It was a true whirlwind. We returned home from ORAMM, pups in tow, and just a few days later loaded up the Jetta for our journey west. We took the usual precautions before leaving for any sort of long road trip: make sure the Jetta was serviced and ready to roll, dog meds filled, stocked up on Ensure for us and Blue Buffalo for the pups, and made sure all necessary cold weather cycling apparel was dusted off and placed in our luggage.
We loaded the Jetta to the brim, Google mapped our directions, and headed out on the long road to Colorado. We got a late start on the road with a lofty goal of making it to Macon, GA before the point when we would need toothpicks to keep our eyelids open in order to stay awake. Luckily, we made it, at midnight, but, we made it AND in time to catch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics where I desperately searched for friend and Olympian Amanda Clark in the crowd. Unfortunately, we passed out pretty quickly. But, at least we would be ready to roll out nice and early the next morning with another lofty goal-this time to make it to Kansas City aka Oz.
The next morning, we hit the road. Of course we cannot hit the road without drugging Margarita. I know, this may sound cruel and insensitive, but I have tried EVERYTHING natural to get her to be less anxious in the car. Quinn, we have always said, get the right amount car sick–just enough to pass out asleep no matter how long the drive but not enough to throw up, get sick, or annoyed that he is in the car. Margarita, on the other hand, gets the wrong amount car sick. She isn’t as tall as Q, so she can’t quite see out the window–which I think contributes to her car crazy. She spends every second no matter how long we are in the car desperately trying in vain to fetch overpasses, signs, trees, etc. Once she realizes this is not possible, she just cries a fast whimper with the occasional squeel. Needless to say, its awesome spending the day in the car with her.
We made it to Kansas City, pretty pleased with our Westward progress and were planning to arrive at our pre-Leadville training destination, Breckenridge, on day 3. Unfortunately, our car had other plans. As we gained more altitude, we realized that the car was really stuttering (for lack of a better word) when we accelerated. I sorta felt like the turbo was on ultra lag, but Ironman Danish said that after replacing three clutches, he was certain our clutch was expired (the Jetta has 105, 000 miles on her). So, rather than make our way up the final climb to Breck, we were forced to spend the night in Golden, CO and take the Jetta to a shop in the morning for a new clutch. Lucky for us, Golden has some AMAZING trails and they happened to be less than one mile away from the La Quinta of choice for our pit stop (not an accident).
We had an awesome two days of trail riding in Golden while waiting for the Jetta to get her new clutch. I learned that there are real live mountain lions out there (the put cages around kids school playgrounds–yikes!), rabid rabbits, and lots of amazing trails (one trail even looks down on the Coors brewing facility-aka Mecca)
We got the call the Jetta was ready and hit the road. Man did that clutch feel nice! But, the car still wasnt operating awesomely–turns out it was a turbo lag we were ALSO feeling (the clutch was done) thanks to a small exhaust leak. As luck would have it, the ol’ leak has probably been there for a while but isnt noticeable at sea level thanks to the thick Miami air but once we hit 6, 000 ft, it became easily noticeable. The mechanic said nothing to really worry about and that the trip up and back to MIA should not be an issue, we just might not get as awesome gas mileage in the diesal Jetta as usual. We carried on to our home for the next 10 days in Breck.
I had done some research (by research I mean I watched the Tour of California and its commercials) to learn that Breck has OVER 500 miles of mtb trails in the summer. So, I decided that would be our pre-Leadville stomping grounds. Turns out, I looked like a genius to Ironman Danish because they have some of the most EPIC trails ever….