Considering Geography when training for the Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival

12744398_240792889586916_9021090736185048067_nOur Ambassador Jennifer Riccio shares a little bit about her local geography, her training routes and how she is preparing to ride the 2016 Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival metric century course:

I live in the foothills outside of Morrison, Colorado.  Because it is most definitely hilly, I get a lot of hill-climbing practice.  So in one sense, it is very helpful for training for this year’s Subaru Elephant Rock ride.  The main differences between the terrain in Morrison and Castle Rock, Colorado are the length and type of hills.  Some of the hills on the Elephant Rock course are a lot longer than what I ride near my home.  One of the biggest differences in the types of the hills on the Elephant Rock course versus my home terrain:  they go up, but they also go down! So it is possible to gain a lot of speed on the descents to make that next hill a whole lot easier.

Last year was my first year riding the Subaru Elephant Rock ride and I chose to complete the metric century course.  To prepare, I rode all the hills close to home as much as possible.  I enjoyed a successful ride last year, so I’ll be doing much of the same training for this year’s ride.

Early in the season, I like start at the locally “famous” Conoco station at the intersection of C-470 and Morrison Road.  (It’s “famous” because lots of local rides start there.)  From that starting point, I ride up the bike path that parallels C-470 north to Dinosaur Ridge.  The ascent over the ridge is pretty short, and then I usually extend the ride into beautiful Red Rocks Park.  Although there are not a lot of miles involved in this ride, it is a great way to get started.   And of course the real dinosaur footprints on Dinosaur Ridge are pretty awesome.

As the season progresses (and the weather gets warmer!) I often meet up with friends at the Wooly Mammoth Park-n-Ride lot along I-70 and ride to Golden, then up and over Lookout Mountain for a fun and fast descent back to the parking lot.  If I’m really ambitious, I will leave from my home to do this ride, which is about 35 miles total and approximately 3,000 feet of climbing.

Another aspect to training for the Elephant Rock ride is simply just spending some time in the saddle; that’s when I do more flat bike paths.  Another good ride close to home for me is Bear Creek Lake Park.  My favorite bike path in Denver is the Bear Creek Lake Park bike path because it so pretty.  It is also heavily utilized so is NOT a place to ride fast.  Often I connect with the South Platte River bike path and head south to make this a nice loop ride.

The last thing to mention as far as geography goes is something that has nothing to do with geography:  I also want to mention the value of riding with friends.  If you don’t know anyone to ride with, check out the many Meetup groups in your area.  A riding buddy will make all those hills that much easier!

See you (and maybe your riding buddy!) on June 5th in Castle Rock!