Denver to Golden: Riding Up

When we hit the first mile-long incline, I said “Really? That’s the ‘challenging’ part? Psh, I’ll be fine!”. Colorado, I should’ve known you better.

D took me out on my longest bike-ride to date, and I tried to refrain from being neurotic about the distance on G. Not at “40” exactly?! Uhm, no, really, it’s okay. I don’t want to spend another 2 minutes on this bike seat.

Avoid neurosis? Check!


All photos courtesy of D’s Iphone.

I had been wanting to try the Ride-to-Golden for a long time; this request was usually matched with a reason that my legs may not be up for it (Long Run, Ryders, and/or a combination of those two + not riding my bike more than the 2 miles to work). But yesterday, my attitude dictated that we had to at least try – I had to do something that got me off the Cherry Creek trail.

D agreed, we suited up, and I said “Let’s get it up to 40 miles!”.

Ambitious attitude, at its best.

He rides to Golden and back for an “easy” ride, but warned me many times that it’s hilly. See my reaction above – to sum it up, naive.

Ds Iphone 058Ds Iphone 059

Climbing out of Denver wasn’t a ride in the park (instead it was straight ahead on a neighborhood road, through a few suburbs), but nothing that jolted me out of my comfort zone.

Once we got closer to Golden, the options were: turn right into the intersection of a few highways, through a round-about (they have those in Denver?! I thought DC & Annapolis took the cake on that) and into downtown; turn left and go through a hilly neighborhood to avoid highway traffic. Clearly we went with the latter, at this point I thought “hilly” was relative.

I was wrong.


We rode through the downtown Farmers Market + Festival, the School of Mines campus and up to the base of Lookout Mountain. I barely made it to the park after the initial climb, and parked it.

Ds Iphone 057

There was no way I had a full climb in me, so I sat to eat and D rode on. Adios! My stomach needed some TLC.


About thirty minutes later, my bike-buddy returned and it was time to ride home. We skipped the hill-dominant neighborhood and survived the round-about. We discussed where to get lunch when we got back, which was motivation enough to keep pedaling. We avoided a storm, and thanked Denver for the 70* sunshine.

Ds Iphone 060 Ds Iphone 063

Left: This riding-home thing is awesome! So many declines!
Right: A feast for two, courtesy of Whole Foods.

39.22 miles (I know….”.22? Really?!”), check!
Elevation Gain: 1,667 ft

Thanks to D for taking it slow with me, eventually this rides won’t be so painfully long!

All in all? Huge Success!

Next time I’m going for 50 – maybe we’ll get to Boulder.


Now, cyclists, it’s your turn to weigh in! I know 40 miles isn’t “long” for most frequent riders – but sitting on that bike seat for 2+ hours is never pleasant, in my opinion. What’s the secret? What magic product am I missing out on?



Filed under bike rides, Exploring Colorado, new things!, pictures, weekends

16 responses to “Denver to Golden: Riding Up

  1. 40 miles is long for me! i average around 30, haha. But thankfully, we have lots of good larabars to keep us fueled for the ride. PB &J is a favorite.

    I handed out the lara bars to one of the Celiac triathletes at REV3 last weekend. Its a good thing I did because the nutrition on the course was full of gluten which she couldn’t eat. Saved by lara!

    • Heather C

      That’s such a great Larabar story, love it! 🙂

      I think 30 is the perfect bike distance – long enough for a good workout, just short enough to keep all body parts happy, haha

  2. Ummm yeah, I was hurting from an HOUR on my bike seat! Yowzas. Congrats on the milestone, and a tough ride to-boot!!! Love the pics.

  3. Lauren

    I biked 12.3 miles on friday and was proud of myself…until I read this. gaaahh That’s crazy!! Good job 🙂

  4. ok. no underpants, ride glide and a correctly-fit bike (you probably have all these things, but just checking!!). but after about 60, it just doesn’t matter, it all hurts. and i notice that as i get tired, i’m leaning more on the, erm, front part of my crotch so that hurts more. also, getting up on your pedals every once in a while to let the “breeze” through really helps me. 🙂 was that all TMI??? congrats on your ride, that looks tough!

  5. also, um, are you not riding clipped in? i may be full of crap, but i think climbing is easier when you are superglued to your bike….(check with D for real answer on this 🙂 )

    • Heather C

      Uhh…haven’t put the clip-in shoes back on yet…it’s a goal for this week though. Those climbs, and long rides in general, would definitely be easier 🙂 D tells me the same thing!

  6. It just takes many rides in the saddle and I swear your lady parts toughen up. Not kidding.

  7. If you have your bike’s original seat, buy a new one, specially a women’s specific one. I assume you’re wearing padded shorts (but honestly, I never noticed a difference when I was wearing them), and of course, the chamois butter thing, which is basically the body glide for bikers (creamier than body glide though).

    • Heather C

      DEFINITELY wearing padded shorts – can’t imagine doing otherwise! Ouch.

      Thanks for the chamois butter idea, though!

      • aimz

        Chamois Cream a must! I ride up to 20 hours a week, and I promise, it does get easier the more often you do it. You just need to toughen up your ‘bits’.
        The right saddle is imperative. I’ve been through about 10 different ones to find one that is bearable, and I’m still not completely satisfied!

  8. yay! nice work. this is helpful for me, too, as a beginner MTB. p.s. today my 7 yo and I rode 10 miles round trip to get ice cream and on the way home she said “mom, my butt hurts. even my ….. privates!” she whispered. ow! poor kiddo. must get her padded shorts, too, I guess.

  9. Pingback: Weekend Exploration, Part II: Green Mountain Summit | Dietitian on the Run

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