Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fall River Road

Time to bust out Ogre for his first ride! Also time to get on up Fall River road before they let the autos back on.
I did not get a super early start but it was a beautiful morning with zero wind!
Drove up to Lawn Lake parking area and rolled from there. A fun first few miles on paved road to get to the start.
Through the gate and on up the road we go! Wild flower season is just starting in the high country. These are a wild rose I believe.
At the first of many switchbacks.......whew! gets a bit steep.
It is so pretty with the creek running strong. On Fall River road the river is so close to the road that it makes for some wonderful views of the water crashing down. Right after this picture I came around a corner and saw a Bear. He was just sitting in the road about two hundreds yards away and took a look at me and kind of shuffled off into the trees. I was not fast enough to fumble out my camera.
A good view of some of the switchbacks and the support engineering to keep this road open. Gabions = wire baskets filled with rocks to control erosion.
Some of the flatter part of this ride is surprisingly on these switchbacks. You hump it around the curves and seem to flatten out between switching back the other way. A close look at gabions.
Winding on up I come to the bottom of Sundance where I find a couple of guys who just got finished skiing down and were changing into hiking boots for the walk out. We talked for a while about lines to come down Sundance.
Last time I skied Sundance was some 30 years ago. Kurt Oliver and Greg and Monte Hurt. I think Patty Jones was there too. I fell just above the rock island on the right and bounced on the rocks. Still have the scar on my thumb where I took most the skin off to keep this memory alive!! It is still a standard for anyone that wants to do some summertime skiing in the park.
Close up.
Back to the ride! This ride is hard because there is zero break on the climbing. I took a break here at the Chapin, Chaquita, Ypsilon trail head. If I was a real athlete like my friend Harry Kent, I would park the bike and jog on up to the top of Ypsilon!!! Alas, I am not....just trying to keep on keeping on up the road.
I don't know if I was running out of gas or the road just gets steeper for this next section. I had really slowed down, not much pace to left the legs . Some guy zoomed by me here riding a road bike. He was fishtailing around in the sandy dirt but was a pedaling machine. It kind of pumped me up to pick up the pace. I pushed it to get myself up into the tundra. There is a big snowfield below the alpine visitor center. There were some hikers who were heading down and said it was OK. The park service had cut through it. My original plan was to ride all the way up and come back down the paved Trail Ridge road but I thought why mix it up with the cars when I have the dirt road, car free, to get down.
A picture before heading down!
I stopped for a few pictures of moving water on the way down. It sure was pretty out!!
I stopped to talk to Lisa Foster, she was heading up. She told me that the Park Service is closing the road to all use on Monday for maintenance to get it ready for cars. I am so glad I got out on it this weekend. You'll still have the option of riding up the road but you have to go all the way as it will be only one way up.
Ogre was a joy to ride, I am very happy with my set-up with this bike.
Hope everybody has had a nice weekend!



  1. Hey Jim Bangs! How about a piece showing the Ogre set up? The handlebars caught my eye...

    1. I'll do it! It will be a couple of days because I have a couple of people out on vacation so I actually have to earn my pay this week instead of screwing around on the computer!

  2. I was thinking the same thing before I opened the comments - "lets see more of that cool bike!" looks like you had a gorgeous ride

  3. Great ride report, Jim! I liked the photos, especially the steep gravel road. It's an altogether different world when you get off the paved roads, huh?