I was too excited to sleep. I went to bed early and got about 5 hours. Still, I was on the road by 3:00am. A couple rest-stop naps along the way, and I was in Colorado by late morning. Past Limon I took the CO 86 Scenic Route which dipped south before heading west around the other side of Denver at Castle Rock. I stopped in Idaho Springs to look for a t-shirt that I had read about that stated "Oxygen Is Overrated".
Shortly after, I took Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass to Winter Park and the Winter Park Mountain Lodge near the south end of town. I probably shouldn't drive over passes that I intend to climb; they always seem a little more foreboding when I'm in a car, thinking about riding it on a bike. I was kind of nervous as I dressed for the ride back up Berthoud Pass. It reminded me of when we drove over Monarch Pass on our way to Gunnison a couple years ago. I thought there was no way I could climb that on a bike, but by the end of the week that was about the fourth or fifth toughest climb I had done.
It was cloudy, but pleasant as I started out of Winter Park. I started climbing immediately from the hotel, before the grade flattened out for a couple miles. I got off my small ring and generated a little speed before the grade ramped up again. I forgot on was on my middle ring when I shifted down and there was no more down. The sick feeling passed when I realized I had more gears to use.
The traffic wasn't too bad, and the shoulder was wide and clean for the most part. The grade wasn't bad overall, but there were places that I had to work hard to keep forward momentum and try to keep the speed up. Even the mountain has trouble staying on the mountain.
Even though my heart was pounding at the beginning of the climb, my legs felt pretty good. It took me about 90 minutes to climb just over 10 miles from the hotel, averaging about 7 mph. Near the top the temperature was in the low 60's, and when the sun was behind the clouds and the wind was blowing, it was downright cold! I had arm warmers on but stopped to put my jacket on about a mile from the summit.
When I saw one of my favorite signs, I was at the top. There's a big parking area at the summit which also served as a trail-head for some hiking trails. There is also a shelter and bathrooms at the top.
As I took pictures of the road I had come up I saw lightning in the distance and thought I had better get off the mountain before it got closer. It was a great descent. I reached 38 mph but I don't know if that's accurate. I couldn't really open it up because of all the switchbacks. And, my computer had been weird since I got some lube in it. It worked fine until the speed got above about 25 mph, then it would jump around from single digits, to teens, to 20's. etc. I would need a new computer for the rest of my trip. Luckily I was planning a stop in Frisco on Saturday on my way to Edwards, and I knew there were several bike shops there. Overall, this was a good warm-up for what I had in store over the next week on CRMBT.