St. Louis and recent rides

9 Sep

Central St. Louis, where we spent a lot of time over the weekend

Last weekend Liz and I were in St. Louis for a wedding, so I had a few days away from the bike and the computer.  St. Louis was nice and hot, around 100 every day we were there, except for Sunday, when we left.  Doh!  For bike-related events, the city was holding the annual Gateway Cup, four days of racing around St. Louis.  All four races were criteriums, so just your basic one mile, four-corner affair.  I was hoping to get out and see some racing, but unfortunately that did not work with the schedule.  I did see people biking around the city, but not nearly as much as in Denver; the heat may have contributed to that though.  My general impression of St. Louis is that right now, it’s not so bike friendly.  I saw very few streets with bike lanes, and a lot of the major streets had little room for bikes on them.  Granted, you can ride on them, but I wouldn’t say that it looked like a lot of fun.  St. Louis does have some nice parks though, and we spent time in both Tower Grove Park and Forest Park.  I could imagine myself riding laps around both of those parks to make up for the lack of good street riding.  I also saw that St. Louis is working on a comprehensive bike plan, so I’d venture a guess that the bike facilities will see improvement there over time.

Back in Denver, I did a few short rides this week in Washington Park.  The first two were pretty short because I felt like I had not been on the bike in a month.  I’m not sure if that was from all the travel, lack of sleep, and too much food and drink, but whatever the case, my legs felt weak and had no power.  So much for the two months of hard riding this summer!

Yesterday I went almost 20 miles, and rode from our place to REI downtown, then on past Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  The stadium had a new temporary sign on it, which looks much better than the blank facade that had overlooked I-25 before.  (I’m sure that’s all for the Monday night game against the Raiders, and I look forward to watching it, though I don’t expect the same type of show the Packers put on last night!)  Back to the riding – I cruised along the South Platte Trail for awhile, then went on-street to test the legs (and the Race Machine!) a bit.  I was starting to feel stronger again.

This morning I stashed my bike in the trunk and drove the work car back to the office.  From there I did a 9 mile loop around Cherry Creek Reservoir, then rode another 8 miles or so home, finishing in just over an hour.  Seems like I found some of that old magic again!  The loop at the reservoir is a lot of fun, but can also be punishing at points.  At both the east and west ends, the bike path crosses over the top of the dam, so there is some long gradual climbing there.  I felt all right on the climbs, and even better on the descents, some of which ended in turns that I was taking at 20+ mph.  No problem for the Race Machine!

All in all, this week’s riding has been decent after the slow start.  The past few mornings have started cooler, so fall definitely feels around the corner now.  Looking forward to more mild temps to ride in!

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