Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hills Baby

I passed up a trip to the mountain biking mecca of Moab, UT last weekend because I haven't been riding enough hills to feel confident on the trails out there. Jonny went with some friends leaving me to fend for myself with the 3 dogs. He gave me a stern lecture about not wanting to come home to find more dogs than when he left. After leaving me to take care of those 3 on my own for 3 days his real worry should have been coming home to at least 3 dogs. In fact after trying to do my taxes with 3 stir crazy border collies bouncing off the walls while it rained solidly all day Saturday he was lucky to return to find any dogs at all. And actually if he'd had the situation properly sussed his real worry should have been whether I was going to burn the kitchen down. In the end the kitchen and I survived, just.

Saturday I took all 3 out for a 50 minute walk with some off leash running in the park in the pouring rain in the morning. Then I took Lola & Strum for a 2 mile run in the late afternoon. Wussy Boulderites didn't want to get their widdle feet muddy so I had the whole Wonderland Trail to myself. Sunday I took Lola & Strummer to the Rez for an hour long romp in the a.m. then drove 45 minutes up to Windsor for an agility fun match with Cody & Strummer. Went for a 1 3/4 hours bike ride when I got home then took Lola out to Biscuit Eaters for some agility. Got home at 7:45 pm and decided 3 dogs and 4 sports is a bit over the top.

I've been gradually phasing the hills back into my running and cycling. Yesterday I hit the Foothills trail by my house for about 52 minutes, my longest run in 2 years. The best part though was the hill at the halfway point. It's not all that big but it's a wee bit technical and it is a hill. It felt pretty cool to be picking my way up & down a rocky trail again no matter how slowly.

Today Jonny took me on a little biking adventure on the roads just out our back door. We went up an area called Bow Mountain which is a nice quiet road off the more popular Olde Stage/Lee Hill route. The roads turned to dirt soon enough then back to pavement then back to dirt again as we cruised around the various little mountain subdivisions. Best part though was the super steep dirt roads with pretty much no traffic on them. Heart pounding, legs burning. lungs ready to explode, beautiful views of the plains and the Continental Divide-whew it feels good to be alive! I can't believe I've had all this great riding out my backdoor all these years and didn't know about it. It's so easy to fall into a rut and ride the same old routes all the time. The only bad part is that it was over much too quickly, 1:50 or so, fine for today when I'm not in such great shape but a bit short for an epic summer ride.

I've got an agility trial next weekend but I think if I can keep up with the hills over the next 2 weeks I'll be ready for the 2 hour grindfest up to the mountain town of Gold Hill the following weekend. Then maybe I'll feel more confident taking to the trails.


  1. This first paragraph gave me a good laugh to end my day.

    Rainy days and being out and about--it's so hard to find places here where dogs can be off-leash. We dog owners tend to be sneaks about it and just do it when/where we think people won't notice or complain. There's one large suburban park with a hill and a little trail that many dog owners take off-leash advantage of--and many joggers and strollers, as well. I get to where I just want to avoid ALL of them. So on drizzly mornings, I'll dash out of bed, toss the dogs in the car, drive over to the park, and slosh around the field with the frisbee and the dogs and splorch across the hill a couple of times, because I can do it without encountering any other wussy Californians who don't want to get a little damp, and all I have to pay for it is drying out my shoes and jacket (and dogs) afterwards.


  2. We get something like 300 days of sunshine a year so whenever it's so much as cloudy the whole town shuts down. I'm from Chicago so I'll go out in just about anything.

    There are lots of trails around that allow dogs off leash but none within walking distance so I'm sometimes breakin' the law, letting the dogs run in the park if I don't feel like driving somewhere.

  3. Right, same thing in San Jose, but even more so--and even rainy days are usually NOT rainy for a good portion of the day, although the ground might still be soggy.

    And there are leash laws here, too, so we're all technically lawbreakers. But my theory is that if no one complains, they'll mostly leave us alone. Except for some places that go way over the top. I used to live in Campbell, just up the road, where they didn't allow dogs in their parks *at all*. So although I had a park across the street, if I tried even so much as some heelwork on leash for obedience training, I'd get a security guy coming across the lawn at me within about 3 minutes telling me to go away.