Thursday, August 14, 2014

crmbt day 2 - canon city to salida

Monday, 8-4

Canon City to Salida would be about a 60 mile ride on US50, but that wouldn't have given us enough to look at, or to climb. So we headed southeast on CO115 to Florence, then south on CO67 past the US Penitentiary, and eventually onto CO96 heading south and west towards Westcliffe. Then we would go north on CO69 back to US50 for a slightly uphill ride into Salida with about 93 miles on our bikes.
I rode out of town with Bill at 6:00am and on relatively flat roads we were easily maintaining about 25mph for the first 10-15 miles. The sun came up bright and full. At mile 21 we stopped at the aid station to refill bottles and have a snack. This is where the climbing would begin.
 The climb up Hardscrabble Pass, 9085 feet, was tough in places, but also leveled once in a while to let you catch your breath, and regain some of your speed. Overall, we gained 3500 feet from our starting point to the summit. Speaking of which, I was disappointed to not see any sign at the summit of Hardscrabble. Plus the fact that shortly after you begin the descent you find yourself climbing another mean little stretch. But the saving grace of this climb is the view at the top. It's not the kind of view where you can look down into the valley, or at the switchbacks you've ridden. But it is a view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains off to the southwest that is classic Colorado.
A few miles after the summit we had another aid station where we could rave about the views, and complain about the double summit. At mile 65 or so, we turned onto County Road 1a to get us back up to US50 for the ride into Salida. The County Road was a little rough, but the views were still pretty nice, and the absence of traffic would be missed in a short while. We had one last nice descent that came to an abrupt halt with the warning of a stop sign around the corner, and we were back on US50. Another 10 miles down the road we, mercifully, had another aid station. The views as you parallel the Arkansas River were spectacular, but the skies were darkening, the grades were going slightly up, and the increased traffic seemed worse with shoulders that grew very narrow in places.

I rode with Scotty from the last aid station and it was nice to have someone else there to share in my suffering. We stopped at a bar and grill as we rode into town and had lunch. Deb and Stefan walked over from the school to join us, and I was so happy to find that the new high school was literally across the street. 
I waited out a little rain in the school charging my phone and camera, and later, walked back to the bar for a bite. I was looking forward to climbing Monarch Pass the next day. It was the last climb on the first tour I ever did in Colorado, and I couldn't wait to see it again.


  1. Love it...quote "mercifully, had another aid station"

  2. Salida is quite the Cycling Savvy town. How often are you asked ,"What team do you ride with", rather than "Why are you wearing that loud, printed shirt with pockets in the back"?