Thursday, August 12, 2010

crmbt - day 2 - loveland pass

We woke to fog and cool temps, and wet roads from the night before, but no rain. One of the great things about Sherpaville is getting dressed, packing your bag, and going. They take your bag, pack up your wet tent, and best of all, have it waiting for you at the end of the day.
We rode about 5 miles back towards Frisco on the bike trail, then crossed Hwy 9 and headed up Swan Mountain. I've heard this referred to as the "horrible hump". Frisco is above 9,000 feet, and Swan Mountain is only 9,550 feet, but it's enough of a grind first thing in the morning to get the blood pumping. Worse, the nice descent scared me just a little because the roads were still wet, and on one switchback I didn't commit to the line and drifted off pavement into gravel for a split second. I was in no danger of going off the mountain, but I envisioned a sudden stop ending in a broken collarbone or some such nonsense. And I'm no Tyler Hamilton; I don't think I could finish the tour that way. But I pulled it back, breathed a sigh of relief and headed for Keystone, and Loveland Pass beyond.
We had been going up, but when we were greeted with this sign, I knew the real climbing was about to commence. I would prefer to learn that at 4 or 5 miles, but que sera. There was an aid station another mile up the road, a good excuse to stop, refill bottles, and have a snack before resuming the climb.
Even with the cloud cover we were treated to some amazing views as we climbed higher and higher. Traffic wasn't bad, but you did have to be aware of trucks. Hazardous chemicals are routed this way to keep them out of the Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels on I-70.
A little more than a couple hours after leaving Breckenridge, I was at the summit of the third highest paved pass in Colorado. Only Independence Pass, which I had done, and Trail Ridge Road, which I hoped to, are higher than Loveland. Good to be at the top!
Coming down off of Loveland is a blast that goes by too fast. Before I knew it we were on the shoulder of I-70 for about five miles. The shoulder was pretty clean, and it sloped downhill toward Georgetown, so it was pretty easy to be riding 25-30 mph. Eventually we were routed onto bike paths and frontage roads. Our last aid station was at Georgetown Lake. I took a picture from roughly the same place as one I took last year at dawn as I headed home from BTC.                                                                                                          
I got to Idaho Springs early after a 52 mile ride, and spent the afternoon drying some stuff out at the laundromat, having ice cream and buying a t-shirt. After dinner it started to rain again, so I crawled in my sleeping bag with my book and set my alarm for 4:30am. I wanted to be on the road early. Tomorrow, Mt Evans!


  1. I read your post in my granny gear and am still winded.

  2. I'm anticipating your pics of Mt. Evans almost as much as I did the actual ride up!
    Thanks for taking the time to document this adventure and sharing your pics with us.