Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year and my Peru Adventure

I know it's a few days late, but Happy New Year.  2014 was a great adventure from moving from one job to exploring Colorado, Asheville, Wisconsin, Chicago, Ironman, Peru, and many other great things while I decided what's next for me.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after I changed jobs, but 2015 is leading me down a new path hopefully to Nursing School.  I start taking a class this spring with hopes of getting into Nursing School this summer.  It will be a new adventure and beginning.  Sometimes you don't know where life will take you, but you have to flow with it and always keep you mind up to new things and adventures.

With that I'll share some of my Peru adventures here.  Peru was an amazing country.  When I first arrived I knew of Machu Picchu, but didn't really know the country.  By the time I left, I found Peru to be a amazing country with a varied landscape and great people.  My adventure took from Lima to Huacachina, to Nazra Lines, Arquippea, Colca Canyon, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and finally Huaraz.

Here are some links to the pictures and videos.


Machu Picchu
Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu
Sandboarding from RJ Maguire on Vimeo.
Sunset over dunes from RJ Maguire on Vimeo.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fun South of the Equator!

Starting off my journey in Peru with Lima.  Just a couple of pics from today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Venture Out! Venture Out.:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Toughest Races and a couple of other list!

I started this post thinking about my toughest races and events and then more lists came to mind, so read on and enjoy.  Let me know what your toughest/hardest events were.

After completing Ironman Wisconsin in September, a lot of people would ask how tough was it?  My response is that it was a long day with filled with many emotions, thrill to start, some nervousness, some nausea, a couple of rough patches, and then a joy to finish!  I think with any race or even I've completed, it all comes down to the training for how you will fill for an event.  If you undertrain, the event will be much tougher and you will not like it as much.  If you put in the work, then everything should go smoothly.  Of course, weather, body, etc, could change that.  So below, I'll give you list of my "toughest" races.  I'll put them in a couple of categories because certain factors can play into each. 

Toughest races in terms of terrain and length. 

1. The Ouachita Challenge - 60 mile mountain bike race - Took me 7.5 hrs, I trained fairly well for this, but since I was still new to MTB it was a very diffcult and long race! Click here for the report.

2. Ironman Wisconsin - I've been racing in tris for 5 years now and all my training came together for this race!  It was a day filled with all kinds of emotions and challenges.  Click here for the post

3. Ride The Rockies - 6 days, 471 miles, 30,000ft of climbing, awesome bike ride across Colorado. Here is the post

Toughest events, it could be for a variety of factors, such as weather, length, training, etc.

1. The Ouachita Challenge - wins again, the weather was great, but the terrain, length, and some technical sections still help this win the day.  Maybe next time, it won't be so hard.  They say to train for the race who should ride the course.  I think next time I'll take that advice.

2. Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs 2011 - It reached 100 plus during the run and the wind was around 20mph for the ride back into T2. I cramped on the run due to poor nutrition on the bike, actually able to run parts of the second half of the run and crossed the finish line, feeling like I didn't know where I was!  Tough race!  Read the post here

3. First marathon 2008 NYC Marathon - Being that this was my first time to real train for any bike or run race this has to be on the list.  At the time, I didn't know anything really about running or training for a run.  I saw my dad complete the 2007 and thought I want to do this.  The training was tough and the race was tough also especially since I didn't know what to expect.  I find this marathon was much tougher than my Ironman marathon.  Both where within one minute of each other.

 Now what do you mean by training, I find that training for event is the toughest part of reaching that goal whether to run a marathon, complete a 5k, Ironman, etc.  You have to the drive and motivation to complete the workouts needed day after day, week after week to reach your goal. 

1. Martial Arts - I've been involved with Grand Master Hans Martial arts since 2006.  I've reached the rank of 4th dan black belt.  You are constantly learning new stuff and trying to perfect techniques.  The training never stops and the next rank takes longer the reach, but you have to continue to have the motivation and the drive to reach that next goal.  I'm motivated because I enjoy to train and I know there is always some technique or drill that I need to work on to perform better.  Also, it helps to teach and train other students to achieve their goals.

2. Ironman - Swim, bike, run, sleep, rinse and repeat for around 20 weeks. Long rides of 6 hrs, long runs of 2 hrs, long swims, drive to the pool, early mornings, hot days, rainy days, windy days, all reason to bag a workout.  It was tough to do week after week.  By the end, I was ready for the race and finished with training! 

3. Marathon - It was a tough decision between 2/3.  I choose 3 because is not as grueling since you can get more off days.  However, to run a great a marathon, you need to put in a lot of work and stay injury free.  I've never been a fan of the long run, but can get on the bike for hours at time?! 

Final List -Events/Goals/Future - There are more but here are a couple.

1. 5th Dan Master Level Black belt - Still years away and lots of hard work

2. Sub 20 5k - Fun fact about me, I've only run one open 5k, I think I avoid them because I won't be able to beat my one time set in 2009.

3. 50/100 mile ultramarthon - yep, sounds tough, intense, and epic.  Maybe one day.  Great thing about these events is that at least most of trail runs, bad thing is that I would have to do lots of running.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What I have been up to the past month update!

Well it's been just over one month since Ironman Wisconsin.  I've taken the time to relax and just enjoy doing whatever I like in regards to training.  No set workouts, no watching power, or heart rate.  I just step outside and enjoy the day! 

Now I did have a goal set for just after IM Wisconsin. I wanted to ride the BDB 100 in under 5 hrs with stops.  The day started out well, but once I hit the 62 mile mark it was a tough struggle to the the finish.  Also, for the last 30 miles, I did not have a big group to work with.  It was about 4 of us who were all in the about the same boat ride wise, just ready to finish!  I ended up finishing with a total time around 5:09 which is faster than last years total time, so I was happy about that.  The course was a new setup this year and I really enjoyed it.  The course felt more open and had some challenges with the rolling hills along Lake Maumelle and the nice climbs into Thornburg and Wye. 

My big focus lately has been swimming.  As Ironman was approaching, I was swimming some of the best times every for myself.  I took a 1.5 off and then slowly got back into building again.  My goal has been to get down to 1:20/100yd.  My best 100 time since IM has been 1:24, so I'm slowly approaching that goal.  Recently I was able to hold 1:35 on 1:45 which is some of the best intervals I've completed before.  Last week was a struggle and took it easy in order to recouperate after all the work I've been doing recently.

With the IM focus done, I've been getting back into martial arts.  It's been great to get back in class and work.  However, my muscles have not taken kindly to this and are usually sore after a great workout!

I finally completed my USAT coaching certification.  After taking the class at the beginning of August, I focused on reading the manual and then completing the test.  I completed the test first and then a couple of weeks later finished the CPR certification.  I should now be certified as USAT Level 1 coach.  

As far as plans for the rest of the year and 2015, I'm still working on that.  I would hope to start coaching in 2015 slowly helping people out to work on the experience.  I'm looking at the Little Rock half marathon/marathon for March and maybe some mountain bike events. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

IM Wisconsin 2014 Race Report

Well here it is for all the marbles.  One year after signing up I'm lined up in the water and ready for a long day of racing.  I'm calmed relaxed and ready to take on the day!  IM Wisconsin here I come!

Quick Background
Of course with any Ironman race you have to be early with the signup.  When this race opened in September, I was on the computer and signed with 10 minutes of the opening.  What had I just gotten myself into!  The winter months went by and I was mainly training for the Little Rock half working on my run speed and some distance.  With the LR Half in March, I would soon start the real training for Wisconsin.  Well life changed a little after March, I was out looking for a new job and along that time I got into Ride the Rockies.  Well I decided I wanted to do some traveling and train at the same time.  So in May, I was in Asheville riding and hiking and then June was a month in Colorado which included Ride the Rockies.  I was seeing great places and meeting new people along the way. Of course, by July it was time to buckle down and train for Ironman. I knew I was behind on the running, but I was good with the bike.  In July, I finished IM 70.3 Racine in 5:21 a PR for me.  I was feeling good.  In August, I went up to Madison and rode the course followed by a trip to Milwaukee to get my USAT Coaching Certfication.  September would come quickly.

I arrived up in Madison on Wednesday.  Since I decided to come up a day earlier than planned I stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown on Wednesday before moving to Doubletree on Thursday.  Both hotels are great places to stay for this race.  Both were around a mile from the race site which was not to bad.  They were also close to many restaurants and State St.  The DoubleTree actual sits on the run course, so family could easily watch the run and go to the room if they needed.

On Thursday, I checked into the race and got my race wheels that I rented from Race Day wheels onto the bike. I rented a Zipp 404 front and Zipp 808 rear.  It was great setup.   However, when I brought the bike back to the room I noticed I was having a issue with break.  It was back up the race site where I went to the Trek Tech Support that was setup.  The mechanics were great and had the brake fixed in about an hour.  They had to rerun the brake cable.  I had planned on short run, but by then had already walked around enough for the day.  Lunch was at a place called the Mediterran Cafe which was very good and Dinner was at the Great Dane, good beer and hamburger.

Friday was the day to get on the bike to test the wheels and shake out the legs.  I was going for about an hour ride.  Well about 25 minutes into the ride, a bee decided to dive bomb me and sting me on the tongue.  I had some small swelling but nothing too serious.  It was the first time I had been stung in over 10 years and probably more!  The rest of Friday was spent relaxing again.  I had lunch at the Old Fashion with dinner at El Dorado grill.  Lunch was the best of the day.

Saturday again was full of nothing with a short swim in the morning, lunch again at the Old Fashioned followed by some pizza for dinner.  Nothing attacked me today, nothing broke.  I set up my bags and bike and now it was time to race.

Race Morning
I was up around 4 the morning after a good nights sleep.  I was nervous and could tell because I was having trouble trying to eat my bagel and peanut butter.  I got to the race site around 5:15 and put the remaining nutrition on my bike and went down to where the swim entrance was and relaxed in the grass.  There I sat and ate a bonk breaker bar and sipped on some gatorade.  6:30 was approaching so I put my wetsuit on and dropped off my morning gear bag.  Someone let me know that it is best to get the water first because it can take a half hour to get everyone in the water and people can miss the start by still being on the "beach".  I was one of the first ones in line and waited and in the water we went.  I swam out to the first all the way to the left.  My plan was to start towards the back there and go.  I floated around saw the awesome crowd on shore and at 7:00 the cannon fired and we were off!

My goal for the swim was to stay relaxed and just get over the contact knowing that it was coming.  My plan was to hopefully get out the water in 1:30.  The course is one 2.4 mile swim, so it was a rectangle with a slant into the finish.  The first turn buoy is around 1200 meters.  This first part was not that bad contact wise.  Since I started along the buoy line I knew the turn would be crowded and it was.  Going up to the second turn the hits came a coming and after making the second turn it quitted a bit, but about half way the contact started again to the third buoy.  The whole time I was relaxed and keep swimming forward.  Finally coming to the 4 turn the final stretch was in site.  I actual took this turn incorrectly and got off course a little.  I knew something was wrong when I no longer had any contact!  I pushed towards the finish and came out in 1:22.  Much better than I was hoping!

You usually don't talk much about transitions but this one is pretty awesome.  You run up the spiral on the parking deck with the crowds lining the whole way.  It makes the run up seem so much easier.  You head into the convention center grab you bag and go.  I also found advice that you shouldn't put your bike shoes on until you get to your bike or close to the mount line because it is a long transition.  My bike was near the mount line, so I ran with my shoes all the way to my bike.  A volunteer handed me my bike and it was off to the bike we go!

Having ridden the course the month before, I knew what to expect.  The goal was take the hills easy the first loop and see what happens the second loop.  My goal was to finish around 6 hrs.  The first 5 miles are on some trails and through some parking lots before finally getting on the open road.  I keep it easy and started taking nutriution in.  I was surprised that about 10 miles into the bike I started to get a headache.  Note in the future, keep some tyelnol.  Figuring it was dehydration or lack of food.  I started my nutrition a little heavy probably at first.  The first loop was crowded with bikes and people.  You had to be careful on some of the rollers out there because they would get crowded with bikes.  The crowd support was great on the 3 sisters and was massive in Verona.  The second loop the headache persisted and I was starting to feel nauseated.  By the special needs station, I had finished two bottles of Gatorade and two bottles of water.  Along with 7 gels and 2 bonk breakers.  The second loop I was fighting the headache and nausea.  It got pretty bad around Mile 90.  I keep pushing to the finish though hoping for a quick rest in T2!  I continued trying to take nutrition in, just so I would feel better.  I came into T2 right at 6:00hrs just as I had planned even with a headache and nausea. 

Just some other notes on the bike, I love this bike course.  It was a challenge and fun.  The crowds were great and volunteers were awesome.  The weather was perfect 75F.  Towards the end I could feel the heat a little.  The wheels were great and I think really helped.

Biking up the spiral to T2, I was ready to be off the bike.  I ran inside the convention center grabbed my bag and sat down thinking I only have a marathon left.  I lingered for maybe just a moment to recover and it was off to the run.  I stopped at the bathroom to pee and it was onto the run.

Maybe it was the adrenline, but as soon as I started running, the headache was gone and the nausea left!  My plan was to run between aid stations and walk the aid stations and the one big hill on the course.  I hit the first 6 miles feeling great!  I was walking taking nutrition and thinking that this would be perfect!  The crowds were great and I was feeling it!  However, as I got to mile 12, the nausea returned with a vengence.  I was left to a walk run for the remaining 14 miles!  I saw my parents and sister and she remarked later after I had given her a high five that my hands were cold and clamy which this around mile 12.  I passed through the turnaround point knowing that the next 13 miles would be tough.  I still keep a smile on my face.  I would try to run when I could and then I would be close to sick and start walking again.  I talked to people along the way and had as much fun as possible.  I tried to stick the Heisman pose when I was in Camp Randall Stadium and just generally tried to remain upbeat.  I knew I was about to be an Ironman.  Finally around mile 20 as it was getting dark, the nectar of the gods came out.  Chicken broth was on the course.  I started hammering this down hopefully to help out.  I started to feel better by mile 24 and finished the course with a better run walk towards the end.  I had a great time on the course.  The run course is flat with one big hill.  It is a nice relief from the hilly bike course.

As I approached the capital again, it was time to run it in!  Ironman Wisconsin is about to be complete.  Apparently, I couldn't do simple math.  I was thinking my finish was going to be close to 13hrs.  Well to my surprise, I see the clock at 12:27:16 and here Mike Reilly say RICHARD MAGUIRE you are an IRONMAN!  I crossed the line got my medal, shirt, hat, and picture.  What an awesome day this was.  All the training had paid off and I was an IRONMAN!

 I'll leave with a couple of videos I found also.  Great day and thanks to all the volunteers and my family for the support on the course and training!

I haven't updated in awhile

My training went well after the 70.3 in Racine.  Most of the training between then and IM Wisconsin was more intensity on the bike while building my run mileage.  Towards the end of the training period leading up to Wisconsin, I could feel some fatigue building and I was ready to get Wisconsin over with.  The taper was tough because all of the sudden I wanted to do more!  I completed IM Wisconsin in 12:27:16 great race and report to follow!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Racine and Training notes

Around the 4th of July, I decided that I would sign up for this race.  It was late sign up.  I wanted to do a 70.3 before Wisconsin in September but couldn't make up my mind which one to do.  I had a choice of smaller races, but decided I wanted a larger race to get a feel for a bigger race since it's been 3 years since I've completed a 70.3.  The last 70.3 I completed was Buffalo Springs and it was an epic weather day with 100 plus degree temperatures.  I knew the weather in Racine should present me with pretty good conditions.

Leading up to the race 4 weeks before, I had just completed Ride the Rockies a 6 day, 471 mile, 30000ft of climbing ride.  The week after the ride was exactly 4 weeks out.  I took this week to rest and put in some easy workouts.  I could feel the fatigue from the week before. After workouts, I would feel wiped out!  By the second week, I was starting to feel good.  I knew it was time to get more miles in on my tri bike and work on pacing for the Ironman and 70.3. 3 weeks out from the race my long ride was 84 miles with a 9 mile run for a total of 204 miles that week.

Three weeks out of from the race I went on my longest ride on my tri bike for the year.  I put in a 100 mile on Thursday and then a 10 mile run on Saturday.  It was a great week of training.  I had some good hill training on the bike and run during the week.  The miles for the week totaled around 175. 

I'm now two weeks out from the race and it was time for a big week before just putting a 6 day taper for the race.  During this week, I focused on higher intesity while still working some long stuff in.  My long ride for the week was 66 miles, but it was at 80% and I felt great after the ride with a good 2 mile run afterwards.  I ended the week with a 50 mile ride on Saturday and then a 9.1 mile run on Sunday still feeling great.

Race Week
The plan for race week was to put in some light miles on the bike with some pickups.  I took Monday off except for swimming.  Tuesday and Wednesday I got in around 20 miles each day of the bike focusing on power just above and below my goals for the race.  On Thursday, I drove up to Chicago and was able to get in a 4 mile run at a little harder pace that I wanted, but still felt great.  On Friday, I worked in an open water swim in Chicago.  This was the first time I've swam in wetsuit since May.  I was also looking to feel the water since the rumor was the temperature at Racine was near 60.  Saturday I drove up to Racine and picked up my race packet and prepared for the race.  The temperature of the water was 62 on Saturday.  I went down to the beach and got in the water thinking this water isn't to bad.  I put in a 15 minute swim and then a 20 minute ride.  Everything was feeling good for race day!

Race Day
I awoke around 3:45am.  My plan was to eat small, a smoothie, bonk breaker, and a banana.  I usually keep pre race meals pretty light.  I was onsite by 5:15 and setup quickly.  Now it was time for the wait.  Transition closed at 6:30 and my wave was not scheduled until 8:16.  I went to the portajohns one last and then walked the one mile to the swim start. The goals for the race were around 40:00 swim, 2:40-2:50 bike, and sub 1:50 run.  With a final goal of under 5:30 for the race.

With the late start, I sat around watching wave after wave head out.  About 30 minutes before my wave, I decided it was time to get in the water.  Surprise the water was a little colder than Saturday afternoon.  However, once I swam further away from shore it wasn't too bad.  I was in for about 20 minutes and then lined up with my wave.  I lined up about the middle of the pack and the horn sounded and it was time to go.   Sometimes during open water swims, I get uncomfortable, but as I started I was really relaxed.  I staying just off someone's feet and was quickly to the first turn buoy.  From this point, it was a long straight swim.  I was comfortable and feeling good the whole time. Towards the end, I was feeling a slight chill due to the cold water, but nothing bad.  I made the final turn and it was into the finish. 

My goal for the swim was to hopefully finish under 40 minutes.  I crossed the exit in 43 minutes.  While not my best time, I would say this was the most comfortable I've been on a swim.  If I can maintain the same at IM Wisconsin I'll be happy.  My swim time was about average.  Out of 2300, I was 1279. 

It was a long run to transition through sand and then around transition before finally entering.  My time was 4 minutes.  I quickly put all my bike gear on and off on the bike.  The plan for the bike was to maintain around 80% of FTP.  This would be put around 170W for the ride.  I had not driven or pre-ridden the course.  I knew it was flat to small rollers, so I wasn't to worried.  The first miles were tough as the road was not in the best condition.  This would be a theme throughout various parts of the course.  The pavement would be good and then terrible.  Throughout the ride, I was feeling good and able to maintain a great tempo.   During the bike, I took in one bottle of gatorade, one bottle of perform and two bottles of water.  I felt great hydration wise.  For calories, I took in 5 clif gels, and one bonk breaker. The ride was uneventful and as I was getting closer to town I knew I would reach my 2:40 goal.  I rode in at 2:42.

The run is what can make or break a race.  Before the race, I found out my full charged garmin 310xt had turned on and drained the battery.  I did not bring the charger, so I decided to carry my 500 with me just to record the run.  The run was a flat run.  It had two small hills during each loop.  The goal for the run was to quickly walk the aide stations to fuel up.  I came out of transition feeling great.  The first 3 miles went by at around 8:06 per mile pace.  I was feeling good.  The next 3 miles the pace started to fall to around 8:14.  I was thinking ok, I'm good with that I wanted to push the final 6.  Making the turn for the second loop, I found that it may be tougher to push than I thought.  Miles 6-9 fell to around 8:20.  Uh, ok.  The final 3 I got this!  Nope, I started to fall to around an 8:30 pace.  The whole time aerobically I felt fine, but my legs just wouldn't let me push.  I finished the run in 1:49:46.

I finished in 5:21:44.  This was a PR and under the time I had set my goal for.  Overall, I finished 61st in my AG, 389 out of males, and 456 overall.  There were 230 in my AG, so I'm happy where I finished.  I felt with just a 6 day taper I performed beyond my expectation.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will continue my focus on the run and swim, while maintaining on the bike.  I have some trips, so I will plan to workouts effectively to get the work that I need to be doing.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week 15/16 - The Journey to Ironman Wisconsin Training

This will be a combined post from the last two weeks of training.

Over the last two weeks, I have been focused on increasing my swimming and running while maintaining my biking.  I've been very happy with the running.  I had a long run of 8 miles and then 10 miles.  Both runs, have been focused on IM pace and a 10-20 sec walk each mile to simulate walking through the aid stations.  The runs have been close to 9 min/mile which is what I am looking for in training and hopefully the race! 

The swim training has been good, but still not as consistent as I would like.  With the Fourth of July holiday last week, I only got two swims in.  The previous week I was able to get three in and they felt really good.  This week I've had a small pain in my lat, so I missed Monday to let it heal. 

Biking is going great as usual.  I did long rides of 80 miles and then 100 miles.  On the rides, I focused on nutrition and pacing with both working out pretty well.  This week the focus is more on a harder pace over shorter distances. 

I have Ironman 70.3 Racine coming up on July 20th, so I hope the soreness in my back goes away by then!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ride the Rockies 2014 Recap

Well it's been just over a week since I finished Ride the Rockies 2014.  Ride the Rockies (RTR) is a 6 day, 471 mile ride that was from Boulder to Golden.  Each year the ride accepts 2,000 people via a lottery system.  Every year the route is different.  The route this year was to go from Boulder to Winter Park, Winter Park to Steamboat Springs, Steamboat to Steamboat loop, Steamboat to Avon, Avon to Breckenridge, and Breckenridge to Golden.  Along with the miles, this year route included plenty of climbing, just over 30,000ft to be exact.

My training up to the ride was good.  I was getting in just around 200 miles a week and had a big week of just over 300 miles.  After traveling around Colorado for 10 days and doing some hiking and cycling.  I was feeling good for the ride.

Boulder to Winter Park
I had already been in Boulder for a couple of days, so all I do logistically is get my truck to Golden for the week long parking.  I arrived at the high school around 11am and dropped my bike off and headed to Golden where a bus took us back to Boulder.  It was pretty easy logistically.  Once back in Boulder, I went to check in and also drop my bag off at my tent.  For this event, you can outdoor camp, indoor camp, or even use hotels.  I went with the outdoor camping.  However, I used Sherpa Tent Service.  This service would setup a tent for you with a sleeping bag, air mattress, and put your bag in there everyday.  This would come out to be useful soon!

The great thing about this ride was that it was very easy to meet and talk to people since I was doing this by myself.  The first night I went to dinner at a burrito type location called Illegal Pete's.  It was a good dinner and by 9pm I was asleep in the tent.

My plan was to be up and on the on the road by 7am on Sunday.  The forecast was calling for around a 40% chance of thunderstorms.  Colorado weather usually hits in the afternoon and with a 84 mile and 10,000ft of climbing day ahead, I knew it was going to be a long day.  I heard people talk that you never know what kind of weather you get in the summer, so I brought along leg/arm warmers and a rain jacket.  The ride started out by heading up the Boulder Canyon.  It was slow steady climb up the canyon.  You got to see the creek flowing strong and the towering walls of the canyon.  Once we came out of the canyon, the Rockies were in view at Neaderland site of the first rest stop.  I was told that you have to eat the Flippin Jack Pancakes.  These are pancakes made my guy with a giant griddle.  He can supposedly feed 500 people an hour.  I can see why with the large griddle and a machine that pours the batter onto it.  After the pancakes and a little rest, it was back on the road.  The road out of Neaderland again was climbing.  This time the views were constant of the snow capped peaks of the Rockies.  Once at the second aid station, I realized that I was kinda of out in front of everyone.  There were very few people at this aid station.  I had a quick PB&J and hit the road.  The road took us through Central City and Blackhawk.  Both towns, were built on the Casinos in the area it seemed.  The towns reseambled old west towns, but everything was new.  There were some tough hill short hill grades in these towns, but after it was a fast downhill in Idaho Springs.  At the rest stop, you could see a thunderstorm brewing in the distance.  I quickly hit the road again hoping to get out in front of it.  As I was riding to Empire, the clouds were getting black and had a pretty strong head wind, but by the time I arrived at Empire, I had cleared the storm before the worst of it.  At the aid station, I heard that it had hailed and stormed on people back in Idaho Springs.  I thought to myself that the worst was over!  From Empire, it was time to climb Berthod Pass and then decsend into Winter Park.  The climb up was nice with nothing to hard to climb.  As I was climbing, you could feel the temperature start to drop and see the clouds build again.  I reached the top and had a quick coke due to a feeling of low sugar levels.  After the coke, I was feeling pretty good, but it did start to get cold up there and it was SNOWING a little.  As I started the ride down, I soon saw a wall of white in front of me!  As soon as I hit it, it was raining, snowing, and sleeting for a 15 mile descent into town.  I kept my hands firmly planted on the handlebars even though I couldn't feel them.  I was shaking pretty good and was freezing.  However, once I got within a mile or two of town, my hands were a little warmer due to riding hard downhill.  I quickly dropped my bike off and headed to the tent.  This was the service was great is that I didn't have to worry about setting up a tent in the cold and rain!

I showered, warmed up, got a massage, ate a burger, and then a pizza and it was off to bed again by 9pm.

Winter Park to Steamboat Springs
The weather forecast for the night before was looking good.  A clear day with temps getting into the 60s.  However, we had to get over the cold morning.  It was in the mid-20s first thing in morning and not only that, due to the rain the night before my bike had ICE all over it. Chain, derailleur, brakes, and even the hubs were all frozen solid.  I had to wait until the sun came up to dethaw my bike.  Once the sun was out the temperature warmed and it was off to ride!

The ride for today called for 94 miles and around 4000 ft of elevation.  The bulk of the climbing was at the end of ride going up Muddy Pass and then Rabbit Ear Pass.  The great thing about today is that the ride was fairly flat with some rollers in the middle.  We were able to work with a few people along the way that made this fastest day of the week.  The climb up Muddy and Rabbit's were too bad, and we had a pull from a couple of guys that were pretty strong riders. The day featured a lot of plains and a view of the mountains towards Rabbit Ears.  The descent into Steamboat was awesome.  We went from around 9000 to 6000.  It was a non-technical descent, so you could bomb down it!

That evening I had dinner at a grill just at the bottom of the Gondola, it wasn't a bad burger, but the place was slammed back. Like most nights, I was in bed by 9:30 for the ride the next morning.

Steamboat Loop
The third day called for a "rest" day if you wanted or you could ride a 54 mile loop with around 4,000ft of climbing.  They called it a non-rest day because the route was more difficult then it looked. For this ride, I was able to demo an S-works Tarmac with Sram Red.  It was an awesome bike.  It responded great to the climbs and was very stable even over rough roads.  The route featured many rollers and quick hits on climbs.  There about 5 short climbs and numerous rollers which made this for a much tougher day. Overall had a great time on this loop with plenty of good views. After the ride, I got the chance to go into Steamboat where we got to tour Kent Erickson bikes and see how handmade bikes are made and the type of bikes that they make.  I'm jealous.  I want one!

Steamboat to Avon
On Day, it was time to leave Steamboat and head on to Avon.  The route today was 82 miles with 5,000 ft of climbing.  The first 40 miles was a slow long climb.  The grade wasn't tough, but it was enough that you could push the pace without killing yourself.  Most of the views were of the plains with a small view of the mountains.  This was a tough for me towards the end.  The winds were pretty strong and the last 15 miles were a slow slog.  4 days of riding was starting to get to me!  I was happy to get to Avon.

Avon to Breckenridge
The ride today was a 74 mile ride with close to 6,000ft of climbing.  This was the "Triple Bypass" day.  We would cover three passes with the top being Fremont Pass.  This was probably the most scenic day of all.  Right off the bat, we are climbing and heading into the mountains.  After the first pass, we are heading to towards Leadville with a lot of the ride above 10,000ft.  We are in the valley, with mountains surrounding us on all sides.  There were some flatter sections at least, but I was enjoying the views.  Again, the tough part of the ride was the last 10 miles, it was a slog into Breckenridge, but I made it.  It was slightly uphill into town which made those miles tougher!

Breckenridge to Golden - The End
Well today is the last day, 77 miles and 5,500 ft of climbing on tap for today.  The morning started rather cold with temperatures near 30.  Frost had formed on my bike from the night before.  It's amazing how cold it can get at night here in Colorado.  The ride today was to take us over Loveland before a mostly downhill finish in Golden.  The climb up Loveland was great with views over the valley and A-Basin.  Once over the top, it was downhill towards Idaho Springs.  You would have thought it would have been faster, except there were some narrow bike paths and some roads that were not very good for riding fast downhill.  After Idaho Springs, we had two hills to climb before the final finish into Golden.

After 471 miles, 30000ft of climbing, I was glad to be done, but also disappointed that the ride was over.  This is a great event and the people that put on the event did an excellent job.

Below are various videos and such that I found on Ride the Rockies Facebook page