Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 3 Tour 2013

Time on the Bike-6hrs 18min

Shut Down......
This was a tough day. Some days are like that when taking on a bike tour.

Started the day early again but it had a different feel to it. That last hour against the head wind had taken its toll on me more than I thought. My legs were slugs this morning.

Heading out of Buena Vista to the west on Cottonwood pass road was a medium steady incline for the first 5 miles just to get out of the open ranch land and back into the mountains. It played the total mental head game on me. You start to question everything. You take inventory of every little ache and pain your body is sending your brain. Every little squeek and click from the bike plays on your thoughts of "what's wrong, what's gonna break"....

I think Mount Princeton is an impressive and intimidating looking mountain. The visual centerpiece of the Collegeiant Range.

I was really pounding the water because I was having some leg cramp issue, so that meant a bunch of stops. I got to grinding on up. This was the steepest road as a total package that I have ever been on. Richard, think Heartbreak Hill, followed by a half mile of incline followed by Heartbreak hill. About the fourth time that happened I was reduced to "hike-a-bike" status. I can ride Trail Ridge and never have to hike-a-bike.
Your mind really works you over when hike-a-bike is your world. All sorts of solutions to the non-fun that is occurring go through your head.
I drank up almost all my water (two big quart bottles) and I have been out here almost five hours. I was still five miles and four switchbacks from the top. Decision time. I decided to turn back and head back to Buena.
Disappointed? Yes! In myself? Yes! Regrets? None at all.
 Cottonwood Pass had kicked my butt. I was talking to a couple that were riding their road bikes up and were just about cooked themselves where I had stopped but were going to still try for the top. It was a huge coast back down but I was still butt and leg weary to just get back to town.
Since I have ridden the road south out of Buena Vista on a previous tour I decided to just end this trip at this point and start planning for the next trip.
This trip had some issues before I started. Some self-imposed guilt about going with some busy time at work and many un-finished projects at home. To take time off on a selfish bike trip just did not feel right. Pile on that I was not having any fun.......the road will still be there and the bike is not going away. There will be a better time.
So....still a good few days of riding; time on the bike. Time in my head to continue the quest to be a better person.
I was glad to have had the opportunity to be out here!
Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 2--Tour 2013

I forgot Stats on yesterday's ride!
Miles= 54.67
Time on Bike= 6hr 41 min
And Today's Stats
Miles= 64.79
Time on Bike= 6hr 58min

Today had a nice early start because I was asleep by 8:30 last night!
I headed up out of Frisco towards Copper Mountain on the most excellent Summit County bike trail system.

The downhill traffic was very busy because there was an event going on, The Courage Classic for Children's Hospital. I knew a few people from Estes that were riding in it and sure enough, suddenly, there was Mark and Patti Donahue! It was so fun to see them and spend a few moments talking.Everybody that was zooming downhill were so kind and thoughtful of the big slow rider heading up. Giving me room and shouting back to other riders.
I think ski areas in the summer have a fascinating look of beauty and imagination for your brain.
After riding past Copper, it was meat and potatoes time. Heading up the first steep part of Fremont Pass.

Hey! It's just not an official tour until you have laundry hanging off your bags to dry in the sun!
There were a lot of stops for this rider to catch my breath and leg recovery. I played the little game of picking out a landmark to ride to for breaks. Just get to the end of that run of guard rails for the next break. There was a club of road riders from Durango that were riding up and then back. Whenever two or three would pass they really piled on the encouragement. And I was so jealous when they passed by zooming down!!
Fremont pass has always been so interesting for me because of the history and the ongoing mining.
On one side of the road you have the heavy hand of man, the ongoing clean-up of mining mistakes made in the past.
And on the other side, Surly looks upon unspeakable beauty
Best part about this pass is, it is super steep for the first 7 miles or so, but then it is flat for some rollers on the top. I love the info stops that give you history of the area. At one time, over 50,000 people lived on this mountain to take the rich ore out or worked as piggy back industry. Richest square miles at that time in the world! Billions of dollars!
Now Climax Mine corporation owns it all and whether you agree or not with the industry, (that's a discussion for a different forum!) they are taking down a mountain and making it disappear.
Anyway, back to the ride! Got my traditional top of pass picture before the plunge down to Leadville.
What a pretty view just starting the west side of the pass
Zoomed along to Leadville. If you have never visited there, it is a cool place. The History, both mining and the fact that it was the cosmopolitan center of Colorado for many years is fun to look at. I could never live's at 10,000 feet folks, not much summer, A LOT of winter. Architecturally these building are precious to our history.
After a nice lunch, I just had to slog out the remaining 30 miles to Buena Vista. Actually a nice ride on a gentle decline.
Not a barn, but an old building ready to be crushed by a big snow!!
I was cruising along nicely until, about seven miles out of Buena Vista a big wind came up in my face. Oh My! Took me an hour to knock out that last bit. Left me pretty wiped out and the thought of setting up my tent in the wind and listening to it flap all thanks! So I wimped out and a motel for another night.
Maybe I am just not cut out for the camping thing after a day of riding. I should make up my mind so I don't have to carry the extra weight!!
Good to get good rest because a big climb tomorrow morning!!

Thanks for reading everybody!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 1- Tour 2013

Wake Up!!!
Time to get after it!
People that know me know that I like to start my tours by riding out my driveway and just go. But, this year a bit different. It would have been my third straight tour starting with a first day over Trail Ridge Road and while I love TR, I just wanted to be able to add a day on the other side of this trip and see some country that I have not ridden.
So, I recruited Evelyn to get up early and give me a shuttle over to Hot Sulpher Springs.
Time to go! It was about 58 deg when I started but it did not take long to shed that pull-over. First thing to see is Byers Canyon. A short but very pretty stretch. All three modes of transportation are here, Railroad, water, and a road for a crazy cyclist!!
A long time ago I wanted to try the route that takes you over Ute Pass and then drops you back on CO 9 about ten miles south of Silverthorne. To avoid the road that goes into Kremling and then south on 9 is a good plan. No shoulder and high volume of fast moving traffic. A couple of years ago I almost got clipped by a logging truck on this thanks.
Right after Byers canyon I zipped onto County Road 3 and headed for the pass. The first 3 miles were paved and then turned to dirt.
A barn that has felt the weight of snow and age!
Cool fence that this Rancher has built
And then there was dirt
This road surface was really good. Smooth with zero ruts and washboard. Surly just rolled along nicely! There was only a car every twenty minutes or so with plenty of room. What a nice ride! It was a good place to be on the first day, peaceful, get your mind right riding. TJ, you would have loved being being on this ride, it was a"float" for many miles. I didn't solve any world problems but found some peace. Evelyn and I talked about"living in the moment". I worked on that today.

Another barn, maybe this will be a tour of barns on this trip!

Hey Richard! This Ranch is for sale. 2,200 acres! You could spend the rest of your days creating a mountain bike trail system in paradise for all the rest of US!!! Probably only in the multiple 7 figures. Dig up a few of those coffee cans you have buried in the back yard!!
Henderson Mine corporation had a large presence near the top of Ute pass. Large tailing ridge
And the mill
It was time to go to work. Base of Ute pass the road turned back to asphalt and steep 4 mile climb to the top!
First day-First Pass!!
They did not have an elevation sign at the top, I was still below timberline so I am guessing around 9500 ft
Made it!

First view of peaks that will be challenged tomorrow
Cool rock formation heading down. Looks like some igneous rocks in the middle of all this granite
Back on CO 9 for the last run to Silverthorne, Just taking a break
I came upon a huge nest that I think was an eagle family.
Dad on the pole watching over things
And the nest
I finally rolled into Silverthorne and then had to pump it up the bike trail switchbacks to get up on top of Dillon dam. I was out of gas and a last climb to end the day was a bummer. Pretty lake though!
I was on auto pilot a bit and rode right by the entrance to the campground I was going to use tonight. Realized it about 2 miles way I am backtracking so I got a motel in Frisco. Shower sure felt nice!!!
A good first day!
Hey if you guys don't see a post from me everyday......don't worry. It just means no internet connection or I'm just too tired to post!
Thanks for following along!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Warning! Bike Geek talk ahead

First off, this is a bit of an experiment. I am not a computer geek at all so I am posting this of my notebook instead of my regular computer. It is a trial run because for the first time I am going to carry this on tour and attempt to post on the road as I go.

Time to get the bike ready to go.
First thing is to change out my tires. I bought these Schwalbe Marathon Extremes two years ago to get me over some dirt roads  was going to be on. I ended up changing my route and only had a half day on dirt so when I got home I put my conti's back on for day to day commuting. This tour will have two days of dirt, so back on they go.
They have a good tred to keep me upright on dirt. A little clunkier ride on pavement but not enough to fret over. Pumped up to 80 lbs for pavement they roll along just fine. A little noisier I guess. I also put new slime tubes in. I needed a spare tube anyway, so now I have two spares with two new slimers!!
The other thing to do is put my front rack on. I have a Surly nice rack. It is a great, sturdy and tough rack,but with hindsight it might be a bit of overkill. I probably would have been fine with a light weight option. But, Surly bike so Surly rack was what I originally thought and there we go!
I went through the bike putting a wrench on every nut and bolt to make sure everything is secure. Total clean and lube. Put new pads on the front brakes for a confident feeling on some of the passes I'll be bombing down!!

Headed out this last Sunday for a last long ride chance to check it all out. Drove down to Lyons to do the loop up St Vrain Canyon, up to Ward and down Left Hand Canyon to complete the loop.
I got to feel a wide temperature gradient, came out of Lyons with hot sun, bike computer had 94 deg. I worked my way up the canyon as the clouds came in.
I turned off on  the Riverside/Raymond road and the thundershowers were building and the temp had cooled off nicely to 64 deg. I think, IMHO Riverside/Raymond ride just might be cycling heaven!
Nice road, no cars, easy grade, pretty with the St Vrain creek rushing next to you. Very peaceful.

Wild Roses in full bloom
About 3/4 of the way up to hook up with Hiway 72, Peak to Peak, you get to stop at the Raymond Store to have a snack and a drink. It is Rocky Mt old school!
I continued on up to Peak to Peak and got myself up to Peaceful Valley when is was time to make a weather call. Pretty dark and threatening clouds, did I really want to be up in Ward with lightning kicking around????
Decided not, and headed back to retrace my ride back down St. Vrain canyon. Pretty good ride, 42 miles and a solid 4.5 hours on the bike. Bike was great although I made the call of switching out my saddle. I put on my Brooks Imperial that has been on my Schwinn road bike. I can ride that saddle for long rides with comfort. My modified B-17 that was on Surly might be done after I did surgery on it two years ago. It just pinches me in the wrong places and we will leave it at that!!

Everybody have a great day!!