Saturday, March 26, 2011

i'm in

I finally got around to officially registering for the CRMBT. It will be my fifth Colorado bike tour, and my fourth with this tour. I consider any day riding a bike in Colorado to be a good day, but there are some things I'm looking forward to. The ride through the Black Canyon will be great. I've done it from the other direction, but it's such a spectacular place, and it was my first day riding in the mountains.

I'm looking forward to riding over Cottonwood Pass on my bike instead of in the back of a Ryder truck, as on the 2009 Bicycle Tour of Colorado.
 I've ridden out of Buena Vista along the Collegiate Range, but riding over Independence Pass from the east side will be new for me.
 After a rest day in Glenwood Springs there's a nice ride up and over McClure Pass. Short, but steep, and beautiful, especially north to south.
I'm looking for ward to the chance to ride over the Grand Mesa again, even though I know from experience that it's long and it's tough. It's also very rewarding. And it's awesome to look over the valley towards Grand Junction.
And with the tour beginning and ending in Grand Junction, I'm looking forward to getting there a little early and riding through Colorado National Monument again. Maybe camping there the night before the tour as well. I feel so lucky to be able to go ride in a place I've fallen in love with. Some new rides, some familiar, all spectacular, on my favorite tour, Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 colorado bike tours

There are 3 week-long bike tours through the mountains of Colorado scheduled for this summer. Ride the Rockies runs from June 12-17, Bicycle Tour of Colorado the following week, June 19-25, and August 7-13 brings the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. RtR starts in Crested Butte and finishes in Georgetown. BTC is a loop beginning and ending in the Gilpin County town of Central City. CRMBT is also a loop with Grand Junction as the start and finish.
Ride The Rockies encompasses 412 miles over 6 consecutive days and from Crested Butte overnights in Buena Vista, Edwards, Steamboat Springs, and Granby before pulling into Georgetown. The high points of this tour come on the first and last days, with an ascent of Cottonwood Pass on the way to Buena Vista, and Berthoud Pass on the way to the finish line in Georgetown. Lower elevation passes like Yellow Jacket and Rabbit Ears bookend a day riding a loop in the Steamboat Springs area. But one of my favorite days on this tour would be the second day. Heading north out of Buena Vista the route parallels the Collegiate Range on the way to Leadville, then heads over Tennessee Pass and Battle Mountain Summit on the way to Edwards.
The Bicycle Tour of Colorado runs 463 miles from Central City with overnight stops in Estes Park, Granby, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs for a rest day, before stopping in Frisco and back to Central City. The best part of this tour comes early. The first day is a tough ride over the stunning Peak-to-Peak Highway to Estes Park. Then it's through Rocky Mountain National Park on the way to Granby. Glenwood Springs is a great place for a rest day, and the ride to Frisco should be interesting; barely climbing for about 70 miles before Vail Pass hits you in the face. The last day is no piece of cake, with Loveland Pass sitting between you and Central City.
The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour offers 493 miles from Grand Junction with stops in Hotchkiss, Gunnison, Buena Vista and a rest day in Glenwood Springs. The first day is kind of a warm-up, but the rest offer spectacular scenery, serious climbing, and usually both. Highlights include riding through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, Cottonwood Pass, Independence Pass, McClure Pass, and on the last day the opportunity to climb the Grand Mesa. Its starting point begs for a ride through the Colorado National Monument before the tour starts. 
The scenery doesn't get any better, and the roads don't go any higher than in Colorado. If you like to ride, and especially if you like to climb, get to Colorado and go.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

robert trent jones golf trail

I got back last week from a few days with golfing buddies in Alabama on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The trail was built in the early '90's by the Retirement Systems of Alabama as an investment for the pension fund of more than 300,000 members. The $150 million project had the renowned course designer Robert Trent Jones placing 26 courses in 11 different locations throughout the state for a total of 468 holes. From Muscle Shoals to Mobile and almost all points in between, the public can enjoy top quality golf courses and club facilities at very reasonable rates.
Tom decided to fly into Montgomery to save his back, while Damon and I drove more than 12 hours from KC to the state capitol of Montgomery for our golf vacation. We played Monday at Grand National in Auburn/Opelika at the Lake Course in the morning, and the Links Course in the afternoon. I probably would have had better luck on the Short Course, but it was fun despite the challenge.
On Tuesday we had a short drive to Prattville to play The Judge and The Senator. We missed the course called The Legislator, but had plenty of challenges. The morning at The Judge had tons of trees and water to try to avoid. The afternoon on The Senator had more of a links feel, with lots of pot bunkers. There were rolling hills and punishing rough all day if you missed the fairway. Later we drove through the campus of Auburn University and were all impressed with the charm of this college town.
Wednesday we were up early driving north to Birmingham in a torrential downpour to play The Ridge and The Valley at Oxmoor Valley. As we neared the clubhouse the rain was letting up, but we saw water standing in the fairways on some of the lower holes, and the creeks were running high and fast. The attendant in the pro shop informed us that The Valley course was unplayable, but The Ridge drained really well, and if we waited a bit, we could play that course twice if we desired. We had breakfast in the clubhouse and before long were able to get on the course. The elevation changes, rivers and rocks were amazing. This would be a spectacular place if it was sunny and dry.
We ended up playing the front nine again after lunch before running out of time. Still got in 99 holes of golf in 3 days. And if I figured the cost of this trip on how many strokes I took, it was a bargain! The worst part of the trip was the drive home when detours turned a 12+ hour tip into almost 14 hours. And I had to get up and go to work the next day. But overall it was a great time, and it made me long for some of the easier courses we play. If you golf, and you're ever in Alabama, check out "The Trail".

Sunday, March 13, 2011

rock chalk jayhawk!

It's been kind of busy since I returned from a golf trip to Alabama. I have some pictures and a few stories, but they'll have to wait until later in the week. I just wanted to say that I'm sitting here with my bracket trying to predict all the winners of the NCAA tournament, with my Kansas Jayhawks as the eventual champions. I love March.
So, who's going to win it all?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom: The endless lecture produced an unbearable ennui.

Maybe I should say the endless winter has produced an unbearable ennui. It's been the worst we've seen in KS for some time. And I hate riding the trainer, so I've only done that a few times. I really need to get back on the road. I should be able to soon. Hopefully I'll find my cycling mojo, and that always inspires me to blog.
In the meantime, all the tours are announcing their routes, and I'm planning on doing a comparison of CRMBT, BTC, and RTR. And I'm driving 12 hours to Alabama next week to play golf with a couple buddies on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell, and the scenery looks amazing, so I'll have some pictures to share.                                                                  Ride the Rockies route pictured below.

By the time we're back home it's almost the middle of March. And while most of my free time will be devoted to March Madness, the NCAA Tournament, and rooting for my KS Jayhawks, if the roads are dry and the temperature high, I'll get my butt out the door and down the road.