A friend of mine got a new bicycle. She’s excited to get out on it and is planning on riding in the MS 150 this June. She e-mailed us the day after New Year’s to invite her cycling friends to come and play and to follow the beer trailer for two days of riding from Denver to Fort Collins and back on the Left Hand Brewery team. Now this is a great idea. It’s going to be a fun ride. It’s flat and relatively easy and a guy will actually be cycling with cold beers in a bike trailer–there is no downside.
That’s when the e-mail thread started to get stupid. One friend wrote that we could “train” for the MS 150 by riding the Elephant Rock Century. I rode this easy enough 100 mile bike ride last year. It was a beautiful ride through rolling high plains south of Denver. While I was certainly exhausted during the ride, selective memory had me believing it was actually kind of easy once it was over. I think I’ll skip that one.
Then another added, joking, I can only assume, that we could always do the Triple Bypass. The Triple Bypass is such a coveted Colorado ride that it registration filled up for this ride last year in just fourteen days. There are many stupid people in the world after all. It’s 120 miles over three Rocky Mountain passes for a total climb of over 10,000 feet (3000 m) in a single day. It’s so popular that you can sell a registration to it on Craigslist.
But I didn’t think of that when I agreed to do it. I didn’t think of just how difficult this ride really is and that the occasional long-ish weekend ride will hardly be enough training to complete this mother of all Colorado rides. No, I only thought of the bragging rights. Your entry fee includes a jersey, after all, and Colorado cyclists see these jerseys on the roads now and again, and they have no choice but to think how strong the wearer must be. (I hope they don’t give out the jersey after completing the ride…)
We signed up. Sitting at computers at different locations we counted down before pressing the button at the same time, allowing peer pressure to inspire us to new heights of stupidity. Less than a day later, the ride was already full. 3500 riders had joined in under four days, a new record. Stupidity knows no bounds.
After I looked at a suggested training program, my stupidity started to turn into fear. At an average of 12 miles per hour (which at my current fitness level would be quite an achievement) I’ll spend 10 hours on the bike. The only way I will survive is by actually ‘training’ not just ‘putting in a few miles’. Regular rides, cross training, core strengthening, multiple times a week, every week. Crazy. Why did I do this? I have no choice now. Stupid peer pressure. From now until 11th of July, this blog will regularly be taken over by reports on my progress. Feel free to laugh at the quixotic nature of my quest. I’ll log miles here and people with actual experience can tell me how much more I need to be doing if I expect to do this thing in less than 12 hours. Oh, and I’ve got some business travel to do first, so, I’ll get right to all that training…in February.