I have to admit, after the adventure we had Saturday, Friday night's outing doesn't seem quite as awesome as it did at the time. Nevertheless, it was pretty cool.
We had planned a bike ride. There is a point we can drive to, a mile or two downhill from our apartment, that is right on a bike trail that goes west to Golden and east to the confluence in downtown Denver. It is the trail that Mosch takes every week when he rides to Golden and then up Lookout Mountain and back.
I wanted to try riding to Golden, but neither of us thought we would really make it. It's not a long ride - about 5.5 miles - but there are a couple of steep uphill parts between here and there. And I haven't ridden my bike in years, except once a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, we set out in that direction.
Early on, we ran into a young woman with a horse (we were in Prospect Park, where you can ride horses) who wanted someone to help her walk the horse home. She was horsesitting this horse and apparently it was skittish. I volunteered Mosch to walk her home and continued by myself.
When Mosch caught up to me, I was over halfway to Golden, and about halfway up the first of the steep hills. I'd never ridden on this trail before, of course, so I hadn't been at all sure what to expect. The steep hill was pretty crazy for me. I was in my lowest gear and moving so slowly that it took a lot of concentration not to veer off the path. My lungs were working at pretty much full capacity and my legs were hurting too. But I actually did make it to the top, at which point we took a break.
I didn't really want a break - I felt like going downhill would be a better rest - but the next steep hill was close by, so it was necessary. The next hill was equally steep, but not quite as long, and with some breaks, so I made it. After that, it was smooth downhill sailing into Golden, where we had a slice of New York pizza at Anthony's. Joy!
The ride back was physically easy - our car was about 500' downhill of downtown Golden, so most of the ride was very easy - but nevertheless perilous, for the simple reason that my bike currently lacks head- and taillights, and it was dark. Most of the time, I could see the path but not the details of the path, and I was just running along on faith, assuming there would be no rocks, bricks, pinecones, etc., to kill me.
Near the end, though, we went through some woods, and at times the path was made of black asphalt, and I was just watching Mosch's red flashing taillight about 50 feet ahead and following what I remembered of its path. (It was kind of like driving on the highway at night sometimes is, especially in a heavy rain.) If Mosch hadn't been there in front of me, I would have had to walk.
But we made it back without incident. I was incredibly high from the ride and excitement. I couldn't help remembering that when I first started biking in Denver, about 5 years and 60 pounds ago, we would ride 13 blocks, exactly 1 mile, to the park, and I would need two rest stops on the way (because the last 3 blocks were uphill, albeit so slightly that you wouldn't have noticed it if you were walking). Mosch would ride around the park while I rested, and then we would ride back.
So taking off and riding 11 miles round trip with a significant altitude change...that just rocks. (The whole trip, not counting the brief rest at the top of each hill, and of course not counting the time we spent at Anthony's, took an hour and 40 minutes.)