Saturday, December 5, 2009

down the highway

Day2 of the CRMBT 2010 will depart from Frisco around the south end of Lake Dillon, also called Dillon Reservoir. This was originally a natural finger lake on the Blue River. In 1961 the city of Denver, needing a reservoir in the high country, built the dam to create the lake as it stands today. The original town of Dillon was located on the banks of the Blue River, and it’s said that remnants of the town are still visible from the Dam road and Swan Mountain Road. I’ll keep my eyes open as we head north over Swan Mountain. The road only reaches an elevation of 9455’, and having started at 9100’ in Frisco, this shouldn't’t be much of a climb.

Then we’ll jump on Highway 6 and roll into Keystone. Then the real climbing begins. In the same area where you can cross the continental divide on I-70 by driving through the Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels, you can choose Highway 6 and cross over Loveland Pass. From Keystone it’s about 10 miles and 2700’ of elevation gain to the top of Loveland Pass. The road is well maintained and the traffic is light, although this road is used by tanker trucks that are not allowed through the tunnel on I-70. The descent on the east side is shorter than the west side, but fast as it drops about 1000 feet over three miles.
I borrowed a couple pictures of Loveland Pass. I hope it looks like this:

Not this:

From the Loveland Ski Area near I-70 the route heads east on I-70 for about 5 miles. Riding on the shoulder of the Interstate wouldn’t be my first choice, but it’s the same stretch of road used each year for the Triple Bypass, an annual 120 mile ride from Bergen Park to Avon, over Squaw/Juniper, Loveland, and Vail Passes. Two things in our favor: CRMBT is capped at 500 riders, considerably less than the 3500 who ride the Triple Bypass. And, we will be heading east, mostly downhill. After a stretch on a frontage road, it’s back on I-70 for a few more miles into Georgetown, then rolling on down towards Idaho Springs at 7615’.

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