotel room into a Ragbrai van. I repeat – WE DO NOT.
This morning, we met up with Seton and Sarah for a swim. 4 x 300, 4 x 200…it was about the third 200 when either the bear jumped on my back. The Red Bear warned me that the altitude would do this – you’ll find yourself in the hurt locker but unlike the flatlands it will take longer to get back out. You’ll redline and stay there stewing in a big pot of your own lactic acid.
So by the last set of 4 x 100 when Chris said, red-faced, this really hurts, I agreed and felt like I was holding my breath for the entire 50 sprint in the middle of each 100. The burn would build and build until finally I reached the wall.
The last 350 we took turns thinking up 25’s – from Seton’s human doggie paddle, Sarah’s “I’ll pass”, my polo swim, and then Chris – underwater no breath. I reached the wall with one breath and nearly saw the wizard. And let me tell you he looks different at this elevation.
Later in the afternoon, Red Bear took us to Carter Lake. The ride was mostly flat with some small hills and then a climb to the lake. I enjoyed every opportunity to cruise by Chris on all of the hills while singing my new “Compact Crank” song. At one point, RB was leading and I was right behind. We climbed a small hill and looked behind to see we had dropped Chris. RB and I rejoiced and shouted that we had been waiting YEARS to say “we dropped Chris” (but this is the first, last, and only time we will get to say that).
The climb to the lake was short but steep and even the compact crank didn’t help. After 1 minute I was truly in the hurt locker, maybe even the hurt shop, and when we got to the top Adam and I sorted out the difference between the hurt shop, the hurt locker, the kennel of death, and one he just invented – the tunnel of fire.
Tomorrow we are doing Peak To Peak. Someone tried to point out which peaks we were riding to but it doesn’t matter. They’re all really high and all look really far away. And getting there will undoubtedly require a trip to the hurt shop. I better bring cash. Because this trip to the hurt shop – after “dropping” Chris today – is going to cost me (and the Red Bear).