Elephant Rock Recap

Happy Monday! I’ve gotta tell you, I struggled to wake up this morning! I was so exhausted last night that I shut out my light and crashed at 8:15pm — literally! — and I still had a hard time getting up today. That’s what a busy weekend will do to you!

Elephant Rock was yesterday, and just to spoil the ending for those of you that don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, here is the end of the story: I finished the whole thing!

The day started out wicked early at 4am. I met my dad at 5 and we started the hour-long drive down to Castle Rock. I swear those nasty early mornings are always the same regardless of the event: I’m always asking myself why I paid to do this and why I chose to get up insanely early on my weekend. And yet…. I continue to register for events!

Anyway, Dad and I got down to the Douglas County Fairgrounds and parked by 7am. Elephant Rock has a rolling start, so the 62-milers were allowed to start between 6-8am. We had been hoping for an early start since the temps were supposed to soar into the mid-90s, but 7:35 was the best we could do!

Dad at the start

Both of us did Elephant Rock last year, so we each had a vague recollection of the course specifics. However, both of us must have altered something in our memories because neither remember how difficult the first 15 miles are! ERock is tricky because the steepest climb happens around mile 6. That’s pretty nuts when you consider it’s a 62 mile course!

Of course, I was overdressed in my Columbia Solar Half Zip long sleeve, and by the time I cranked my way to the top of the first climb, I was freaking hot as hell and my face was the color of a cherry tomato. Dad was waiting at the top, puffing and catching his breath, and the two of us looked at each thinking the same thing: “What in the world are we doing?!” Luckily, we both got our heart rates back down and continued on our way.

At the first rest station

It was also during this time that I got hit on during the ride! I was puffing my way up a climb and was cranking out a good pace, passing quite a few other cyclists. One of the men caught back up with me and goes, “You know, my friend told me that the only thing that got him over Squaw Pass was watching all the cute girls pass him on the climbs. He said it wasn’t a bad view. I was thinking the same when you passed me!” Seriously y’all??! I was covered in sweat and out of breath since I was powering my way up a hill, so I just stared at him and did the fake “Hahahaha.” What was I supposed to say to that?! That is NOT the time for a flirt session, people!

There were a couple other beastly climbs, so we were both psyched to see the first rest station at mile 16.5. ERock has 3 rest stations on the 62 mile course: miles 16.5, 33.5, and 44.5 Each one has the happiest group of volunteers and is packed with porta potties, snacks, water, and Cytomax. The snacks are awesome and included things like PopTarts, orange slices, granola, trail mix, and even Oreo cookies. We just had to be careful that we didn’t linger too long because hopping on the back and working the lactic acid through the legs was painful!

The section between rest station #1 and #2 was on a strip of road known as “Roller Coaster Alley” or something to that effect. None of the climbs were as large or steep as those in the first portion, but there was a lot of ups and downs. Remember how I told you that I hadn’t ridden my bike since August? Well, that also meant that I hadn’t looked at my bike components either. I had wanted to take my roadie in for a tuneup before ERock, but never had the time. I was cursing this oversight on Roller Coaster Alley as it became more and more apparent that I needed a new chain. Every time I dropped into my lower gear in order to climb the hills, my chain would drop suddenly and fall of the cog. I had to stop THREE TIMES in 10 miles so I could flip my bike over and put the chain back on. I got so frustrated that I finally quitting using my low gears and climbed all the hills in my second (middle) ring.

Let me tell you how totally awesome that felt on my quads!

The bright side of having a brutal first half of the course is that the second half is so much fun and encompasses a lot of downhill. Literally, from mile 34 till the end, there was only one massive climb– Elephant Rock itself. Other than that, there was a ton of downhill that I enjoyed the hell out of! Last year, I got up to 45mph on the descents, but this year, I decided not to be an idiot. I capped my speed at 36mph, but still looked on in awe as some crazy speedsters hurtled past me– they must have easily been doing 50. SCARY!

(Even better? I haven’t mentioned it yet, but last week Columbia sent me an amazing Outdoor Edition of the Hero2 GoPro camera. I tested it out yesterday for the first time during the ride, and I have some fun footage of the descent. Once I figure out this whole video editing deal, I post the footage. Totally makes me laugh!)

Dad and I were able to pick up our pace during this second half and average around 18mph. Of course, we had to average this with our incredibly sllllllllllloooooow first half pace. In the end , our stats were:

Miles: 62
Time: 4 hours 13 minutes (and some change)
Elevation Climbed: 4000 feet (the course said 3400 but my Garmin said 4000. I’m sticking to that!)

Back in the parking lot, after the ride. Both of us look a little sun burned and sweaty!

My fave part of the entire experience is that I got to do this with my dad. I know I am lucky to have such active parents, and even though they are both creeping up on 60 (they both turn 56 this month), they are in awesome shape and enjoy staying active. I really value the time that I get to spend with each of them because I know it won’t always be this way. Now I’m looking forward to running the Georgetown Half with my mom in August!

Final verdict today? I feel great! I have zero sore muscles and other than some serious sunburn and a slight urge to never sit on a bike saddle again, I feel awesome. Either running equals an awesome cross training tool for cycling, or I’m not meant to train for cycling events…. ever. Clearly I’m meant to wing ’em since I felt better during this ERock than I did last year!

********************

What did you do this weekend?

Do your parents stay active? Are you able to participate in events and activities with them?

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    Elephant Rock Recap

    Happy Monday! I’ve gotta tell you, I struggled to wake up this morning! I was so exhausted last night that I shut out my light and crashed at 8:15pm — literally! — and I still had a hard time getting up today. That’s what a busy weekend will do to you!

    Elephant Rock was yesterday, and just to spoil the ending for those of you that don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, here is the end of the story: I finished the whole thing!

    The day started out wicked early at 4am. I met my dad at 5 and we started the hour-long drive down to Castle Rock. I swear those nasty early mornings are always the same regardless of the event: I’m always asking myself why I paid to do this and why I chose to get up insanely early on my weekend. And yet…. I continue to register for events!

    Anyway, Dad and I got down to the Douglas County Fairgrounds and parked by 7am. Elephant Rock has a rolling start, so the 62-milers were allowed to start between 6-8am. We had been hoping for an early start since the temps were supposed to soar into the mid-90s, but 7:35 was the best we could do!

    Dad at the start

    Both of us did Elephant Rock last year, so we each had a vague recollection of the course specifics. However, both of us must have altered something in our memories because neither remember how difficult the first 15 miles are! ERock is tricky because the steepest climb happens around mile 6. That’s pretty nuts when you consider it’s a 62 mile course!

    Of course, I was overdressed in my Columbia Solar Half Zip long sleeve, and by the time I cranked my way to the top of the first climb, I was freaking hot as hell and my face was the color of a cherry tomato. Dad was waiting at the top, puffing and catching his breath, and the two of us looked at each thinking the same thing: “What in the world are we doing?!” Luckily, we both got our heart rates back down and continued on our way.

    At the first rest station

    It was also during this time that I got hit on during the ride! I was puffing my way up a climb and was cranking out a good pace, passing quite a few other cyclists. One of the men caught back up with me and goes, “You know, my friend told me that the only thing that got him over Squaw Pass was watching all the cute girls pass him on the climbs. He said it wasn’t a bad view. I was thinking the same when you passed me!” Seriously y’all??! I was covered in sweat and out of breath since I was powering my way up a hill, so I just stared at him and did the fake “Hahahaha.” What was I supposed to say to that?! That is NOT the time for a flirt session, people!

    There were a couple other beastly climbs, so we were both psyched to see the first rest station at mile 16.5. ERock has 3 rest stations on the 62 mile course: miles 16.5, 33.5, and 44.5 Each one has the happiest group of volunteers and is packed with porta potties, snacks, water, and Cytomax. The snacks are awesome and included things like PopTarts, orange slices, granola, trail mix, and even Oreo cookies. We just had to be careful that we didn’t linger too long because hopping on the back and working the lactic acid through the legs was painful!

    The section between rest station #1 and #2 was on a strip of road known as “Roller Coaster Alley” or something to that effect. None of the climbs were as large or steep as those in the first portion, but there was a lot of ups and downs. Remember how I told you that I hadn’t ridden my bike since August? Well, that also meant that I hadn’t looked at my bike components either. I had wanted to take my roadie in for a tuneup before ERock, but never had the time. I was cursing this oversight on Roller Coaster Alley as it became more and more apparent that I needed a new chain. Every time I dropped into my lower gear in order to climb the hills, my chain would drop suddenly and fall of the cog. I had to stop THREE TIMES in 10 miles so I could flip my bike over and put the chain back on. I got so frustrated that I finally quitting using my low gears and climbed all the hills in my second (middle) ring.

    Let me tell you how totally awesome that felt on my quads!

    The bright side of having a brutal first half of the course is that the second half is so much fun and encompasses a lot of downhill. Literally, from mile 34 till the end, there was only one massive climb– Elephant Rock itself. Other than that, there was a ton of downhill that I enjoyed the hell out of! Last year, I got up to 45mph on the descents, but this year, I decided not to be an idiot. I capped my speed at 36mph, but still looked on in awe as some crazy speedsters hurtled past me– they must have easily been doing 50. SCARY!

    (Even better? I haven’t mentioned it yet, but last week Columbia sent me an amazing Outdoor Edition of the Hero2 GoPro camera. I tested it out yesterday for the first time during the ride, and I have some fun footage of the descent. Once I figure out this whole video editing deal, I post the footage. Totally makes me laugh!)

    Dad and I were able to pick up our pace during this second half and average around 18mph. Of course, we had to average this with our incredibly sllllllllllloooooow first half pace. In the end , our stats were:

    Miles: 62
    Time: 4 hours 13 minutes (and some change)
    Elevation Climbed: 4000 feet (the course said 3400 but my Garmin said 4000. I’m sticking to that!)

    Back in the parking lot, after the ride. Both of us look a little sun burned and sweaty!

    My fave part of the entire experience is that I got to do this with my dad. I know I am lucky to have such active parents, and even though they are both creeping up on 60 (they both turn 56 this month), they are in awesome shape and enjoy staying active. I really value the time that I get to spend with each of them because I know it won’t always be this way. Now I’m looking forward to running the Georgetown Half with my mom in August!

    Final verdict today? I feel great! I have zero sore muscles and other than some serious sunburn and a slight urge to never sit on a bike saddle again, I feel awesome. Either running equals an awesome cross training tool for cycling, or I’m not meant to train for cycling events…. ever. Clearly I’m meant to wing ’em since I felt better during this ERock than I did last year!

    ********************

    What did you do this weekend?

    Do your parents stay active? Are you able to participate in events and activities with them?

    31 Comments

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    You.Are.Awesome. Love that you did this with your dad. So sweet! Unfortunately I don’t have active parents but they still support and cheer me on at races =)

  • Reply Kayla Carruth @ kpLoving It at

    Good job!!! Sounds like you did better than JUST FINISH!!! Of course your chain popped off 3 times in 10 miles!! It wouldn’t be a Colorado Gal experience if it didn’t!! haha.

    I used to run with my dad a lot back in high school and early college, but he prefers to swim..and I suck at that….So now we all kayak together. It is a blessing that you can be so active with your parents!

  • Reply Jamie at

    Congratulations!! I’m glad that you were able to do the entire ride and that you had an amazing day with your dad! My parents are really active too and it is nice to do things with them.

  • Reply Laura @ Mommy run fast at

    Way to go, Heather! That’s amazing! I love that you could do it with your dad. Such great memories!

  • Reply brg at

    great job!!! I did the 100 miler a couple of years ago – I remember it being really hot out there. Congrats to your Dad too…as a 50 year old – I gotta say – 56 isn’t creeping up close to 60 – it’s a LONG 4 years away!!!!

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      True! Pretty sure dad would kill me if he knew I used the phrase “creeping up.” Congrats on the 100 miler– those extra 40 miles would have annihilated me yesterday!

  • Reply Sarah Grecco at

    Congrats!!! That is amazing! I did back breaking yard work this weekend…..BORING. I know. My parents are active folks. AND they just became vegans…..

    xo
    Sarah
    Get Up & Go

  • Reply vcncvbnw at

    Congrats on ERock! It is awesome that you and your Dad were able to ride together. My parents just moved to Colorado last summer and they’re are doing tons of activities. It is super fun to join them when I’m not working. Now if I could just figure out how to retire in my 20s so I can enjoy retirement with my parents it would be a perfect arrangement.

  • Reply Kara at

    My favorite part is when you got hit on. 🙂

  • Reply Joey at

    Ehhhhh, I was the one trying to get your attention! How you doin’?

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      Hahah, well hi there, joey! Glad you used such a classy approach, too 🙂

    • Reply Joey at

      Eeehhhheee, I’m just sorry you missed out on me taking my cycling shirt off and giving the 6 pack some air to breathe

  • Reply Alyssa at

    LOVE that you did this with your dad! I really want to do a metric century this summer, and this makes it sound even more appealing. Of course, I also suffer from the “why the hell do I pay for this?” feeling when that alarm goes off at 4am though. It sounds like you guys did fantastic on a tough course!

  • Reply Melissa Balogh at

    Why must I always have the same “wear sunscreen,or the need to re-apply” conversation with you…..LOL!!

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      I put some on….but I had dad do my back and he missed a few spots 🙂 And….i forgot how the sun blasts your legs when you cycle vs. when you run. Sorry, sissy!

  • Reply mountainkait.com at

    Sounds like a great ride! I feel like I could use a good road ride like that to kick my butt. We went camping and mountain biking.

  • Reply Kierston at

    Sooooo cool! Congrats! Looks like loads of fun!

  • Reply Kristen Seuberling at

    I did the 34 mile course. It was pretty hard! We only had aid stations through the first half of the course, and it seemed like they loaded all of the harder climbs onto the second half of the 34. Looking forward to trying the metric next year.

    • Reply Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal at

      I heard they had to move an aid station closer to the start due to private property issues or something? Ooph, that must have made it tough! Congrats on finishing!!!

  • Reply Neon Blonde Runner at

    Heather, congrats on your metric century!!!

    I totally agree with you…when I did my century ride, my muscles felt fine afterward, but my butt was SO angry at me and I’ll have to do some heavy convincing before my next ride haha.

    LOVE how you did this together with your dad….I did a bike trip across Germany with my dad in 2005 after college and it was one of the best experiences of my life– because of the ride, etc. but mostly because I got to do it with my dad.

  • Reply Bean at

    Wow awesome bike ride! I think it is so great you got to do it with your dad. Makes it extra special. Just FYI I nominated you for a One Lovely Blog award, posted about it on my blog!

  • Reply Christi at

    Congrats on your Erock ride! My brother and I were out there also. Thank goodness we got done before the weather got really hot!

  • Reply Liz at

    Great job! I can totally echo loving your active parents – last year my dad and I did a 100 mile bike ride and he was 68 at the time. I was so proud and thankful he can still do stuff like that.

  • Reply Kathy at

    Wow!! That is a monster course!! Fabulous job!! Love that you did it with your dad!

  • Reply runderbykat.com at

    Totally awesome!!! You are amazing!

  • Reply Suz and Allan at

    Wow, I’m so impressed! Congrats to you and your dad-looks like a great day for you both!

  • Reply Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl at

    That is bad ass to be able to ride such an even with your dad. way cool!

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