Epic Riding

I had all these grand ideas about training in Boulder this summer. One such idea was a two-week swim, bike, run tour of Colorado. Unortunately I was sidelined with a lame knee and I missed out on said adventure... ...but not completely. Mike Larsen pieced together a one-day grand tour yesterday and my knee had been healthy for a couple weeks. I decided to join them.

The route:

Rollout of Amante Coffee in No Boulder at 5:30 a.m.

*Ride to Lyons, Colorado
*Climb 16 miles from Lyons to Estes Park
*Enter Rocky Mtn National Park from Estes, climb to 12,500 ft via Trail Ridge
*Descend down to the Frasier Valley and ride onto Winter Park (112 miles at this point)
*Climb Berthoud Pass to 11,500 ft
*Descend Berthoud to Idaho Springs
*Climb Oh-My-God Rd (dirt road) with 2,000ft+ of vert
*Descend dirt/pavement to Central City (165 miles at this point)
*Climb out of central city to Nederland
*Descend Nederland to Boulder

Total distance would be 205-210 miles with 15,000ft+ of climbing

We started with seven riders and everyone stayed together to the base of the Trail Ridge climb. I knew it was going to be a long day when we crested the Trail Ridge climb in four hours. After four hours of riding (and over 3,000 KJs) we had only covered a little over sixty miles.

After several cups of coffee we headed out to descend into the Frasier valley. It was a cold day in the mtns so we all loaded up our jerseys with newspapers, brochures, toilet paper, etc to stay warm while descending. This was one of those situations where I was glad to not be the leanest athlete.

I had to pullover shortly after starting the descent since the housing on my RD popped out. Luckily some biker dudes were around to loan me some tools and I was back on the road. The rest of the descend was interesting as Mike, Josh, and I maneuvered through a number of bikers since we can descend techanical descents more quickly than cars and motorcycles. Kind of sketchy really.

The next 30 miles after the descent were fairly uneventful. We had a nice pace line going and made good time all the way to Winter Park.

The next segment of the ride included the ascent of Berthoud Pass. The climb passed by uneventfully, but we were starting to get rain at the summit. We bombed down trying to get out the rain, but everyone got soaked. We re-grouped in Idaho Springs and now folks were cranky, cold, and hungry. The group had now dimished to just four riders (others had planned pickups).

Next on the list: climb Oh-My-God road; a dirt road with 2,000 ft+ of climbing over 10K. Climbing dirt doesn't really bother me, but it was starting to rain. Climbing on the dirt, in the rain, on a tri bike, did concern me slightly. Josh and I cruised up the road in the rain and interestingly enough, this was the best I felt all day. I guess I just really like to open it up in hour ten. When we summited, it was raining pretty significantly and now we had to descend on the dirt, in the rain, on the tri bike. I was a little concerned, but soon enough we made it to Central City.

We are cold. We have been riding almost 170 miles at this point. We are still far from Boulder. Its almost 6:00 in the evening. We are running out of daylight. It is raining and cold. We are sitting in a casino drinking free coffee while stuffing our jereys, shorts, jakets, etc with entire setions of the Rocky Mountain News. We are quite a sight. We are laughing hysterically at the situation and making a real freaking mess. The Casino folks were quite accomodating so if any of you all tell me you lost your rent money at "Doc Holiday's", I won't feel_as_bad for you.

At this point we are a bit concerned with the weather and lack of daylight. We finally cratered and called a buddy who lives off Magnolia Rd to shuttle us over to Boulder Canyon so that we could finish the descent. We started climbing Peak-to-Peak Highway for the time being and as it turns out, we managed to warm up and the weather atually started to improve some (oh well, guess we might have been alright). About thirty minutes later said buddy arrived and shuttled D and I to his house off Mags. We then hopped back on our bikes and finished the ride into Boulder. I rolled back to my door at 7:30 in the evening; over 14 hours from when I rolled out. Ride time was slightly over 11 hours with just under 300 kilometers in the bank.

I'll have to go back next year to make sure I include those 15 miles I missed. Maybe I'll do that section twice to make up for this year.

Good times.