Rocky Mountain Ramblings

Life in the Bike Lane: Denver to Red Rocks April 28, 2014

I biked to Red Rocks from my apartment in Denver on Saturday, something I’ve wanted to do for about a year now.  The whole ride, with breaks and lunch, took about five hours, which is probably pretty slow in cycling time.  I used an odometer app on my smartphone to track my distance and I biked further than I ever have before – just over 30 miles. 

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My planned route put me on the South Platte River Trail near the intersection of Kalamath and Alameda.  As I began my journey I passed a few lower-class citizens who were sitting along the trail drinking beer and cheering for everyone who passed by, which made me laugh.

Platte River, fracking fluid and all

Platte River, fracking fluid and all

I followed the trail south for about four miles and then turned off onto the Bear Creek Bike Trail.  It was awesome.  There was beautiful weather, plenty of other cyclists and the charge on my iPod lasted the whole ride. 

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Once I hit mountain scenery it was nothing but smiling and pedaling. 

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Somewhere around mile 20 I passed through a golf course and could see the path ahead of me wound up a big hill.  I was nervous for the incline, but pedaled toward it. Sure enough, I found myself biking my first switchback.  Up and around the hill I went, breathing heavier than ever, my bike set to the highest gears of its soul. 

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I stopped for a few photo opps along the climb, which helped break up the ascent, but I’ll tell ya, I felt like a goddamn champion when I got to the top. 

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I biked down the switchback and through Bear Creek Lake Park, a little spot that has camping available only several miles from Red Rocks.  The trail led me into downtown Morrison where I stopped for lunch at Tony Rigatoni’s Italian Kitchen.  While I waited for my chicken parm sandwich a man asked me if I had just been out bouldering. 

“No, I’m on my bike,” I replied very casually, despite wanting to shout, “I just biked here from Denver for my first time ever!!”

After lunch I began the second hardest part of my journey, and that was biking along Alameda Parkway from downtown Morrison, past Red Rocks, under the I70 overpass, across 6th Ave and up to the Jefferson County Government Building lightrail station.  I stopped at Red Rocks Entrance 1 for a celebratory ritual, but I didn’t actually bike into and around the park.  Maybe next time.

Alameda Parkway is a bitch.  Next time you’re leaving Red Rocks and headed to the highway, imagine yourself biking up that road.  There is a very steep incline that is followed by a second steep incline, one of which stops at a traffic light.  I made it to the top of the hill and was waiting at the light near I70 when a hottie on a Harley pulled up next to me.

“Howdy,” he said to me, flashing a killer grin.  “How are ya doin?”

“I’m good…a little tired” I laughed, while at the same time gasped for air.  Wowzers.  Screw the accomplishment of biking to Red Rocks, that guy is what really made my day.  I should have locked up my bike and jumped on the back of his then and there, but the light changed, he zoomed off and I continued pedaling. 

I finally made it to the lightrail station and rode the train back to Denver, bicycle and all.  I’m very happy I finally biked to Red Rocks, because I’ve been talking about doing it for a year. I already look forward to my next bicycle adventure. 

 

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Life in the Bike Lane: Accident #3 August 20, 2013

Filed under: Bikecapades,Buscapades,Life in the Bike Lane — rovinglady @ 8:48 am

Until 6:50 this morning I owned stitches. Six of them, on my inner right ankle, and they weren’t pretty. Either is the scar.

I acquired the sutures last Tuesday morning at the Denver Health Urgent Care/ER. I went there following a bike accident, my third bike accident in 14 months, and my second visit to the ER.

This last accident occurred at 8:45PM on the Cherry Creek Bike Trail. It was dark and it had rained, and a biker appeared out of nowhere, riding on the wrong side of the trail. Not only was he riding on the wrong side of the trail, but he didn’t have a light on the front of his bike, and our near-collision occurred around a bend in the trail, right at the spot where some design genius decided to construct huge, decorative, rock art structures that create an enormous blind spot for bikers coming from either direction.

The other biker and I saw each other at the last second and managed to avoid collision, but I slammed on my brakes, and due to the wet pavement the bike I was riding (which wasn’t mine because mine got stolen) skid, I fell and my ankle got gashed on the gears.

“Holy crap!” the other cyclist yelled, “You scared the fucking shit out of me!”

I looked up at him from the ground with the bike in between my legs and didn’t say anything.

“Are you OK?” he asked.

“Yea?” I replied, and I thought I was but I wasn’t totally sure.

After that the other bike sped off, he didn’t even help me up or wait to see if I had any injuries.

I stood up and thought about continuing to bike the four miles home, but when I looked down at my ankle there appeared to be a lot of dark liquid on it. I walked the bike four blocks back to work, cried when I saw the wound in the light and asked my co-worker to drive me to the Urgent Care/ER.

I don’t know why I went to Denver Health because I have insurance and could have gone to any ER, but I went to Denver Public Health, the only hospital facility I’m familiar with, and I waited overnight amongst the rift raft for hours for my turn to be seen.

Each time I go to Denver Health is more entertaining than the last. This time I walked in the main hospital entrance on crutches, with a garbage bag of blood hanging off my foot. The guy at the Information desk stared at me, then asked if I wanted assistance getting down the hall to the ER. A young fellow named Devin appeared with a wheelchair, which the sight of made me cry, and he wheeled me through security to admissions.

In admissions I immediately felt better when I saw the injury on the guy in line ahead of me. He had a broken wrist and it was absolutely gruesome. At least I was only dealing with a gash.

I had to wait in the admissions waiting room for at least three hours, and two cool things happened during this time. The first thing was I discovered that Denver Health ER waiting room has the best vending machine I’ve ever seen. It was like a Whole Foods snack junkie’s dream come true. Pirate’s Booty, organic gummy bears, gluten-free cookies, whole grain pita chips, coconut water, Steaz Tea, and more! I had myself a nice little dinner out of that vending machine.

The second (kind of) cool thing that happened to me was that I got hit on by a dude named Donnie. The only reason it’s cool is because I think it’s hilarious this guy hit on me in the first place, let alone in the ER waiting room. He looked like a Jay-Z wanna-be, he was on wooden crutches and he had sunglasses on despite the midnight hour and the fact we were inside. .

He crutched across the room to the vending machine I was sitting near, selected an item and then turned toward me to drop his killer line.

“Damn, where did you get such nice crutches?” he asked.

“I bought them at Wal-Greens after a previous injury,” I said. “They were $40.”

We exchanged injury stories, and then he asked if I attended Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks in July. I told him I did not.

“You have that kind of energy,” he said. “I thought you would have been there.”

He said he had the “time of his life” at Global Dance Fest on Saturday night.

“What else do you like to do for fun besides ride your bike?” he asked.

I told him I like to hike and take pictures.

He asked if I use Twitter, and I said no, so then he asked if he could give me his contact information.

I let him write his contact info down in my notebook. Turns out he goes by Donnie Trump, and he gave me two phone numbers and an e-mail address to be reached at. He noted that I was “cute and cool,” and that he hoped we could go hiking and take pictures when we’re both off crutches.

Donnie returned to his seat across the waiting room to nap, and I was finally brought into a private room around 3AM.

The gal who was assigned to my wound was Courtney, and she was a med student who arrived to Denver from Boston only one week prior. I asked her how she was adjusting to the overnight shifts and she said, “I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee.”

I was nervous, but let Courtney stitch me up in the 4AM hour as “Married With Children” played on the television overhead.

I didn’t get out of the hospital until 4:30 AM and had to call out of work the next day. I spent Tuesday on crutches, was limping by Wednesday and was back riding the bike by Monday, six days later.

I ended up having the stitches for 14 days, which I guess is long, but they are finally gone. I had to show up at the Denver Health Urgent Care/ER between 6-7AM to avoid a line, so that is what I did this morning, via bicycle.

Today Devin, who had pushed me in a wheelchair, took my vital signs and said he remembered me from my last visit. That was comforting. I’m convinced I also saw Donnie in the waiting room with his sunglasses on as I was leaving, but I didn’t stop to chat.

I was in and out very quickly on this visit, and the nurse who removed my sutures said the wound is healing nicely. She probably just said that because I commented on how ugly I think it is, but at least she was kind. The fact of the matter is I am going to have a scar, and my ankle modeling days are over. I’m supposed to keep the scar out of sunlight for six months, so if you see me with a bandana around my ankle, no, I did not join a gang, I’m just trying to help the scar heal as pretty as possible.

I am in the process of complaining to the City of Denver about the rock structure on the bike trail that creates a blind spot, so I’ll get back to you on the results of that. Until then, a modified song lyric runs through my mind, and that is, “We used to bike for silver, now we bike for life…”

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*Note* I decided not to include any photographs. If you want to see a picture of the bag of blood, my ankle about to get stitched or of the actual scar, you just let me know.

 

Life in the Bike Lane: Jersey Girl is Out and On the Loose June 13, 2013

Filed under: Bikecapades,Life in the Bike Lane — rovinglady @ 12:26 pm

I punched a Mercedes Benz while bicycling today, and it felt good.  The driver of the car ignited a sense of rage in me when she stopped for a red light completely on top of the crosswalk I was waiting to cross, so I laid a nice, solid pound with my fist on the hood of her precious vehicle as I passed. There was no reason for her to have her car over the crosswalk because she was waiting to go straight; it’s not like she was creeping up to turn right, and there was plenty of room behind her to back up, but she didn’t, so I punished her.

I hope I pissed her off more than she pissed me off. 

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