PART ONE Mountain riding + Sandwiches in the creek: Showing my FL friends around Colorado by Bike

Last Friday two of my friends, Carly and her boyfriend, Andres, flew to Colorado from Tampa, FL where I used to live what feels like…ten years ago. They came into town for some riding, exploring, and catching up and I could not have been more excited to see them. I originally created one long post to document everything we did, but it was tremendously long, so I’m splitting it up into two. Here is part one.

Carly and I had kind of existed in the same group of friends but didn’t really start riding together until about six months before I moved to Colorado. Sometimes I wonder if I would’ve even moved out here at all had I started a friendship with her and her larger cycling group sooner. But, things work out as they do.

I’ve been begging them to come visit since I moved here in 2017 so I could show them all the amazing places I ride, take them to my favorite coffee shops, and essentially convince them to also move here for good 😉 They actually ended up buying a house in Florida, so I don’t think that will happen any time soon. But I’m really happy for them, and that just means I can visit them more often in Florida when I hit my breaking point with snow in the winter!

On Friday afternoon after they checked into their Airbnb, I took them out for a short spin in Boulder.

In my naiveté, I assumed they would need some time to get used to the elevation and that I might have to take it easy on them during our rides. BOY WAS I WRONG. And boy have I never been more wrong than anything in my life. They both dropped me like I was standing still on one of the short climbs we did that Friday night, and I immediately started panicking. My lungs were burning as my legs were churning the pedals up and down as I watched them effortlessly ride away around the corner.

I had huge bike rides planned for us over the next couple days and it became abundantly clear that it was going to be a longer weekend for me than it was for them…

When I got home on Friday night around 7:30 p.m., I prayed to the bike gods that my legs would magically recover overnight and I’d be able to make it up the mountains at a somewhat decent pace with them still in my sights…

On Saturday morning I met them at their Airbnb around 9 a.m., then we rode into Boulder and grabbed coffee before climbing up Sunshine Canyon toward Gold Hill.

My legs were not recovered from the night before and, again, they both dropped me within minutes on our first ascent up the long, paved climb that eventually turned to dirt.

I was thankful they didn’t know where they were going because they had to wait for me to catch up every so often. Before my friends arrived, I had been pretty burned out on cycling, but riding with them allowed me to experience some of my favorite roads in a brand new way—and I loved that!

They were so excited to ride in this big beautiful place, which made me excited about it, too. Slowly but surely we made it to the top and into the Gold Hill general store for GIANT oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which are the best around—like, nearly raw on the inside. I thought about that and the ice-cold Gatorade I chugged in between bites the entire way up the mountain.

After sitting out on the porch for a little bit, we got on our bikes, descended back to town, did one more short climb, then soaked our legs in the cold creek water.

I think that was my favorite part of the whole day! My muscles were really aching. Later that night, after we got all cleaned up and rested a bit, we went out for pizza and beers at 12Degree Brewing in Louisville. The main street in Louisville is closed to cars for the summer, which made it nice to spread out and still feel safe while others were around.

I crawled into bed that night totally zapped of physical and mental energy, and fell asleep somewhere around 9 p.m. I had an alarm set for early the next morning for another big ride that I was simultaneously excited about and also dreading.

That’s in part two!

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