Schooled on the School Bus Trail in Nederland...

Schooled on the School Bus Trail in Nederland: Ride with Rocco in the Rocky Mountains

no advanced planning...
this concept of no advanced planning is nothing new to me
this trip to Colorado involved very little advanced planning
of course there had to be some initial planning
my wife Lisa took care of the core of this planning
Lisa bid on the cottage/cabin at Grand Lake when we were at the John Eaton Silent Auction earlier this year... this purchase committed us to a Colorado vacation

then once we had the cabin/cottage she booked our flights and a rental car
other than that... there was not much planning involved

as an effort to acclimate before our stay at high elevation Lisa then booked a night's stay in Broomfield just outside of Boulder
then for some rest and relaxation after out time in the high country Lisa also booked two nights at the same hotel on our return before our flight back east
we knew that this would work because we stayed at the Omni Interlocken before
although it is not entirely convenient to downtown Boulder

it does have several pools, a hot tub, and a cool tee-pee which are all quite valuable in the effort to entertain two young boys
as well as clean rooms with comfortable beds

so... with the structure on the back end there was a certain amount of flexibility in between
it was known that I wanted to go mountain biking at Winter Park and it was understood that I would like to go mountain biking in Boulder as well
running shoes were brought but were never worn
running falls into my world of good intentions

running shoes are not too different than a late night infomercial gimmick
sure they would work... if I were to use them
I did not run... there was too much running around... any time where I would have been able to run I was too exhausted to walk

sure enough... just as tentatively planned I spent a day riding the chair lift up the mountain and a squishy bike down the mountain at Winter Park
this was a day packed full of fun for all
as the Winter Park Resort has an assortment of family fun activities at the base that kept Lisa and the boys well entertained as I got my mountain bike fix
and of course... I blogged about it
(less specifically)

back in Boulder before our return to our DC home I did not try to hard to create a bicycle plan
things just sort of fell into place
at dinner on the Thursday evening before our Saturday mor
ning departure I met up with Boulder transplant Rocco... a former member of DCMTB
we met up at The Mountain Sun brew pub on Pearl Street so that Lisa could get together with her friend from college the Mountain Sun owner, Kevin
I have also come to know Kevin through Lisa... a simple rule... a fr
iend of my wife's is a friend of mine

while hanging out with Kevin it was established that I could borrow his old school mountain bike
a bike that was something in its day... a day that had long since past well over a decade ago
it turned out that the bike is in good condition...
still working... state of the art then... something rustic now

so... without much planning... a plan was made
I was to go mountain biking in the Boulder area

Kevin gave Rocco directions to his house to pick up the bike
then Rocco and I made tentative plans to meet up in the am

the following morning came and we met up

the bike appeared to be in solid working condition
some lube on the chain, swapped out the pedals, and turned the barrel adjusters on the brake levers for some added action on the V-Brakes and we were good to go

not sure where to ride Rocco decided to drive up to Nederland where we could loop around West Magnolia
this sounded good to me... but what did I know

we drove up through the Boulder Canyon onto Nederland where we parked the car and suited up
by this time morning had blended into afternoon

breakfast had long since worn off and we were getting on the bike somewhere around where I should be eating lunch

on the bike everything felt weird...
normally I ride bikes with 29 inch wheels
here I am on a 26 inch wheel bike... there is a good chance that this frame is too small for my large fr
I left out with the seat post not extended enough feeling a tad awkward with the diminutive bike with its narrow handlebars and outrageously long stem

the bike was shifting and braking fine... but I was not feeling it
we entered the trail and I was awkward on the bike

immediately stymied by the rock garden entrance
the long stem gave a delayed reaction to the steering
the geometry of the frame did not match up well to my body style and my preferred riding position... I could not find any power... getting out of the saddle was not an option... when out of the saddle the carbon frame flexed and standing on the pedals had me standing nearly over the stem
throw in lack of conditioning and riding a bit over a mile above sea level and I had enough excuses to write a book

so we rode...
Rocco rode ahead and waited... that would be how things went
we climbed.... Rocco pedaled... I snailed
my body cried out for oxygen
when I stopped I had to stop for longer than I would normally stop
it was best not to stop

yet I kept stopping
each time regrouping longer than it would take to regroup
not necessarily sucking wind... but rather just feeling weak

when the rolling climbs flattened out I did not have the strength or the power to hammer the flat sections
non technical single track of this style is my second nature
normally I would adjust to the unfamiliar bike in the first five minutes
yet I could not step up to the task
speed was not part of this day's ride

we pedaled up and then up some more
it seemed like this trail would only go up
Rocco claimed that we were almost to the top where there was a clearing
but I protested... deciding that my energy would be better spent going down
we finished the up section of the up and back
it felt good to point the bike down hill

going down the bike felt pretty good
a few times I feared a pinch flat for this tube and pumpless rider
but I did not suffer such a fate
a few times I was reminded of the narrow handlebars
each time on sandy turns I fought hard to hold my line as the handlebars tried to twist between my shoulders
on one case while feeling foolishly good I tried to huck a little drop off... my landing sent me rolling off trail
I stayed up right... but it was not pretty
the long stem and its delayed response time was something I eventually grew accustom to
or at least I came to expect

off the trail and back on the road we decided that we should refuel at the car and then do another short loop
at the car I joked and said that I had not broken a sweat
Rocco laughed and pointed out that I was coated in a dry white salty crust from all my sweating
my lips looked like the skin of a molting snake
not only had I bonked from lack of fuel... but I had also started to dehydrate pretty bad

it was decided... rather than fuel up and ride some more we would head back to Boulder and meet up with my family
better to meet the family early than late

it was a good ride
not my best day on the bike
but a good day on the bike just the same
even on a good day Rocco could humble me
on this day it was humbling enough just to be on the bike

the long list of excuses for not being a jocked out rock star should be pushed aside
it was a good ride with its moments
some climbs were cleared... maybe more climbs cleared than hiked or marched
it was not that technical of a ride... most of the rock gardens were clearable
those that I did not clear may be difficult for me on my best day
riding up hill through a rock garden has never been a strength of mine
it takes a great deal of energy to get this body up a hill
to put obstacles in my way is just not fair

good to get on the bike
good to hang with an old friend
as it turned out Lisa was back at the pool with the kids and our meeting time would be delayed
Dean not feeling so hot derailed my intention to take the boys to the Boulder Creek up Boulder Canyon

maybe next time rather than saving a buck by borrowing a bike
I should just suck it up and rent something
that and I should schedule and set up an opportunity for the family to take some tubes down the Boulder Creek

good to be in Boulder
great to get on the bike in Boulder
awesome to get to hang out with friends
glad we did not ride the Sourdough Trail in Nederland... my body was not ready for the expenditure of technical at altitude

it was super cool for Kevin to hook me up with the bike... I definitely owe him one
and maybe...
just maybe I should contact the Smithsonian to see if they want to buy that relic of a mountain bike