Hadn't been on the bike much, but with 60+ degree temps and sunshine in January, it seemed like a good option.
I didn't think I had a particular attachment to the distance, but it's a good psychological fitness gauage. I always wonder how easy/hard it is when I haven't ridden as much, though the running should (and does) make up for much of it, as I generally estimate it as a (very roughly) ~25 mile run equivalent. Still, I started wondering last month if I had ridden one in 2010 (and thought I would count a run instead of I wanted to consider some sort of annual non-motorized streak), and then reminded myself that I had, back in May. This is probably the longest gap of time between centuries in awhile or ever, but I'm happy to have a streak of 7 years now -- which pales in comparison to Felix's streak of double centuries, something which I have never done!
Unfortunately, it takes me 20 miles of soul-sapping and time-sapping traffic and MUPs just to get out to country roads to start a decent ride. Nonetheless, I headed down to Parker again to do some exploration between Parker and Castle Rock. I lost my hand-drawn map before I left my own zip code, so I improvised heavily (I initially intended to go further South instead of East to Elizabeth). The meat of the ride is shown here:
Everything in either direction of Franktown is gorgeous, and it was all new terrain to me. I thought that the Elizabeth-Kiowa area would have been flatter plains I enjoyed riding Black Forest a few times in the past, and I've suggested it to several people who were looking for rolling hill training (e.g. Ironman Wisconsin). I'm happy to say that this section, closer to Denver, has the same feel of rollers, some decent shoulders (especially towards Elizabeth) and a woodsy feel and scent of pine, with glimpses of Pikes. Some great climbing and descending between Franktown and Castle Rock, and back down into Parker from Hilltop Dr.
The early/middle miles were tougher than when I've been riding more, but I was happy to feel stronger deeper into the ride. Great to get out there on the bike this early in the year!