Saturday, May 28, 2005

Trail Ridge Road

Last weekend we played tourists and took a drive up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. The only other time I've ever done this in the nearly 16 years I've lived here is when my grandparents were visiting and I wanted them to enjoy the park without having to hike too much. We had to turn around before reaching the top because my grandmother was freaking out and having trouble breathing. Trail Ridge is the highest paved road in the U.S. going up to over 11,000 feet. I've been down it on my bike after riding up a different dirt road that links up with it but I've never driven up it the whole way and normally I wouldn't dream of it but for now it's a way for me to get out and enjoy the mountains. During the summer it's crawling with tourists but it's the weekend before Memorial Day and even though it's unseasonably warm (80's in Estes Park, 90's down in Boulder) it's still not terribly crowded. The road has only just opened for the year and road crews had to move 15' high walls of snow to clear the road for Memorial Day weekend.

I don't remember having any fear issues when I road my bike down but driving up I have to confess I was starting to freak out once we got above treeline. The road is paved the whole way and though it's not super wide it's wide enough but still there are some tight, steep switchbacks with huge steep drop offs and no guard rails. I've been on way worse dirt roads before but still this was a bit hair raising in some places. I just can't imagine driving the snow 'plows' that cleared the road, having only tall poles sticking out of the snow to tell you where the road is beneath and not much margin for error.

It was a strange feeling being able to enjoy the beautiful views from the various overlooks without being exhausted from some big hike or bike ride. It's certainly not as satisfying of a feeling but it was nice for a change and I was so grateful to get out of the house. Once I'm better I certainly won't be making a habit of it though. You just can't fully enjoy nature from a car.

I've finally pretty much ditched the gimp sticks but I still don't feel too confident walking. I managed a 10 minute walk the other day but it wasn't pretty and I haven't tried again. I have good days and bad days and today's a good day. I tried riding on my bike trainer for the first time and it went o.k. Sitting on the saddle didn't really hurt though the doctor did warn it might start to hurt if I try to ride for long periods. I lasted about 13 minutes then noticed some pain when I stopped to fiddle with my MP3 player. It wasn't terrible but I didn't want to push it. I went pool walking a couple more times. I'm up to 50 minutes, 500 yards. It's kind of soothing at the start but after 1/2 an hour I start getting bored. I'm going to put my MP3 player in a ziploc bag and stuff it under my swim cap next time. I started wearing my old shortie wetsuit to keep me warm and it works a bit. I'm still a little cold but at least not to the point of shivering. I have a full wetsuit but I only bought it last year and it's too expensive to ruin in the chlorine. I've decided not to start swimming again until my neck/shoulder are better. I tried swimming backstroke but I was all over the pool and it was just too frustrating.

I've been keeping up with the distance work in the yard with the dogs. Still working on 2 jump sends and weave pole sends. Hopefully a friend will come over tomorrow to help move the A-frame so I can start working on that. Next week I'll start going back to the agility field so I work on the dog walk and other exercises that I can't really set up in my yard. I just ordered another distance DVD, the next in the series just came out, perfect timing. The stuff on the one I have is pretty basic. I'm going to work on having other people run the dogs too.

Tomorrow it's off to the mountains for a party. Lola will get to see her buddy Maggie so I'm sure there'll be plenty of shenanigans. Hope everyone out there is enjoying the holiday weekend.

1 comment:

  1. What's all that white stuff on the mountains called again?

    Sounds like you're working through the injuries ... frustratingly slow for you, I know, but patience will prevail. Hang in there.