Audre’s Training Update: Biking for Elephants, Denver Edition!

Posted By on Aug 7, 2014 | 0 comments

Audre’s Training Update: Biking for Elephants, Denver Edition!

Posted By on Aug 7, 2014 | 0 comments

One of the lovely, smooth bike trails in Denver along the Platte River.

One of the lovely, smooth bike trails in Denver along the Platte River.

With a bit more than 6 weeks to go until my big ride (ahhhhhhh!!), you can bet that my training is in full force! I’m getting really psyched about the ride, and I’ve been doing my best to keep my training a priority, even during this busy summer.

For example — last week I had to go to Denver on a work trip. But I didn’t let that slow me down. In the evenings after work I was cross-training in my hotel gym (I found these great, free mobile spinning class mp3s that I used a couple times), and then over the weekend, I rented a bike and explored Denver’s really excellent network of bike trails.

Why Denver Is Both Awesome and Terrible for Biking

Ok, first let me say that Denver is not actually terrible for biking at all. But it was a lot more challenging than I expected! Mostly I wasn’t expecting the altitude to be such a factor.

Denver is deceptively flat — Colorado’s famed huge mountain ranges are far away along the distant horizon — but it’s still at an overall altitude level where I found myself doing that lovely huffin’-and-puffin’ thing way more easily than I was used to. My heart rate was also BA-BOOMing with relatively minimal effort.

It actually felt like some of my early training rides 2 months ago… like I had gone back in time in terms of my level of being in shape. Crazy, right? Made me appreciate again how far I’ve come here in my sea-level training in DC.

Not the best biking selfie ever taken, but... check out the Denver skyline in the back! And I'm smiling on the inside here, I swear.

Not the best biking selfie ever taken, but… check out the Denver skyline in the back! And I’m smiling on the inside here, I swear.

The other thing is it was HOT! Here in DC, I of course complain all the time about the heat and humidity. Denver was blissfully dry on my biggest biking day… but that was challenging too. Fierce, desert-like sun to contend with, and whatnot.

Anyway, I still managed to get in about 40 miles of riding on my rented road bike, so that is awesome!

The best part of biking in Denver is it has some amazing bike trail infrastructure. I rode on two seperate trails — the Platte River trail and the Cherry Creek trail. Both offer smooth, pathed, uninterrupted riding for miles at a stretch, with neat views of the city skyline, the mountains, the river/creek, etc. I loved that.

Wait… What Have I Become?!

Let’s all take a moment to marvel at the fact that this training has turned me into one of those weird active/healthy people who do things like rent bikes on vacations… How amazing is that? I did briefly have one of those “Wait, who are you and what have you done with Audre?” moments. Those are good moments to have.

And it was fantastic. I discovered biking is a great way to get a feel for a new city/new place. I can seriously see myself continuing to do this type of thing, even after this particular training challenge is over. That alone is worth being proud of, I’d say.

What’s Next?

My next big training milestone is to do a 60 mile ride. I’ve got that scheduled for next Saturday and might even have some people I’ve met join me! As always my motto is/will be, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep going.”

But this weekend there’ll be plenty of riding too, including with my wonderful fundraising team member Claudia.

My biggest goal right now is just to keep building up my endurance over multiple days of riding in a row. I feel like I can handle any single day of long distance riding easy now, which is great. But I need to get my butt, body and bike ready for a whole week of that!

My Training Records So Far

Longest Distance (single day): 50 miles
Longest Distance (over one week): 98 miles

Thanks for supporting me!

I couldn’t do this if I didn’t know I had so many people cheering me on, reading my posts, etc. So thank you!

And an especially huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far to the cause.

Photo by Chase Dekker

My inspiration and motivation! (Photo by Chase Dekker.)

If you haven’t yet, please consider chipping in what you can. I’m getting near my first fundraising milestone, and need to reach certain levels to 1) have my spot secured in the ride, and then 2) participate at all. The funds go towards the cause that has inspired me to take on this challenge to begin with: helping to save our world’s last elephants.

If you love elephants, or biking, or me, please contribute if you can! You can donate online to my goals by clicking this link here. Thank you!

And expect lots of more updates from me soon.

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Audre is a writer, elephant advocate, and brand-new cyclist who's training to bike 300 miles in September to raise funds for the African Wildlife Foundation. Yes, she really is that crazy about elephants! Learn more and donate today.
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