Lory Challenge

Shortly after Howl at the Moon last August I mixed things up with a mountain bike race at Lory State Park. It had been years since my only two previous mountain bike races, and I had never raced in, you know, actual mountains. This should be fun. I certainly didn’t expect it to be my only bike race of the year, but whatever.

The race started super fast before filing onto single track. Of course I was badly positioned, very far back. This was unfortunate because the part of the course that suited me, the uphill, came at the beginning. So during the nine minutes of climbing I wasn’t going the speed I was capable of going, I was going in slow motion, at times completely stopping to avoid running into the long train of slower riders ahead of me. Super frustrating.

AJ racing at Lory

But the tables quickly turned. A super fast technical downhill came next and I quickly realized I was way out of my league. I held on for dear life and somehow managed to make it to the bottom in one piece, but it was really, really scary.

The last several miles were on the rolling, twisty-turny valley trails. I passed a few people. A few people passed me. The end.

Lessons learned:

  1. Mountain bikers suck at going uphill.
  2. I suck at going downhill.

A Day of Towers

Towers. Towers is never easy. From Soderberg trailhead to the top of Towers “Road” is 3.4 miles with 1700 ft of ascent. Throughout the year we have regular time trial group runs up Towers. Then one day every summer a small group of people do “24 Hours of Towers”. It’s not a race, just a fun run to see who can complete the most laps. I had missed out on this experience my first few summers in Colorado, but in August 2016, despite being only a week after my disappointing Howl at the Moon race, I gave it a go.

The whole family went out in the RV early in the morning. I started my first lap at the official unofficial start time with maybe 10 other people. Everyone else ran, while I walked. It was going to be a long day. Once I reached the top I ran back down.


After the first lap I traded places with Melissa so she could run. I took Will on a hike up the mountain for my second lap. This was the first time he had ever been up Towers before, and it was both the longest hike (6.8 miles) and most vertical (1700 ft) he had ever done. We were so proud. Hiking with Will has always been a challenge, but I made sure to bring plenty of snacks, and all was well.

Towers summit

It was a little slow going with Will, so Melissa had time to run two laps. Of course, Will was done after one lap. I did two more laps (for a total of four) while Melissa and Will kept themselves occupied in the van. After 10 hours everyone was bored and wanted to go home, and that was just fine with me. A 29 mile fun run with 7000 ft of climbing the week after a tough 50 mile race was plenty.