Some days are just grumpy
Huh? How can a beautiful day in the mountains be a grumpy day? That seems like heresy! It just shouldn’t be….
Actually, parts of Tuesday’s 91 miles were awesome, but others were not so much. Let’s start with the not so much first so I can end on a positive note!
- Traffic – The word of the day is “Zoom, zoom!”. I was just so tired of it that I wanted to be done.
- Drivers – Golden, you suck. Actually, some of your drivers are what sucks. I was yelled at more in just an evening and a morning in your city than I usually encounter in a year in Springfield.
- Climbing – I love to climb, but let’s face it, there’s not much a good ole’ boy from Missouri can do to prepare for a 10,000 foot climbing day.
- Rain – I didn’t make it over Berthoud Pass before the wind, rain and hail hit. I descended the 12 miles off the pass in the rain. By the time I got down, I was shivering so violently the entire bike was shaking.
- Navigation – My lack of attention cost me about an extra mile in heavy traffic.
Alright…now that I’m through whining, here’s the good stuff:
The climb up Lookout Mountain just outside Golden was ridiculously fun. I managed to start the day nearly tail back since I had to ride from my hotel, but over the course of the 11 miles up the mountain I managed to pass several riders. Lookout Mountain was a prominent feature of last year’s Tour of Colorado professional cycling race, so it was fun to see it.
Buffalo Bill’s grave is located at the top of Lookout Mountain. If you’ve ever driven west of Denver on I-70, you’ve probably seen the turn off. I figured I might as well stop and smell the flowers, so I took a few minutes to go take a look. That put me back in tail back position.
The next adventure of the day was about 1.6 miles on the shoulder of I-70. It wasn’t a fun experience at all. I wouldn’t recommend it.
At Evergreen, we headed up Squaw’s Pass Road. This little gem took us to over 11,000 feet in a matter of a couple of hours. We had to contend with a little road construction, but there was no traffic to speak of so it didn’t really make a difference. Of course, the downhill was equally awesome!
The descent from Squaw’s Pass began in earnest at Echo Lake. It is a beautiful spot, and is the entrance to the road Mount Evans, which is the highest paved road in North America. I heard a lot of talk early on as people considered adding it to Tuesday’s route, but it would have added another 6,000 feet of climbing and 34 additional miles. I wisely just waved as I passed by. The descent landed us in Idaho Springs, again right at I-70. Our route paralleled it for quite a while, so the constant noise of traffic was ever-present.
As we pulled away, our descent of Berthoud Pass began. This climb would take us to over 11,100 feet again, but it was essentially a 22 mile climb that took me 2.5 hours to climb. By the time I was done, I was having to make up little goals along the way to keep me occupied. Next sign…next switchback…next driveway.
I finally made it to the summit just as the rain started. Before I made it undercover, the hail began. Luckily, that didn’t last long, and the heaviest rain let up after about 10 minutes, so I started down.
I swear, that was a cold rain! Of course my legs were pretty toasted already, so by the time I got to the point where I needed to pedal, they were pretty stiff!
I made it down the 12 mile descent safely, although riding that in the rain was kind of scary to me. I know I rode my brakes nearly the entire time.
I made into Winter Park somewhere around 3:30, which was perfectly timed to meet Pam coming back from her hike.
In spite of it all, I do feel a sense of satisfaction in completing the ride. It was hard…in fact, we were still seeing riders coming into town after we had cleaned up and went to dinner. Those folks had a really long day!
You can click the elevation profile above to see the full GPS track.
TWExplore posts in the same categories: Colorado, Cycling, Fitness comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.