Monthly Archives: January 2018

5K/30 Day Challenge

To start off 2018 on a positive note,  Eric and I decided to participate in our health club’s January 5k/30 day challenge. That meant that every day we would walk, run, bike, swim, ski or row five kilometers.  I decided to use the time while doing the 5K daily activities to plan for our 2018 cycle tour.

The beauty of cross-country skiing is that you go at any time of the day…

We started the 30 day challenge on New Year’s Day  with a 14-km nordic ski adventure on Grand Mesa. With the dearth of snow in Colorado this winter we felt that, although the weather in Fruita is in the 40s and 50s and perfect for biking, taking advantage of a little snow and groomed tracks before they melt would be a great way to start  the New Year.  And during the drive up and back we talked about 2018 cycle plans.

Just before dusk at the Steamboat Nordic Center.

We continued the challenge on Jan 2 with a 3 1/2 hour drive to Steamboat (another place where there is a little snow) for some winter fun. We squeezed in a 10K skate ski around the Steamboat Nordic Center. Skate skiing is my absolute hardest aerobic  activity. Perhaps it’s my technique, or lack thereof, but if there is any kind of incline I have to stop and catch my breath every 50 meters or so….While I’m catching my breath my mind dreams about riding my bicycle in interesting places.

At the top of Steamboat Mountain Resort.

On Jan 3 we downhill skied 75 km at Steamboat. Considering we rode the lift up as many times as we skied down, I’ll divide 75 by 2 and say we skied 37.5K. I not sure how downhill skiing translates to the 5K/30 day challenge because we had the distinct advantage of gravity (according to Strava my maximum speed was 65 km/h which kind of spooks me out now but was sure fun while I was carving those turns). But, I just feel like I met the challenge because my heart was pumping and my legs were burning most of the afternoon.

We used the may lift rides up to talk about our summer rides – Novia Scotia, British Columbia, Portugal…

If you can’t tell, this is VERY icy and needs some more snow.

January 3rd included  a cross country ski trek on Rabbit Ears Pass. The solitude and stillness of the tour punctuated only by the crunch of our poles and the squeak of our skis over the hard-packed cold snow mimicked the peacefulness and relaxation of our cycle tours through remote countryside. The  bright-blue Colorado sky punctuated with dark, green evergreens dotting the blanket of white snow was the perfect setting for summer cycling ideas to fill my brain.

With the mild winter we were able to manage a 40km bike ride from our front door. Technically, we could ski in the morning and bike in the afternoon.

Winter ride to Highline Lake.

It’s now January 28th and I’ve kept up with the 5K/day challenge even though, for one day, it meant walking circles around the living room to meet the final 100 meters or so.

We’ve even managed a two-sport day: cross-country in the morning and downhill in the afternoon.

Freshly groomed tracks and smooth corduroy made the morning skate skiing on Grand Mesa a dream.
After a slow snow start, Powderhorn was finally able to open. The snow was good but dodging obstacles was a major challenge during each run.

So, after 28 days of the challenge, what are we planning?….

We’ve narrowed down that we  want to stay in North America. We’re thinking of a loop in the Hill Country of Texas during spring break. For the longer summer tour we’re thinking something like riding Amtrak from Colorado to Chicago and then cycling to Nova Scotia... Or heading up towards Banff or Lake Louise….But a friend just texted about a  two week trip on the Great Divide which would mean our first try at bike packing….That, too, sounds fun.

What do you think? Do you have specific routes you would recommend?