Tag Archives: Amanda Bye
This needs no description, only a pull quote from the below: ”People have asked if I was disappointed with the race. My response was, “Not at all. I learned that the best part of racing is having teammates who truly care more about how the team does than themselves. This was never more apparent to me than today.” Here’s Amanda 1.0′s story.
NOTE: Photos by Shawn Curry
Most people have the one race that they want to do well in during the season. My race this year fell on Cinco de Mayo and was the legandary Koppenberg, which is another stellar race put on by Without Limits Productions. It is a road race consisting of a 5 mile circuit of which half the lap is dirt, with a brutal 17% grade dirt, two track ‘berg’ (hill) and a fast pavement descent. The Cat 4 Naked women always have a pre-planned race strategy, but execution is always the tough part. That day the plan was for my teammates, who are either cyclo-cross racers or bad ass power houses, to get the hole shot with me and then to tow me to the finish line. I was to sit in as much as possible. Early on I started to inch up to the front and 2.0 motioned for me to sit on her wheel, no words had to be spoken as we both knew that I needed to conserve energy. Apparently, we were not the only women that morning with a plan. Two strong riders attacked from the start. I tried with the help of my teammate, Brittany Jones, to stay with them but alas I could not hold the pace and I told her to go catch them. 2.0 worked hard to catch me on the descent and then to pull me the entire downhill portion and back onto the dirt.
Two laps of the same pattern, working very hard on the dirt and hills and then being pulled half the lap by 2.0 and Amy Thompson. Third and final lap, this is it and I am sitting well in what I thought was 8th place. I am pushing with everything that I have and feel like I am going to vomit, then my front tire starts to bump around more than usual. No way did I puncture. Within one more pedal stroke, it is completely flat. 2.0 is there within a few seconds and asks what happened. I let her know that I flatted and for her to continue going. Without a moment of hesitation, she does the unthinkable, brakes and tells me in a firm voice to take my front wheel off. I don’t even have a second to respond and she has placed her wheel on my bike, tells me to take a deep breath, pushes me to start up the hill and says, “Go get them. This is YOUR race.” The remainder of the race I push to the limits of my heart rate and come in 7th place. Brittany got 2nd place and both Emily and 2.0, among many others, did not finish due to flat tires. 2.0 did have a tube and fixed my flat but then got another one. People have asked if I was disappointed with the race. My response was, “Not at all. I learned that the best part of racing is having teammates who truly care more about how the team does than themselves. This was never more apparent to me than today.”
I am ashamed to say that I would never have thought in that high-intensity moment to give a teammate a wheel but 2.0 gave up her spot in the race for me and did so without a moment’s hesitation. My other teammates worked very hard to put me in a good position and for that I am grateful. The teamwork is more important to me than what place I ended up in, what category I race or how my fitness and training are going. This will forever be a moment that I remember and cherish but please don’t tell 2.0. She does not read my race reports and I don’t want her to know how important she is to the team.
PS – all was not lost, my placing did get me an upgrade point towards becoming a Cat 3, here I come ladies.
Amanda 1.0 can’t stay out of the dirt. The cyclocrosser took to Weld County to work with our other cat 4s to secure a podium spot. Naked Women’s Racing would like to send warm, healing thoughts to all of those women who were affected by the crash.
This road race had a little bit of everything with both dirt and pavement sections. The one-mile of packed down dirt had a good line to the right. However, the remainder of the dirt path would jar your upper body, bounce around your smooth pedal stroke and toss waterbottles right out of their once secure cages and into other riders. Hence the neutral area led by a pace motorcycle was welcomed by many riders, although the cyclocross riders were a little disappointed since dirt is what we ride best and thus is a slight advantage for us. After the dirt, there was a right hand turn and then the remaining 12 miles was pavement with a few well-marked potholes and corrugated cattle guards. The neutral start came to an end a few hundred feet onto the asphalt. The previous chatty cat 4s, got into their drops and quickened the pace. Everyone was getting into a good drafting position when the unmistakable sound of beautifully designed machines clamoring into each other and fellow racers going down with them was heard. This split the pack. Worried about our cyclist friends who had crashed and hoping that everything was okay, we continued on the course. Some women in the front of the pack did not hear the crash occur. The race had dwindled from 39 people starting to the lead group of 15 women working together and I will proudly say communicating well. We were like a flock of birds trying to stay guarded from the wind and of course Amanda 2.0 AKA Goose was our fearless leader in the front making a flying V formation and keeping her teammates (and others) out of the wind.
Team tactics had been discussed prior to the race but we were also in contact during the race to ensure there were no changes. 2.0 would gently remind me to draft when my urge-to-surge would kick in. We completed the first lap and then turned back onto the dirt once again, this seemed to go better the second time. Four miles to the finish, a racer attacked. 2.0 had been pulling for almost the entire race and our other teammate was strong at hills and thus was a more likely candidate to do well at the end of the race, so I chased the racer. I was several feet away from her when I felt like I had nothing left. How could I get so close to bridging the gap and then give up now but I had nothing left? That is when Shelley Hartman saved the day. She was on my wheel, came around and proceeded to bridge the remainder of the gap. The pace picked up as we were nearing the end of the race.
This is such a supportive and amazing group of riders. As we approached the finish, you could hear people cheering for each other, 2.0 telling me that I could keep going (even though my body vehemently disagreed with her) and Breeze Brown from Primal Women’s Racing pulling me back into the group after I started to yo-yo off the back. I did get dropped with 1K to go but it did not matter. The most important part of racing is having fun and being with other supportive women. The win does not build as many memories as the camaraderie and connection between these women. That being stated, our teammate Brittany Jones did get 3rd place that day and congrats to her for racing smart and sticking with our plan.
Added bonus to this race report our 2.0s quotes of the day:
1. “If you want your race numbers (there were two) to fit, eat a sandwich.”
2. As we were all climbing the last section of the race, “Every climber that I beat up this hill, owes me a beer.”
3. Very end of the race, “Shut up legs.” This got a mid breath chuckle from many riders and someone later stated that they thought, “Yeah legs SHUT UP.”
We just had our team camp and had 20+ Race and Club team ladies come from all over Colorado to convene in Moab, Utah during the Skinny Tire Festival (great item Roberta won at the BRAC Road Awards Party). We played in the dirt, road through state and national parks, national monuments, and drank a little too much wine. Here’s a very brief recap from the twins but more to follow of our team camp.
As kids we went to camp to get away, stay up late, eat food our parents would never give us, and not shower. As adults camp is actually very similar. The Amandas packed all our chamois, a couple extra bottles of wine, and headed West to Camp Naked Moab with 18 of our fellow teammies.
Here are 10 things we learned from Camp Naked Moab:
- Berta “The Basa$$” will teach you everything from paceling to Peace Corp Popcorn
- Even though everyone might like the twins, not everyone considers the best part of waking up is overly excited Amandas chitty chatty loudly.
- Your legs aren’t the only things that need to shut up; butt, thighs, feet, Helga, etc…
- The scenery always makes up for the elevation gain… ALWAYS.
- Riding with your teammies in crumy weather is way better than riding indoors & alone…period.
- Real team bonding happens at a winery.. chocolate, cheese, and wine are great for recovery!
- There are no deer in Utah!
- Jumping fences is only legal when there are hot tubs behind them
- Paul is the best husband any group of Naked cyclist sister wives could ever have
- We have the greatest group of teammates and friends anyone could ask for
Already looking forward to Camp Steamboat,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DENVER, Colo (February 19, 2013) – After last years triumphant debut of the Naked twins, we are pleased and concerned to announce the return of the Amandas.
“Last year was like waking up from a comma to discover you had a twin you never knew about and the weirdest part is she looks just like me” said Amanda Cyr.
“Yeah, all my life I knew I was missing something but never did I imagine it was a twin I never knew I had!” weeped Amanda Bye. “She is the padding to my chamois” smirked Cyr and “she is the cream to my itch” winked Bye.
They both have had to work through their new found identical identities though. Cyr talks about having to overcome learning that her twin had in fact tried to eat her in the womb. ”There was a reason I felt like I had been in a zombie movie in my past life.”
“I have always loved me some BBQ and there is no hiding that” Bye said jokingly…we hope.
Quick Left CEO and Colorado Womens Cycling Project sponsor Ingrid Alongi was overheard stating “I would rank them in a top 500 female cycling twins of all times VH1 special if someone paid me.” Rolling Stones magazine is calling this “The most anticipated return to the stage since Milli Vanilli.” Just recently Will.I.AM begged the girls to be featured in his new chart topper “Scream and Shout”.
2013 looks to be a big year for the hottest Naked twins since the Olsen sisters. ”Parents better watch your children cross the street and crazy jumping deer beware” touts Bye. ”No road rash too deep, no curb too high” proclaimed Cyr. ”We are back to bring the Naked Amandas action to a city near you!”
Please start by watching this video from Amanda 1.0, then proceed to the race report. Congrats to all the Naked ladies who represented in Louisville 2013 for Cyclocross Masters World Championships!
There were many unforgettable quotes this weekend. The one that stands out most was by Susan’s coach, Jon Tarkington, “The race is not the most memorable part of the experience. It is everything else.” I have to agree. The race was a 63 minute grueling experience. The training, rides, nerves and spending time with others before and after was much more memorable.
We arrived Monday and got up bright-and-early on Tuesday to pre-ride the course. Not so bad, warm weather, cloudy, did not need leg or arm-warmers. The course itself had some off-camber turns, some easy barriers as they were on a flat area of the course, sand that would easily pack down from the humidity. The most challenging area was a run up, then an off-camber s-turn, another run up and a steep descent before heading back to the finish. Did it take some practice? Yes. Was it very technically challenging? No, but that is all about to change.
Middle of the night, we were awoken by tornado warnings, we looked out the window to see high winds and pouring rain (what else would you do during a tornado?). The course was flooded by the morning and the race sign had been blown over. Races were all delayed that morning. We decided to do leg-openers in the heated tent that was provided by the amazing crew at Pro Bike Express but would forego riding the course for fear of injuring ourselves or our bikes. There was a heat that Joan had to race in and they pronounced her last name wrong but said they would get it right when she won the championship. We picked up our race numbers and Susan found out that her new lucky number was actually 18.
Thursday–race day. Joan raced first. It was a muddy mess and cold so the ground was a bit more firm than later in the day. She did very well with few mistakes and took 5th place in the World (women, non-elite, age group).
I then raced and had the fortunate pleasure of a very muddy, grueling course. I had to pit my bike every half lap. At one point my wheels locked up from the mud and I ran my bike into the pit, it was estimated that my bike weighed 45 pounds. My pit crew was absolutely amazing. An announcer said that “Pit crews don’t win a race but they can lose one.” This is absolutely true but luckily my pit crew was flawless. Each time I came through my bike was a mangled mess but when I left it was clean, in the correct gear, pedals in the proper spot, chain back on and ready (although let me also add that they probably had 10 minutes to get it right as I was going that slow). I ran approximately half of each lap with an increase of weight from mud on the cleats, shoes and calves. I kept thinking that I am a cyclist, not a runner, and would try to get back on my bike but could not move. This is also the moment that Michael Hanna’s running intervals came through for me. The downhills were slick and the flats were slow. Two laps done and my legs were burning like never before, I pointed to the time as I could not speak from over-exertion trying to indicate that my race was over as I was pass the time limit. The official looks and me and calmly states that the “Race isn’t over until I say it is over. One more lap…” It takes everything in me to not DNF. According to the officials, I passed two more people that lap and rode exhausted but with few errors. I remember thinking at the end that I would take the final decent as fast as possible as my racing season was over and if I broke an ankle, I could hobble in and then have time to recover. Cyclocross is all about pre-riding and figuring out how to ride the course, but each lap was so different that it was like a new course each time. I finished in 8th place.
Susan then raced and had a wonderful race, she was so strong and watching her race reminds me that I have a long way to go. She had the largest women’s field that day and raced against very strong women. We finished the races proud of our accomplishments and ready to get some well-deserved rest.
Then the unthinkable happened, we started talking about planning to race the Cyclocross World Championships in 2015 in Tabor, Czech Republic. Watch out World, Naked Women’s Racing is coming back for a podium…
Special shout out to City of Louisville for being so friendly, welcoming and hosting a great week of racing. To Pro Bike Express for ensuring that our bikes were working perfectly, for keeping everything running smooth and for remembering all the things that we forgot. To Naked Juice for giving me the strength to train, to Michael Hanna for always being a wonderfully supportive coach, to Bike Source for keeping my bike in working condition (it is coming in soon), Rudy Project for the flashy helmet and Colorado Women’s Cycling Project for being a super supportive women’s cycling team. To Emily Zinn for my good luck socks and magazines, Katie Macarelli for my mix CD, Nicole Mack for the personalized cowbell and for all the well wishes from everyone. You all rock.
Guess who’s now going to Master’s Worlds for CX AND earned their upgrade!? Amanda 1.0-that’s who!
This post is about the amazing world of cyclocross and my new favorite number, three. Last weekend was Cross at the North Colorado State Cyclocross Championships. The Cat 4 women did not race until Sunday. So bright and early Heather, Lora and I (3 of us) loaded up and travelled to Loveland to pre-ride the course. Upon arrival, we heard about a few crashes that had already occurred and I was a bit timid to ride this course. It was lose dirt, inclines, lots of turns, a steep, off-camber decline and a run up, not to mention one set of barriers. We had watched the SW 35+ take this course like it was an easy Sunday ride and we had the expertise of both Susan and Joan in the pre-ride. I knew that they would direct us in a safe manner through each section of the course. We got to the steep downhill and since I had watched other people take it very fast, I decided that I would do the same. Problem was that I took the wrong line and was thrown into the air. I somehow landed in the soft dirt and did not fall but was clearly shaky and could barely hold onto my handlebars afterwards (partially as a result of locking my elbows). That is when I heard both Joan and Susan sternly state that I was to get back to the top and do it again. I whispered that I would do it again next lap but no it had to be done then and they were right. Heather helped by reminding me that I could do this and Lora reminded me to look like a cat coming down the hill. Each time I rode that section, I felt more comfortable.
Sunday I arrived to the race to see many of the Cat 4 women had already arrived and were starting to warm-up in the very cold and surprisingly humid conditions. There were so many cheery voices and familiar faces. This is what cycling is all about. People wishing each other good luck, wanting the best for each other, joking and genuinely happy to see each other. Part of the camaraderie is having similar ways to explain areas of the course. Here are a few examples of how these ladies have creatively come up with ways to connect my last name with racing. If there is sand or a weird turn, they will ask “What is the Amanda Bye-Line?” or “Is there an Amanda Bye-Line Canal through the sand yet?” When we are pre-riding the question is “Where is the Amanda Bye-Pass?” The new one thanks to Larry Grossman’s commentary on my racing career (note this was less than one minute in length as there is not much to say) is now being referred to as the “Amanda Bye-O.”
During the race, you can hear women cheering for each other. At the end of the race, everyone waited at the finish for all riders to come through, congratulated each other on a great season and took a Cat 4 photo. Katie had already cat’ed up and thus was not in the picture but she was certainly an integral part of the season. These ladies are much more than cyclocross racers, they are friends and I am sure going to miss them in the off season.
The cross cup results were posted later that day and I got 3rd in the racer competition and Naked Women’s Racing got 3rd in the Cat 4 category, I also got 3rd in the Boulder Cycling Series and thus the inevitable occurred and I cat’ed up to my new favorite number … 3.
Huge shout out to all the announcers, teams, photographers and promotors for a wonderful season of cross. Here are my 3 favorite pics from States. Now to get ready for CX Worlds.
Denver’s 1st Annual Mile High Urban Cross Chaos in an industrial area of Denver. This cyclocross race had the promise of being something new and different, mostly on paved roads with some off road terrain and it did not disappoint. The night before the weather forecast called for a few inches of snow and a significant decrease in temperature. I awoke to a dusting of snow and lots of ice. Fortunately the registration was brilliantly placed in a bar that provided external warmth and if needed internal as well in the form of whiskey.
The first few races were postponed due to icy conditions and the course not being melted enough to be safe. The SM 45+, 55+ and SW 4 all started within a few minutes of each other. It was about 17 degrees and the cold was almost unbearable. I had lathered on Embrocation that morning and to no avail. The first part of the race was on icy streets and then we crossed a railroad track and went off road to a section of mulch, dirt jumps, large rocks to maneuver, 4 small logs that one could hop over, a berm, two soft dirt hills, an off camber straight away to a sand pit (later a railroad tie was found in the sandpit) and barriers to either run or hop over. Then it was back to more icy roads before doing it all over again.
This race was unique in so many ways from the type of course, to the location and also having an awe inspiring Adaptive category for anyone who was physically challenged to participate in. Most people stayed a majority of the day to cheer other categories on. The power slides, beer and whiskey handups, bacon handups and overall fun atmosphere is what cross is all about.
I certainly hope this race returns again as this year has shown that even with the harshest elements, cyclocross racers will come out in full force and make it a party.
The Naked Women’s Racing team did well at this race with first and second place podiums in SW35+ and a second in SW4. Congrats also goes out to Angie Michalik for racing in SW 4 and a great big thank you to both Vera and Brittany Jones for coming out to cheer.
Top 10 Reasons To Race Cyclocross (By the way, you also get the opportunity to ride with the Amandas)
10. Skinsuits. Who doesn’t like a one-piece spandex outfit?
9. Gives you a reason to ride in the fall/winter. On days that you wouldn’t even consider training, you are racing.
8. Improves bike handling skills. Riding off road teaches all new skills that will help in every cycling endeavor.
7. Crashes that don’t land you in the hospital. Going over the handlebars in sand may hurt the ego and cause some scratches but typically no broken bones. Also see number #6
6. Great pictures. Whether you are crashing, walking or running with your bike, riding in mud, etc, all the pictures look amazing.
5. Other racers are competitive but not too serious. This is a great way to begin cycling.
4. Riding in the elements are fun. Any given weekend, there will be dirt, mud, snow, ice or sand to battle with while racing other riders.
3. Beer. Post (pre) drinking, beer is typically the liquid of choice but on really cold days expect some hot toddies and whiskey to keep you warm.
2. Spectators. Where do I begin? Handups (water, beer, hotdogs, bacon, whiskey, etc), cheering that keeps you going when your heart rate is at it’s peak, cowbells and the best fans of any sport.
1. Last but certainly not least. Knowing that you are a total bada**. Every weekend there are more cuts, bruises, going over handlebars, sliding out, dropped chains, flat tires, mechanical errors that are beyond explanation, torn skinsuits and then Monday morning co-workers think you are crazy until they see the pictures and are reminded that you are a bada**.
This my friends is what cross is all about.
The title speaks for itself. Amanda was one of our first Cat 4 recruits and she’s proved to be not only an incredible athlete, but a dedicated teammate and respected woman in the racing community. We’re lucky to have her. Steamboat was a great way for us all to end the season….and get ready for CX!
It has been one year since I first started road racing and what a year it has been. New friends, new climbs, new rides, new coach, new adventures. I have learned that I still have work to do to be competitive at hill climbs, TTs and RRs. So, why not end the season with Steamboat Springs Stage Race? This is a challenging three day race that incorporates all the things that I struggle with in racing. I always tell people that the only reason that I do reasonably well in stage races is because I am “scrappy” and don’t give up, not because I am particularly good at any one stage of the race. Here is the rundown of the race:
Day 1: Time Trial. Distance 11.2 grueling miles with 1,120 feet of elevation gain. Got a good warm up in, saw many familiar, friendly faces and was ready to start. Just in time, Peg Hallberg’s boyfriend arrived to cheer us on. He is at every stage race taking pictures and cheering. The cheering keeps me going, even when my legs want to give up. There were two large, painful hills to climb. I kept waiting for my race buddy, Amanda Cyr to catch me, as I can always tell how I am doing in a TT by how quickly she catches me. TT start times are alphabetical and our last names are together. So typically I start 20-30 seconds before she does and she catches me rather quickly but not this time. This time she had a broken collar bone and was not racing but my ears keep listening for her as I raced. I finished the TT and Sam Anderson asked in a cheerful voice how it went as I almost vomited from overexertion. All I could think was that we had to do the same two climbs again the next day in the RR. Perhaps I would take a DNS instead, as every fiber of my being revolted the idea of doing this again.
Day 2: Road Race. As everyone is aware, I am always early to races. That day would be no exception. This was an early morning road race, better to get 55 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation gain over with early and then spend the remainder of the day with friends and resting. I got to the start area, warmed up and then went to sign in for Day 2. That was when it dawned on me that not only was I not wearing my race numbers but I left them back at the condo and the race was to start in approximately 20 minutes. I drove back to the condo, got my numbers, got back to the start, signed in and had a nice stranger pin my numbers on as quick as possible. Then I could not find any other Cat 4s, I rode my bike around the corner and saw that they were all lined up and the pace car was about to begin the neutral start. Adrenalin already pumping I made it just in time. During the neutral start, the ladies talked about how we should all ride slow until the end, just so we can all work together. I have heard this before and with no surprise this is not what happened. We rode together the first few miles, then the pace sped up and then the second hill started. I gave it everything I had to keep up with those fast ladies but at the top of the hill, I pushed with everything I had left and then was dropped. I chased the lead group for several more miles but never caught them. I was proud that I stayed with them for as long as I did but had to refocus on how I was going to finish this road race. I pacelined with other ladies along the course, some were too strong for me to stay with, while another group I lost when my chain dropped and I had to stop to fix it. I then had grease from my chain on my hands, sticky residue from a gel pack that broke open in my jersey and sweat everywhere. I had eaten and drank plenty of fluids but had pushed myself harder than ever. I had 5 miles left to go and I hit a wall. Jennifer Muto caught up to me and said that she noticed that I did not look well and to not let her win. I felt like I had no fight left. I caught her just before the finish line and she started to sprint. All of a sudden, a burst of energy and I too started to sprint. I came in about an inch in front of Jennifer and she was a great sport, she also pushed me to finish the race strong. The best part was that most of the climbing was done for the weekend. Next step–ice bath and food for recovery.
Day 3: Criterium. Rectangular course that was not too technical with wide, sweeping turns. Perfect crit course. The slight incline began to hurt a few laps in. Although it was not too steep, the two prior days of hill climbs put my legs in a state of fatigue and the ice bath seemed to help significantly but they were still feeling the burn and yelling for me to stop the madness. So of course what did I say in return, “Shut up legs.” I stayed in the lead group the whole race, no yo-yoing and felt strong. This was a great crit race.
Over the year, I have learned to not get dropped in crits (most of the time), to stay with strong riders for a longer period of time in races and on hills, to stick with stage races and that the relationship with my team and other women racers is far more important than racing itself. Their continuous support is what makes racing enjoyable. Am I going to miss road racing? No, as cyclocross starts in two weeks and furthermore who needs breaks when you are having this much fun?
Amanda B. has her first solo road trip after her twin has an incident with a curb, but what she encountered along the way was glorious! Here’s her perspective from being a US Pro Cycling Challenge groupie.
Not what I expected this week to look like but turned out to be so much more. One of my favorite people and fellow cyclist, Amanda Cyr and I planned to follow the Pro Cycling Challenge. What a fun week it would be, riding our bikes, schmoozing with pros, the excitement of it all… Then one week before we were to leave, a tragic accident. My friend broke her collarbone in a crit. No more twin time. How was I to proceed without my better half?
I left on a Sunday for my first solo road trip. No clear plan but just my biking and camping gear and a full tank of gas. First stop was Gunnison. I had many friends who had just finished racing 24 Hours in the Sage. They all spoke about how fun this fully supported (meaning food and drink always available) race was. A friend and I camped. The next morning we left for Telluride. What a beautiful drive through the Blue Mesa Reservoir area, seeing the Black Canyon and then stopping in Ridgway for breakfast with another cyclist. We rode our bikes from Telluride to Lizard Head Pass, which is over 3000 feet of elevation gain, to watch the pros come over the pass, like it was a rolling hill. I felt strong that day, that feeling would soon end. We spent some time in Telluride and then back to Gunnison.
The next day we rode from Gunnison to Crested Butte. The last 3 miles from the town to the top of the ski area were treacherous. We spent time checking out the venders and then picked out a great spot to watch the pros climb and give out high-fives. We paced lined much of the way back to Gunnison. The ride was 2300 feet elevation gain over 60 plus miles and I was starting to feel the fatigue set in. I then drove to spectacular Buena Vista to stay with a friend for two nights. She and her husband were more than hospitable.
Day 3 of the Pro Cycling Challenge– I rode from Buena Vista to the top of Cottonwood Pass, over 4000 feet of elevation gain. Fortunately, I met up with approximately 15 people along the way. Think of me as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz at this point in the story. I just kept meeting up with friends and thus the trip was far from lonely. Riding with people helped me to focus less on the pain in my legs and barely being able to get enough oxygen at an elevation of 12,000 feet. We got to the top and then I heard people from the group say that we were going to ride down a short distance as the views were better from the other side. Do they realize that if you ride down that you will then have to ride back up? I went anyway and I am certainly glad that I did, the views were better. I noticed on the way up the pass that my heart rate was no longer getting very high, although I felt exhausted. Someone else mentioned that heart rates will not get as high at higher elevations. I was worried that I was pushing too hard, as most people know I am not a hill climber.
I recognized that I was very tired. I got a massage and went to a hot springs resort on the way down. What a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Then went to Yoga in the Park in Buena Vista. I felt refreshed and my legs were less tired. I began to enjoy the fact that I did not have to check in with anyone and could do what I wanted, when I wanted.
The next day, I drove to Twin Lakes and rode up Independence Pass. The first half of the ride, I kept thinking that this climb was not nearly as bad as Cottonwood (which is true). However, the second half makes up the steepness that was missing. I met some nice people at the top and enjoyed the race. Then jumped in my car and made it to Avon just in time to see Jens Voigt and the rest of the racers go by. Dinner, hot tub and staying the night with friends would proceed that long day.
Day 5, I had planned to ride from Vail to Hoosier Pass but did not plan enough time to get there. Who knew 4 days of hill climbs would kill my poor leg muscles? They did not want to cooperate and my heart was actually refusing to play any longer as well. I made it to Breckenridge, watched the start of the race and then got a ride (yes, in a car) back to Vail. Homeward bound.
Here is what I learned in this trip. I enjoy quiet time on my bike, looking at the amazing scenery that Colorado has to offer. Meeting up with friends along the way is enjoyable. It is nice to not have to worry about other people. Self care is important. Riding for fun is as important as training. It is about the journey, not the destination. Passes are fun to descend when pros are expected to be on them (very clean). The biking community is very friendly (offering extra clothes, food, etc). Lastly, 15, 856 feet of elevation gain in 5 days is for the birds (too much chamois time). So the questions remains, would I do it again? In a heartbeat.