With Mother Nature and her cohorts The Weather Gods smiling upon us, it seemed like the perfect morning to participate in the Fort Collins Cycling Club’s Spring Warm-Up Ride and pedal a bike.
Or bikes, in my case. Let me explain.
First, I rode over to the start at Edora Park on my lil’ red Cannondale road bike. There I registered ($15 for members, $25 for non-members) and was handed a route sheet and bag of goodies (including a free water bottle and a very cool FCBikes.org flashing rear taillight).
Upon inspecting the map, it occurred to me that the 60-mile course was mostly pancake-flat and never more than moderately rolling all the way to just south of the Wyoming border and back. Meanwhile, back at the park, I also noticed a remarkable number of recumbent bicycles resting on Edora’s lush lawns, awaiting their owners to moosey away from the free bagels and start some leg-pumping action.
Suddenly I was thinking, “Hmmm, this would be a great ride to have done on my Reynolds Wishbone recumbent.” Of course, it was too late for that since I rode my upright race bike instead…
Or was it?
As luck would have it, right after the first aid station of the day at the Budweiser Visitor Center, the ride meandered within two miles of my home. So I made a brief detour, parked the Cannondale in the garage, mounted the recumbent, and headed back to the route.
Ah, back on the ‘bent. This was the first time I had ridden it in about 9 months, preferring my “regular” bikes in the hilly terrain I usually ride around the Front Range. But it was great to be back in the surprisingly familiar lawn-chair position, on a “real” seat, hunkered close to the ground like a little sports car. Comfy for sure.
I spent the next few hours like this, leisurely watching the verdant Colorado countrysides rush on by, enjoying the breeze, and occasionally exchanging a nod or a few words to other cyclists sharing the road. This time seemed to fly by so quickly that I didn’t even realized I had not eaten anything for 3-4 hours until my stomach started growling.
Unfortunately, the next aid station had no food, only water. On the other hand, about a dozen miles later the course passed right by my neighborhood, so once again I stopped at my house!
And there I made the second bike swap of the day: this time for my commuter bike. It occurred to me that the bike ride’s finish was only a couple of miles away from my favorite grocery store—the Sunflower Farmers Market—so I might as well fetch some groceries afterwards.
And so there you have it: one ride, three bikes. A first for me! Fort Collins is sometimes referred to as the “Choice City,” and I guess I felt pretty lucky to have this triumverate of options in my arsenal of vehicles today.
In addition, here is a map (PDF, 166 KB).
- 58 miles for the official course; 72 miles for myself since I rode to and from the start/finish
- Average speed: 16.5 mph rolling (recumbent)
- Maximum speed: 42 mph
- Climbing: maybe ~1000 feet
- Scenery: 4
- Support: 4
- Food: 2 (obtainable at checkpoints)
- Weather: 5
- Relative Difficulty: 2
- Overall Rating: 4