Day 2 of the 2020 virtual RAGBRAI was going to be the second-longest of the week. I had ridden to Boulder and gone north on Day 1, so I needed a different direction for Day 2, and I knew there were a lot of miles of trails extending into the Denver metro that I'd never ridden. My primary concern was that these trails were going to slow me down, as it's difficult to keep up a high average speed when trails involve a lot of stops and waiting to pass people. I figured I'd just do the best I could and hope to return home in time for an afternoon meeting.
I'd biked to Denver quite a few times before on my way to work, which involves linking the 36 Bikeway to the Clear Creek Trail and then the Platte River Trail. This time, instead of following the Platte River downtown, I'd skirt the north side of the city on the Sand Creek Trail, which would take me into Aurora.
I used my time in Aurora to visit my mother, whom I hadn't seen in person since February. I didn't stay long, and I stayed well clear of her and kept my mask on despite knowing that both of us have been extra cautious to not expose ourselves to the virus. After leaving her place, I had a couple of miles on city streets before getting on the High Line Canal Trail. This trail was completely new to me, but it was nice, offering some fairly long, fast sections mixed in with a few stops at street crossings.
Eventually the High Line Canal Trail led me to the Cherry Creek Trail, which I knew would lead me into downtown Denver. It's a very well-known trail because of its location and because it's often on the news when Denver experiences flash flooding.
After crossing the Platte River for the second time in the day, I had to navigate some neighborhood streets before linking up again with a trail system. What I found wasn't great, but wasn't terrible. There weren't many dedicated bike lanes but traffic was reasonable. Eventually I reached the Clear Creek Trail again, but this time farther west than I'd been on it before. This linked to the Ralston Creek Trail in Arvada, which I hadn't heard of. Parts of it were very nice, but some construction caused me to detour and lose some time as I found my way around.
After slogging through some loose gravel around Standley Lake, and running into an asphalt paving operation shortly after, I just had a steep climb up towards the Rocky Mountain Airport and then a few extra miles to reach my target for the day before getting home just a bit late for my afternoon meeting.
Heart rate (bpm)