Thursday, August 21, 2014

crmbt day 6 - buena vista to woodland park

Friday, 8-8

We had 103 miles and 3 mountain passes in front of us on this penultimate day of the tour. Not quite the elevations we had reached midweek, and not close to what we hoped to reach the next day, but plenty of climbing nonetheless.
 Bill and I rode out together again on a morning that required layers until the sun was higher in the sky. We were climbing almost as soon as we were out of Buena Vista. The traffic was a little heavy while we rode on US285/24. The shoulder was good, but narrow in places. After a semi flew by on my left I decided I was glad I didn't see him before he was by me. I did see some traffic pass by the tandem in front of me, and it sure didn't look like he gave them the state mandated 3 feet.

After the summit of Trout Creek Pass we parted ways with US 285, and US 24 headed northeast, the traffic seeming slightly lighter. At least the sun was fully up, the breezes were light, and after a nice stop at the aid station, we were off for pass number 2.
Part of the morning was spent looking at the horizon, and what was waiting for us on Saturday.
Later we would see clouds gather around Pikes Peak, and later still we would see a little snow near the top. (Note to self: wear everything tomorrow). But that could wait for tomorrow. We had long stretches of road with abundant rolling hills, and spectacular views of mountains, lakes, and ranches.
The reason for the seemingly lighter traffic may have been the road construction we encountered that interrupted large chunks of what would have been a pretty amazing descent. In one stretch they let bikes go onto the newly paved section that was still closed to traffic. But, in other places we were on the rough surface where the old blacktop had been removed, and the new surface yet to be laid. Not ideal for a bike, painful for a bike coming off a mountain.Once we survived that, there was still some pretty good downhill as we headed for Florissant.
These last two photos are of Pikes Peak form about 25-30 miles away. I zoomed in to try to show the snow at the top. I was hoping fervently that clouds such as those would not be present the following morning. I saw Thom and Glenn at Florissant when I stopped to take a layer or two off. We had leaned our bikes up against a bar, and the bartender came out and asked if we needed water. She filled my second bottle with ice water! Nice. 
 Shortly after I took these sunny shots, the clouds gathered, and a few raindrops started to fall. Then a little hail started to fall. It was small hail, but still. It made it chilly, but not cold. I spent the next half hour putting on and taking off my jacket, until I reached the aid station where many of us gathered under the canopy to see if the rain would pass. When it seemed to be done, I continued the long climb up to Cripple Creek. (Couldn't get the song out of my head all day). Before the last hairpin turn straightened out and took us into town, the rain had come and gone again. I was ready for a break. The arrows that CRMBT had put up took a beating in the wind and rain and I had to stop and unfold one to be sure I was on the right street.

 I saw some bikes in front of a cafe and stopped to grab a bite. Glenn and Rick and a couple others were having a sandwich and coffee. I ordered a garden burger and coffee. While I was eating they were talking about a local in a pickup truck going out of town as we were coming in. They said he had his arm out the window with a middle finger salute to the cyclists. They asked if I had seen him. I told them I had noticed him, but I thought he was waving, so I waved back. 

After lunch the rain was gone and the sun was making a return, but I still had some climbing to do, to get out of town!
 There were some great views looking back down into Cripple Creek. It looked better leaving than going in. When we reached the summit the sign read Tenderfoot Pass. By that point my foot wasn't the only tender thing on my body, but my spirits were high.
 We were now in the foothills of Pikes Peak, still 10-15 miles away, but never far from it. You can see the road carved into the side of the mountain. And again, those pesky clouds. But by this time it was mid-afternoon when you can expect rain, or snow, at that kind of altitude.
We pulled into Woodland Park with 103 miles on our bikes and our bodies. I needed to eat, shower, and get organized. And, obviously, needed to get to bed early. Tomorrow was going to be a big day! And an early day. I set my alarm for 4:00am and called it a long, satisfying day.


  1. I'm enjoying your daily reports and the great images....Keep on spinning those pedals..:-)

  2. Being buzzed by any vehicle let alone an 18 wheeler sucks. I think and I am all bicycle riders and hikers/walkers agree. Totally uncalled for. Reading through your posts brings back memories. On one of our trips we went up from Canon City to Divide and back 24 to Buena Vista. I did not ride the bicycle on that route, but it sure looked inviting. Thank You for the posts. I enjoy narrative and "making the pictures big" to going through each one multiple times.