Weekend Riding: Floridians Can Climb Mountains, Too

I think my Florida friends are following me…and I don’t hate it. First, my friend Courtney and her husband moved to Denver a few months ago and now my cycling buddy, Dave, is spending the summer in Boulder.

Dave is actually the first person I rode with in Florida after I got my bike(s). I don’t quite remember how we met but we’ve known each other for about eight or so years and he’s been such a huge help during that time whenever I had questions about bikes or just wanted to go on a ride around Davis Islands, where I used to live and he still lives most of the year.

Dave recently reached his breaking point with Florida summers and decided to rent a condo in Boulder for a few months, ride bikes in the mountains, and work remotely. If that’s not living the damn dream, I’m not sure what is.

On Saturday we decided to get out for some miles before the rain started. Thunderstorms were forecasted all weekend, so my plan was to plan around Mother Nature and get in some good rides when and where I could. We chose Gold Hill since Dave hadn’t been there and I hadn’t been in awhile. You can read about another fun Gold Hill ride here.

Around 9 a.m. we took off from Rapha and started climbing. I thought maybe I’d have a leg up on him since I’ve been living in the thin Colorado air for almost two years, but straight out of the gate he was riding like a champ and even dropped me over one of the steepest sections. Maybe that speaks a little less about his superhuman abilities and a little more about how badly I need to get back into shape before my 100-mile gravel ride in August.

We climbed and climbed for what feels like hours taking in the views and hoping not to get poured on until we finally reached the Gold Hill Store—our halfway mark and the end of our biggest climbs. No matter how many times you’ve done it, even on a mild day with a good tailwind, getting up there never feels like it gets any easier.

We stayed just long enough to snap some photos and slip into wind vests and jackets for the chilly descent. Maybe this is nuts, but I actually prefer climbing up Fourmile road than descending Sunshine road back into town.

Sunshine is steep with more than a dozen sharp turns, and I basically burn out my brake pads every time I go that way. When we parted ways at the bottom, I added a few more miles to make it a nearly 50-mile day and arrived home just before the rain started.

^^^ Sträva notified me that I PR’d on the “ouchie part of gold run rd” which is hilarious.

^^^ There’s nothing better than iced coffee after a long ride. 

Usually I break up my weekend with a run one day and a bike ride the next, but race day is slowly approaching, so I doubled up and got back on my bike on Sunday for two of my favorite climbs: Bow Mountain and Chapman. They’re both short and punchy with super fun descents on pavement. Again, it was a race to beat the rain so I didn’t stop too long for coffee at Rapha afterwards.

^^^ Unrelated but important: ending the weekend with pizza. I ordered delivery from Mod Market and it was one of the best decisions I made all weekend. 

I have really enjoyed riding my road bike on the gravel the past couple weeks while I wait for my gravel bike to get fixed up, but I can’t wait to get back on it. This weekend I’m actually heading to Steamboat Springs for some dirt, mountains, and a recon of the Steamboat Gravel course in August and I’m so pumped to get back on some fat tires in a new Colorado town. It’s been almost two years since I lived in Tampa, and while I miss the city and the people and my adorable little apartment on the water, I was missing out on a lot. I rode the same roads and ran the same streets and saw the same places every weekend, But here? There’s no shortage of new roads or towns to explore and I get to ride with my friends in some of the most beautiful places in America. It took a lot of bad choices, regrets, heartbreak and a complete and total breakdown to get here, but in the end I guess I have to be thankful for it and hope that things will keep working themselves out. We’re on a roll so far.

Now let’s see what this Floridian can do way up at 7,000+ feet. (Pray for me.)

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