Sunday, October 27, 2013

pikes peak or bust

About a week ago I found this blog post about climbing Pikes Peak. At the time I shared it on Facebook and the forum on the CRMBT  website. It served to confirm my brilliant deduction that attempting such a thing would be hard. I mean, the author has climbed all the big climbs in Colorado, including Mt Evans, and he writes that this is the hardest climb he's ever done.

That doesn't bother me. Obviously, after I've done this next year, I'll tell anyone who will listen how hard it is, and I'll make it sound worse than he did. I imagine my written account of the ride will read something like a movie review: "I laughed, I cried...". No, what bothers me is what the author has to say about when to ride it.

I was so glad that our attempt to summit Pikes Peak would not come on our first day out of Colorado Springs, but rather on our last day. Five days of riding, acclimatizing, and enjoying the heights would get me ready to give it a go. And I still think that adding this to my climbing resume will be a perfect way to end the tour, as well as a reason to celebrate. But being reminded of how many tourists are driving up, and down, Pikes Peak highway, especially on a Saturday, makes me wonder what else I'll write about the experience. "I laughed, I cried, I cursed a minivan from Alabama".....

Header photo from Michael Seeberg's blog, Road Cycling Colorado

Saturday, October 12, 2013

crmbt 2014 route

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour has officially announced their route for 2014. As the tour takes shape it's apparent that I jumped the gun on the Royal Gorge. We will be close, but not in, Royal Gorge. But the route still looks absolutely fantastic!

Days 3 and 4 will be familiar territory for CRMBT, although Monarch Pass between Salida and Gunnison hasn't been featured since the first two editions of the tour. Days 1 and 2, and days 5 and 6 will be all new, and promise to be memorable.

The first day is relatively short at 46 miles, and calls for only 1300 feet of climbing. Day 2 will take us on a 94 mile ride through the Sangre de Cristo mountains and along the Arkansas River to Salida. On the third day we'll be on US 50 to Gunnison, with a stop at the top of Monarch Pass.
We'll hang a right in Gunnison and head up to Crested Butte for the night with 92 miles and 5500 feet of climbing under our belts.
Many will be heading out early on day 4 to backtrack to Almont and head east along the Taylor River and around Taylor Park Reservoir.
Waiting on the other side of the lake is a nice dirt rode that takes you past 12,000 feet. I've descended Cottonwood Pass into Buena Vista twice, once on my bike during CRMBT '11, and once in the back of a Ryder truck on the 2009 Bicycle Tour of Colorado due to rain and fog. It's more fun on a bike, and that's why I advocate an early start on this 76 mile day with 4500 beautiful feet of climbing.
After a rest day in Buena Vista it's back to new territory for this tour as we head to Woodland Park, with stops in South Park and Cripple Creek. This century day takes us 102 miles with 5900 feet of climbing, so they probably won't be lengthy stops.

The last day of the tour could be an 18 mile ride back to Colorado Springs, or it could be an epic adventure! All you have to do is get off of US 24 at Cascade, pay your toll, and ride up the Pikes Peak Highway to the summit at over 14,000 feet. This 19 mile climb, by all accounts, is hard! But if you train hard enough, long enough, you may be rewarded with a view such as this:




I think it might be worth it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

long time, no post

It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog. After returning from Colorado I haven't been on my bike all that much. Too few rides that were too short. I can place blame on circumstances, but truthfully I just haven't pushed myself to ride as much as I should if I want to keep riding in amazing places.

I visited such a place this weekend. For several years I've gone camping at the end of September with a group of friends. "Men's Weekend" is for building fires, playing cards, smoking cigars, and enjoying an adult beverage or two. The last few years it has also included a couple of short bike rides. We moved the location for our camping weekend this year and were able to take a nice 25 mile ride on the Katy Trail. Cameras are frowned upon at Men's Weekend, but here's an idea of the scenery we enjoyed:
Images borrowed from Bing Images.

And now I think I've found the motivation to train through the winter. The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour has announced the likely route for 2014, and it looks awesome!
This route includes an epic ride over Cottonwood Pass, which we've done before on this tour. And it goes to some places we haven't visited, including Royal Gorge, and, wait for it, Pike's Peak! When I heard some rumors that Pike's Peak may be part of the tour, I wasn't sure how the organizers could arrange the route to give riders a good shot at making it to the top without disrupting the flow of the whole ride. It looks like this could do it. Leaving from Woodland Park after our last night, the final day would feature about 28 miles from the start to the summit, and slightly longer to descend and cruise into Colorado Springs. This could be good.