A Totally Cloudless Weekend in Boulder: Saturday running and Sunday riding

Man, I really can’t believe what’s happening with all the fires on the west coast. All the people who have been affected, displaced, injured, etc. I think I’m even more sensitive and aware of the situation because we got a tiny taste of it this summer when smoke descended on our town due to the fires raging west of us in the mountains. A couple triathletes I follow in Oregon couldn’t even workout inside their homes because they don’t have A/C. They evacuated and headed to Idaho. It’s devastating, all of it, and I hope there is relief soon…

This weekend we had some great weather, and it’s really feeling like the beginning of fall in Boulder, one of my favorite times of the year. In the peak of summer, sometimes I forget what fall feels like because the heat is so suffocating especially on runs and rides. When it’s that uncomfortable, it feels like it will never be cool again, but eventually it breaks and the weather is downright enjoyable all day long, even at 2 or 3 p.m. when the temps are their highest of the day.

On Saturday, I felt the break. I headed to Betasso for a bike-less run (read: no bikes are allowed at Betasso on Wednesdays and Saturdays to allow hikers to enjoy the trail; I think it should go both ways and the trail should be closed to hikers on some days, too, but they haven’t implemented that). I enjoyed a slower morning at home, so I didn’t arrive at the trailhead until a little after 10 a.m. When I hopped out of my car, a cool breeze blew across my face. Fall.

You can just feel the beginning of fall around here, and it’s one of my favorite seasonal transitions. I think everyone had the same idea I did on Saturday morning because the trail was packed with groups of hikers and runners.

I got in a little over nine miles while listening to some CyclingTips, Armchair Expert, and Rich Roll. The best of the bunch was Rich Roll’s interview with Apolo Ohno. The two talk about Apollo’s rise in speed skating, his intense training, and then how he navigated the end of his career, which can feel like a total loss of identity for high-level athletes who aren’t sure who they are after their best athletic years are behind them.

This topic was fresh on my mind after also listening to The Growth Equation podcast featuring Shalane Flanagan who also touched on the fact that she went through a serious episode of depression after announcing her retirement and learning how to navigate life without the identity of professional runner. I have always thought Shalane was the most graceful at transitioning from runner to now coach of the team she ran for as well as new mom, but she was battling a lot behind the scenes and I thought it was really great how open she was about her struggles with hosts Brad and Steve.

I can’t remember if Brad or Rich mentioned this, but one of the hosts said, “Every high-level passion has a shelf life,” which I think totally nails it. Even I felt this as a former collegiate runner who was swiftly removed from competitive sport without warning by a neurological disorder. There is an identity crisis that happens and it’s a difficult hurdle to get over.

Anyway, I highly recommend those two podcasts if any of this resonates with you!

On Sunday, I took advantage of another BEAUTIFUL day and headed out for a bike ride. I sort of forced myself out there since I hadn’t ridden in a week, but I ended up feeling really amazing all day.

I did a familiar loop up Sunshine, Fourmile and Logan Mill, where I stopped for a short Wheat Thins and water break—and to enjoy the incredible view. Is it just me or did Wheat Thins get smaller? Pretty sure they got smaller. 

Then I cruised down Sugarloaf and Boulder Canyon before shooting back up Chapman, one of my favorite dirt climbs in the area, then descending Flagstaff Mountain, which was a bit dicey as several cars crossed the double yellow line. With all of that behind me, I’d covered about 35-40 miles and climbed about 3,500 feet…but my legs couldn’t tell. I was feeling better than I had in weeks!

From there I decided to head to North Boulder and do Bow Mountain, which is a steep but short gravel loop that brings you back down into downtown Boulder. When I got back home to Louisville, I had 63 miles and 5,900 feet of climbing in the bank.

FINALLY, I thought. I really needed that ride after a slump in motivation and fitness.

And now on Monday, after more than eight hours of glorious and necessary sleep, I’m feeling sore and achy—two of my favorite feelings after a big and fun weekend in my favorite place in the world. 

And for anyone following along on my blog posts (read: no one), I didn’t make the Larabar dupes like I anticipated. I was too tired and bought a couple boxes of Wheat Thins instead, ha.

What did you get up to this weekend?

3 Replies to “A Totally Cloudless Weekend in Boulder: Saturday running and Sunday riding”

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