Tuesday, September 13, 2016

evergreen to idaho springs

A large group of us headed out by about 7:00am on this Saturday morning, the last day of this apparent last Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. Almost across the street from where we camped we were on Squaw Pass Road and climbing. It was a cool but sunny, very pleasant start to the day. The road was good, the shoulder wide, and the views pleasant, though once in the forest, you couldn't see very far. I didn't even take my camera or phone out for pictures. These are some shots from a few years ago:
By the time I reached the top of Squaw Pass, descended for a bit, and climbed again to the high point on CO 103, Juniper Pass, the weather had changed. Clouds had moved in, winds had increased, and the temperature had dropped quite a bit. The forecast had stated rain and thunderstorms were on tap for Mount Evans, and when I reached the aid station in the campground parking lot across from Echo Lake Lodge, you couldn't see the mountain for the clouds.

Having done the climb up Evans in 2010, I wasn't as motivated to suffer the weather as I would have been. I could have climbed as far as I wanted to, and turned back at any time to coast back down.  But my heart wasn't in it. I really wanted to warm up, so I walked over to the lodge and joined Thom for coffee and pancakes. We had a nice visit, leisurely breakfast, and when we were sufficiently warm, we layered up and headed down toward Idaho Springs.

Was it prudent judgement of the weather and my abilities? Or had the week beat me down into a tired old man? Probably a little of both. Other than passing on Evans I rode all the miles of the tour. And it was hard! It was apparent that as I get older, doing these kinds of rides will require even more training to get myself into shape. But it was also fun! Great people, great tour, and great scenery to be seen all over Colorado!

 My next ride in CO might be  a one day affair, like the Copper Triangle or Triple Bypass. I still need to do RAGBRAI. I would like to do BAK again, or ride across Nebraska. But eventually I'll have to get back to Colorado. It's been a great ride!

Friday, September 9, 2016

estes park to evergreen

We woke to a cool, cloudy morning in Estes Park. Then we climbed. Right out of town we climbed. Then we went down, then we went up. The highway south out of Estes Park is called the Peak-to-Peak Highway. And we spent the day riding from peak to peak.
Lily Lake is right off the road.
The clouds remained all day but never led to precipitation, so we were able to enjoy all of the sections of the road that had been resurfaced. There were a few rough sections, but they weren't too bad, or too long.
And there are many spots like this, that just look like the highway falls away from you like a ride at Worlds of Fun. This is my kind of roller-coaster.
A group of us had decided to find a place for lunch along the way. Black Hawk and Central City seemed like the right location. They are small casino towns just north of I-70. I had read about Black Hawk several years ago when they banned bicycles from their streets. In Colorado! Several groups sued, and the law was thrown out, but it was obvious that there was no love for cyclists in that area. The city had routed the tour around town as much as possible, adding a couple miles and a short, brutal climb, just because they could.

But we stopped and ate in the casino restaurant anyway, because it was there. Then we fought debris in the shoulder on the Central City Parkway. We battled gravity on the bike path and frontage road that got us to US6, and wrestled with too much traffic on US6 until some nicer, quieter roads got us to Bergen Park and Evergreen. It was a cool evening that passed too quickly, then it was off to the tent for a last night in the cool mountain air, on the last night of CRMBT 2016.