Friday, August 14, 2015

Short tour is better than No tour....Day One

I will start this with a shout out and Thank You to my friend Richard Welch for naming this tour for me!

I originally planned this route up last year for a September 2014 ride but family circumstances had me cancel the ride at that time. This year an opportunity arrived that I had a full staff at work and it was the week before Debbie was required back to her teaching short loop tour was revived!!!

The route is a loop west out of Estes Park, up and over Trail Ridge Road in the National Park, down to Grand Lake, Granby, up over Willow Creek Pass to Walden, up over Cameron Pass, down the Poudre River Canyon, to Ft. Collins, Loveland and back up Big Thompson Canyon to home. Four or five days depending how it rides.

Here we GO!! Let's ride bikes!!

Not so fast.
 I was not on the bike fifteen minutes and I broke my chain!! Oh boy....not a good way to start, but, I was not even in the Park yet, so it was a downhill coast back to where I left my truck for Evelyn and Debbie to pick up later that day. Back into the truck, over to the LBS to buy a new chain, back to the garage to install said chain and then back to start the trip. So much for my early start to get a head start on a Sunday traffic day in the Park. I had Debbie and Evelyn drive me up to start at Rainbow curve to put me where I would have been had I just been riding.
As I was installing the new chain I thought about it a bit. I have owned Ogre for almost three years, many dirt road and single track miles plus two trips down the KATY trail. Slaps forehead!!!!!!!!!!! Why didn't I think of that??? Oh well, no blood , no foul. At least it did not happen at the top of Trail Ridge or some where else. Way back when, I used to carry some chain links and the chain tool in my tool kit but last few years took them out because my bikes have been so bomb-proof and reliable. I put them both back in the bag.
This was the first trip I have taken Ogre loaded for a tour. It was also my goal to pack "smart" and not carry a bunch of crap I would not use. I wanted to see how Ogre compared to my old workhorse Long Haul Trucker (LHT). No front rack using a frame bag and the small front platform to carry the sleeping bag. The bike was a bit tail heavy using this system, we will see how the week progresses.

Beautiful day up on the tundra with very light breezes and a mix of cloud cover and sunshine!
Chaquita and Ypsilon fron the south side that I don't see from my normal views

It was a huge flower year this summer with most of them gone now, but a few blooms remain
Ogre pulled over to enjoy the view back east towards Longs Peak!!
When you ride a bike up here you get a much greater appreciation of the surroundings than in a car where you have to focus on not driving off the mountainside!!

As I got up to Rock Cut, a couple passed my by and We all stopped at Rock Cut to chat. The guy was riding an Ogre!! His was set up to be a fast road machine with skinnier road tires and drops. It was sleek and cool looking!! They had been on an amazing ride having started at H bar H ranch that is on the Allenspark side of Lily Lake on Highway 7. They were turning around at Rock Cut which is almost the high point of Trail Ridge. That is them up ahead of the Jeep.
There is a little downhill after Rock Cut where you give back about 500 ft of elevation and then a couple of steep switchbacks to get to the high point.
You can see down on the other side of the mountain, Old Fall River Road climbing up the canyon.
Ogre needs a breather!!
You go by Lava Cliffs before one more push up to the high point
They used to have a sign up here telling you the high point at 12,2 hundred something ...oh hell, huff puff, not enough oxygen up here!!! I think they took it down because people would stop right in the road to shoot a picture.
Great views of the Never Summer Range to the west from here. I will be on the west side of those in a few days.

 And just like that.......
Time to go down, down, DOWN!!

You roll up on Poudre Lake and the headwaters of the Cache La Poudre river. I would re-visit this in a few days as well. Right there is the Continental Divide.

I cruise on down to Grand Lake where I meet Debbie and Evelyn, who had gone on a hike on the west side, for some dinner. They head on home while I head for my campsite at Green Ridge Campground.
Pretty good first day. The chain mishap was a very forgotten memory. I read on my book for about 15 minutes before I was out cold.


  1. Always some beautiful scenery up in the High Country!! A few little patches of remaining snow from a late Spring. Looks like a nice campsite as well. Cool that Debbie and Evelyn came up to meet you up there. Looks like a great start.

  2. Almost anything has been broken on my bike(s).....but a chain ? Never. It's a bit more hilly overthere than in Holland. Beautiful scenery, never boring I guess.

  3. that sounds like alot of Passes! Chapeau to you sir. Lovely pics. Its always nice that when you do have a mechanical you can look back and realize well I have gone X years with no issues, a much better alternative than "not that damn >?*&! again" I admire that you took the broken chain in stride got it sorted and realized it had been a long time since you had an issue. Its to easy to let a mechanical throw you off completely.

    1. You kinda get that feeling of being thrown off right when it happens, but it was pretty easy to sort out. I did not even have to take out any links. The chain I bought was the same size so I just clicked it all back together.