The song ‘Let’s Go Crazy,’ by Prince, is like an anthem for Ride The Rockies, but we could also consider the RTR anthem as: ‘Let’s Go Healthy!’ What a wonderful song that would be. It reflects our goals of healthy exercising (pedal ten-thousand hours this week), and our healthy, nutrient-rich foods (granola bars dunked in tasty Odell beer), and of course the healthy meta-analysis of our workout (by parallel processing five supercomputers).

In fact, you would be crazy not to be in RTR and enjoying the training. You’d miss out on sore legs, bonking, upper/lower back pain, an endo, very sore legs, a raspberry (road rash), numb fingers/hands, low-temp chills, frozen toes, bugs lodged in your eye, and we need to be sure to mention extremely sore, aching LEGS! Our sore legs were the worst in the early training days when we moved like a rusty tin man with titanium rigid legs, but if you’d like to ease your current aches, check out some articles on, “preventing cycling muscle pain.” Or read the RTR Rider Manual, which lists some good foods to help you recover. Don’t forget to square away any riding problems (aches, pains) with a bike fit, or adjusting your training hours, or buying the proper bike gear. Go shopping? Instead of training all day?? Okay!

Bump into this cycling problem yet: yawning from being on the same old boring road? Lack of interest hitting the same old sprint/interval landmarks? Then daydream about some of the tour towns like Aspen, Copper Mountain, Vail, Grand Lake, Estes Park and Fort Collins! 

As cyclists, we’ve entered the nirvana of the sport where we can quickly find the blessings each ride brings to our five senses. The robin chirping on a fence post, wildflowers with a mountain range backdrop, pedaling on new pavement, and for the flatlanders traveling here, just wait: the views at elevation, which you earn, are breathtaking! Keep repeating that one word like a record skipping… breathtaking… breathtaking… or any of its synonyms: spectacular, magnificent, incredible, jaw-dropping, or wondrous. So many of the upcoming views on RTR are why we should fight the hiccups during our training and should “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” as poet Dylan Thomas states in: “Do not go gentle into that good night.” We want to venture outside. We want to explore, seek, and fight for the good life – and as such, our struggle brings us many, many breathtaking rewards.

As I struggle, and also enjoy the many benefits of cycling, I’d like to dedicate my Ride The Rockies to the memory of my parents. Both were recreational cyclists, with my father pulling mom and us kids along through headwinds and our one neighborhood steep hill. Well, being kids is the only thing that made that hill steep (a speed bump now). The challenge today is to be healthier than dad who died of a heart attack. He did rage fiercely against the first few heart attacks and he survived. He did try – walking when he couldn’t ride. And mom also tried to be healthy, valiantly, but we lost her to other reasons. I’m here, challenging the four-hundred miles, because I believe more exercise, and better food choices, can help keep away the struggles my dad had, and hopefully keep me from dying young from a heart attack (and you too Kevin). Isn’t that what our parents want from us? For us to live a better life than they had? It does seem a strong sentiment that I have for my two children. They are active, though, and both did really amazing hiking Mount Elbert (14,439′) last summer. By the way, look for Mt. Elbert on your left on RTR day 2, when you’re descending Independence Pass (CO-82 is the fourth-highest paved roadway in America). 

A quick training story: on the first day outside this season I rode the mountain bike. All fine except I was riding too long and it got dark. On the final stretch, the ruts in the dirt road grabbed my front tire and I lost control of the handlebars. Instantly the bike went down. I was earth-tenderized (my right side ached for days), which was not the start I wanted, but I knew I’d have to be tougher than a minor spill. Cowboy up and get “back in the #saddle again.” More training needed stat!

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here (at RTR) to get through this thing called 403 miles,” so Do NOT go gentle into that good ride, but rather rage! Rage against the elements of rain/wind/sleet/snow, the equipment failures, the potholes, needing more gears on climbs, or eating the wrong food before a ride (Taco Bell bean burrito). Fight the good fight – rage against the dying light – because so many benefits await you. “Let’s Go Crazy/Healthy!”

I’m riding RTR to enjoy the craziness, while also getting heart healthy. But at which speed should I ride? Sightsee, tourist speed? Or race? Until the next post, stay tuned!