We were asked to be through the gates of RMNP by 7:00am to ensure we would be off the highest points before afternoon rains moved in. Arrangements had been made for our group, but anyone can roll up to the gates at any time, pay a $10 entrance fee, and ride their bike into the park. There was some talk about sleeping in a little after our century day, but riding past Lake Granby in the early morning light was beautiful.
It was also cold. I had underestimated how cold it would be for most of the morning. Temps in Granby were cold to start the day. And as the morning went on we were climbing to cooler zones, so I wasn't really warm all morning. I went back and forth between taking my jacket off from working on the climb, and putting it back on when the temps got to me. I was sorry I hadn't planned a little better, but the views that the ride afforded more than made up for any discomfort.
On Trail Ridge Road the climb takes you through lots of twists and turns, switchback after switchback until you break out of the trees
At this aid station I liked the visual of lots of bikes, and people, lined up on the wall.
And in case you forgot that you were in the middle of a climb, this handy sign reminded you.
Once you're above treeline you still have some climbing to do. You can look up and see where the road is cut into the side of the mountain.
Although the road itself fascinated me, there were still spectacular views to be had in every direction.
The last aid station was near the high point for the day. It was almost all downhill from there. I asked Scotty to take my picture, put on my jacket and headed down. Before too long I caught up to a pickup and RV and didn't see a safe place to pass. So, for about 20 miles I pumped my brakes and rolled toward Estes park at 25-30 mph.
It was good to get into Estes Park, get to the middle school, clean up and find something to eat. The following day was a rest day, and Estes Park was a great place to spend it.