Wednesday, August 11, 2010

crmbt - day 1

You meet a road in a car. You get to know it on a bike.
We road out of Edwards on US 6 to US 24 where we headed south for Leadville. The route would then take us north on CO 91 to Copper Mountain,  where we would use the bike path to reach Frisco, and on to Breckenridge. I've ridden these two stretches before. Once on CRMBT in 2008, and again last year on the Copper Triangle. But, I've always been going the other direction. I've started on the longer side of Fremont Pass, followed by shorter climbs and great descents of Tennessee Pass and Battle Mountain Summit. This route would have us climb the tough side of Battle Mountain, followed by a tough climb of Tennessee Pass, up the shorter side of Fremont Pass, and a big descent to Copper Mountain.
The sights were the same, but the speed at which I was able to take them in, was totally different. After reaching the summit of Battle Mountain we rounded a bend and came upon the Red Cliff Bridge. I was willing to slow my descent, pull off, and get some pictures of the bridge, and the road rolling off into the distance.
A few miles down the road there are some historical markers for Camp Hale, home of the Army's 10th Mountain Division. They trained in the Rockies for mountain and winter warfare, and fought in the Apennine Mountains of Italy in WWII. Several thousand men trained here in mountaineering, skiing, and rock climbing.
A couple miles from the summit of Tennessee Pass I was stopped, taking a picture, drinking some water, and just resting my legs. A guy rode by who I recognized from his Facebook profile picture. I gave a yell as he passed and he stopped and we introduced ourselves. We would run into each other at some time during the day, almost every day the rest of the tour.
I had to get Paul's picture in his Boston Red Sox championship jersey even though I told him I was expecting a Boston accent.
The morning had been cool and dry, and we had enjoyed aid stations after both of the first two summits. Our luck turned a little several miles after we turned north at Leadville and headed for Fremont Pass. We were going up, but the serious climbing hadn't begun yet, and the rain started to fall. Several riders stopped to add a layer, and within fifteen minutes the rain had let up. I made it to the top of Fremont relatively dry and stopped to snap a picture of the elevation sign.
I also got a picture of Terry and Casey Davis, a father and daughter from Wichita riding the tour on a tandem. They had done BAK on a tandem this June, and one evening Terry saw my CRMBT t-shirt and told me they were doing this tour too. Casey's going to Colorado School of Mines this fall, and thought a tour that went right by her new school would be a good way to celebrate graduation from high school.
As I was stopped at the last aid station, it started lightning in the distance, and the drizzle began again. I threw my jacket on and head down toward Copper Mountain. This would have been a lot more fun if it had been warm, dry, and free of traffic, but it was still an awesome descent. I hit 48.3 mph as I pumped the brakes to keep from going faster. A brief respite from the rain was nice as I had coffee with a retired school teacher from Denver at the convenience store across from Copper Mountain. After that descent a warm drink felt good. The rain started again and I headed out for Frisco. The school where we were going to stay couldn't guarantee availability, so we had been moved to the Rec Center in Breckenridge. It was a great facility, but it also added about 6 miles to our day. The last mile or so on Airport Road was in a hard rain. On arrival I went inside to warm up, eventually showered, and turned in early to read and nap while the rain continued. I ended the day with 77.5 miles, and as I coasted down Airport Road the next morning at 20 mph without pedaling, I knew why it had seemed so tough riding up it the day before.


  1. Man, I swear in some of those photos, it looks like you're about to fall off the edge of the world. Just awesome.

  2. That is some serious speed you are picking up on these rides. Very nice post.