It's Always a Powder Day on Emerald, even in the Summer ... how I got back in the saddle again.
I often say that everyday is a Powder Day (Epic) on Emerald Mtn since it doesn't require fresh snow to be amazing. Emerald Mountain is one of the places that makes Steamboat truly special. It is just across the river from downtown Steamboat and an easy bike ride from just about anywhere in town. I was dragging all day today and my knee was a bit weaker than it has been lately. Somehow after having Elk Tacos for dinner I felt like I needed to head up Emerald. I think I justneeded to see if I could I make it to the Quarry. I had been saving Emerald for June 30th when my goal was to get up the Lane of Pain to the cell towers since Emerald is my favorite place to bike.
I hopped on my bike and rode into town, down Yampa Street, then up Blackmere (since I can only ride roads right now). I started out a bit slow but got stronger and more determined as I went up my favorite place to bike. I got to the quarry and was elated to have made it much less in my middle ring and 1-5 rings down in the back sprocket. I took a picture of the view, turned around to look at the sunset, then took a drink.
There was the Lane of Pain, I would need to be strong to get up that. What to do? The question lasted about that long as as the thought. My decision was made that I would see how much stronger I needed to be to make my goal. For those of you that haven't ridden it the Lane of Pain is the definition of a long steep grind. We don't ride it often now that there are better ways up top and only once we are in summer shape. I started up right away and felt a bit stronger. Then with each segment I finished I felt better and more determined, then before I knew it I was on top. I still can't believe I made it. I turned around, headed home and somehow still felt strong for the climb back up Fish Creek Falls Road to my house. Did I mention I can't use my bike shoes and clips yet? I'm still more than a little shocked.
The best part is that I feel like I got back that part of me that has been missing since I tore up my knee on March 1. I have had the best surgery and recovery possible thanks to Dr. Eric Verploeg and my amazing PT Finn Gerstell at Kinetic Energy but something was missing until tonight. I still have a long way to go and need to get a lot stronger but now I know that is within reach and I haven't lost it. My doubts are finally gone. Emerald Mountain inspired me which was exactly what I needed.
I realized as I wrote this that I am now 12 weeks to the day (and almost to the hour when I was riding) out of knee surgery. I think my body knew and was ready to make a break through. I am glad I listened and didn't wait for the chocolate chip cookies Wendy was making after I left. Sometimes the best days are when you don't feel like going but go anyways because you want to see.