Monday, August 22, 2016

edwards to granby

I left early with lights blazing on this century day, (103 miles to be exact). Shortly after I left US 6 for CO 131 I saw these guys in the early light. They sure seemed comfortable on the rocky terrain.
In the first 35 miles I faced a couple of tough climbs, but was rewarded with some nice descents, and really nice views. Today's route would offer glimpses of the Colorado River, and lots of wide open spaces until we got to the only real pass of the day.
The climb up Gore Pass isn't too long, or too hard. A lot of it is through the forest so it doesn't offer great views, but it's very pleasant, and you're in Colorado! We had an aid station at the summit across from the elevation sign.
There was a rumor of a cafe in Kremmling, about 75 miles into the ride. When I rolled into town I saw no sign of it, but I did see several bikes outside the Subway shop, so that was lunch. Afterward I hung on to a pace line for 5-10 miles before they slowly pulled away and I was left to finish on my own. I enjoyed a tailwind for most of that time, except for when I passed through the canyon that's named "Windy Gap". I felt a few raindrops, but it never amounted to anything, and I rolled into Granby in good shape. There are a couple of short hills to get from the main drag to the high school that almost made me cry, but I managed to get there with 102.5 miles on my odometer. I don't know where I took the half-mile shortcut.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

breckenridge to edwards

The on and off rain from the night before was gone, and we left Breckenridge on wet roads, bike path to be precise, under mostly sunny skies. We jumped onto the bike path right behind the Rec Center and headed towards Frisco. We worked our way around some repair crews outside of Frisco and stayed on the bike path towards Copper Mountain. We would learn later that somewhere in that stretch the oldest and longest-tenured rider on the tour would have an accident. Glenn was on the tail end of a pace-line rolling along at a moderate speed when he realized that Norm, 78 years old and a 10-time CRMBT rider, was just ahead. He thought he would slow down and ride with Norm for a while, have a little visit. Glenn saw a dog wander onto the path and stop in front of Norm. When Norm tried to avoid the dog, he went down hard. He cracked his helmet and hit his shoulder hard.

As unfortunate as this accident was, there was a silver lining. The dog's owner was a woman who lived close to the bike path. She had an ATV to get Norm up to her house, where she and Glenn got him loaded into her pickup to go to the hospital in Frisco, just a few miles away. And, she was on her way to work, as a surgeon at that hospital! Glenn rode to the hospital until someone from the tour could meet him there, and Norm's daughter from Denver was there as well before too long. Norm's injury turned out not to be a head injury, or a shoulder injury. Getting Norm from the ground to the ATV to the truck, it became obvious that his hip was what was really hurting. We found out later that he had broken his femur, and it was decided to do a total hip replacement as that would heal faster than trying to reset the leg. Norm seems to be doing fine and I'm sure he'll be back on the bike by next spring.

Before most of us knew anything about this, we had gotten to the point of the bike path where we would exit. Near Copper Mountain there was an aid station before we began our climb up Fremont Pass.
The climb up Fremont has never struck me as an overly difficult climb. I was still glad to reach the top. We had another aid station to refill bottles and grab a snack. The descent down the south side is basically one big sweeping switchback, followed by a gradual descent for 10 or 12 miles. You can still go pretty fast if you put it in a big gear and pedal hard. You don't lose a lot of altitude between the summit at 11,318 feet and Leadville, 10,152 feet. As you turn back towards the northwest outside of Leadville you still go down a little.
Then, after a few miles, you climb a little more to get to the top of Tennessee Pass. Your reward for the short climb is a nice, long descent.
Then you face a nasty little climb up Battle Hill Summit. Two things help to ease the pain of this climb: the scenery is incredible, and you know you have another, even longer descent awaiting you on the other side.
After the descent several of us stopped in Minturn for lunch at Sticky Fingers Cafe & Bakery. I ordered the "Minturn Hippie" without cheese or mayo. My waitress said that made me a real hippie. I've been called worse. Then we worked together to make it the last 12 miles down the road to the Battle Mountain High School. It would be a pretty quiet, early night. We had a big day ahead of us.



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

idaho springs to breckenridge

Sunday, 31 July, 2016
Many of us began the day by gathering for a kickoff from Peter. As the tour director he informs us of things to look out for on the road, weather challenges ahead, and implores us to be safe, and "take care of each other".
Then we were off. We took frontage roads, bike paths, and local roads that roughly paralleled I-70. The first 25 miles were  a gradual climb. Once we got onto US-6 we had another 4+ miles through some switchbacks to the top of Loveland Pass.
The morning was bright and pleasant. The traffic on US-6 was a little busy, but not too bad. From the Loveland Ski Area it's not a bad climb to the top. By the time we stopped for pictures at the elevation marker clouds and elevation had lowered the temperature, but it still was a great morning.
And with our climbing for the better part of 30 miles, we had earned ourselves a nice descent.



We still had a short climb up Swan Mountain once we were past Keystone. It's not long or steep, but towards the end of a ride it lived up to it's nickname, "the horrible hump". It did offer a nice view the Dillon Reservoir and Frisco beyond.
After a short descent, it was back on the bike path for a slightly uphill ride into Breckenridge. It's a pleasant enough ride that I was enjoying until the rain began.
The last 2 miles were in a cold rain that had me soaked to the bone. Luckily SherpaVille had my tent up and my bags dry. When the rain stopped I was able to find some lunch and some newspaper to stuff in my shoes and dry them out for the next day.

Lunch was at a pizza place with a guy from Colorado, one from the Pacific Northwest, and two each from England and Australia. It was a good day overall, and the next day looked good weather-wise, over some roads that I knew well, offering some classic Colorado scenery.

Monday, August 1, 2016

happenings

It's been a good two days, plenty of challenges, but nothing impossible. I've been slow because I am, and because I stop for lots of pictures. This year I've posted tons of pics to Facebook for friends and family and still some for editing later for this blog

Some slightly bad news; my friend Saj had to pull out after he hurt his knee hiking on Saturday. And worse news, the elder statesman of this tour, Norm, collided with a dog on the bike path this morning. He apparently broke his femur. The bright side is that the dog's owner lived close by, got an atv to get him to her truck, and took him to the hospital in Frisco,  where she is a surgeon.

More about Norm later. For now keep him in your thoughts and prayers

Saturday, July 30, 2016

here we go again

We're sitting on the football field in Idaho Springs catching up, talking bikes, and meeting new friends. We'll hear from the tour director at 7 in the morning, then head out for a climb up Loveland Pass.

I've got my phone, camera, and gopro all charged and ready to go. I'll put some pics on FB as I go, and try to do a short post or two during the week. Then I'll share pics and stories on this blog when we are done.

Here goes nothing.