Friday, June 28, 2013

Leadville to Buena Vista on a Bike

The following photos were taken during a thrilling bike ride between Leadville and Buena Vista in Colorado on SR24. The net drop in altitude of 2,197 ft, from 10,152 ft to 7,955 ft, offered quite an incentive for a guy on the mend. When the view along the Arkansas River Valley was considered, river left and Sawatch 14ers right, this seemed like a no-brainer.  When I factored in the traffic, a few small ascents, and a 25 mph headwind I waivered on this longstanding mission.

But the indecision only lasted a few minutes. Standing outside the Melanzana factory in Leadville, I built Kristy, lathered on the sunscreen, loaded a bottle and a camera, and pulled into heavy traffic on Harrison Avenue (SR24). I did so between two rock bearing diesels. And the fun began in a BIG way.

Cyclists familiar with the term "moto pacing" know what happened next. I followed within a few feet of the lead truck as it gained speed on the descent out of town. I soon found myself going back and forth between coasting and ridiculously fast cadences (up to 145 rpm) as we reached 53 mph. I managed to stay on the first truck for a couple of miles. Then he reached the 65 mph speed zone. Boy oh boy was I wishing I had Faith's 56 chainring on Kristy as I watched the trucks pull away. What a blast!

I settled into a pace that varied from 17 to 40 mph over the downward rolling terrain. My only pause of the ride came at five miles when I stopped for a "natural break." All but one of these pictures were taken on the fly. I'm guessing that the wildest ones occurred at the highest speeds or when I was attempting to get a quick shot.

My Polar RC3 GPS revealed that I covered 35 miles in just under 80 minutes (a PR:), burned 935 calories, and actually made seven short ascents during my descent. Needless to say, it was quite a ride. Though I've now ridden over most of the high passes in Colorado, climbing to 12,000 ft on a few occasions, this ride will go down as one of my favorites. That's likely due to the fact that I did not have to ride back up!

Click and enjoy the pics!

Melanzana - rare US made outdoors clothing.
14er Mt. Massive
Mt. Elbert (rt) et al

Oops. Not fast enough!
Oops again! Critter!!!

Can you name that 14er?

Check out Kristy chillin' with the cruisers!

A well deserved riverside nap!  ST

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Smoky Mountains - Colorado Style

This is the second of a several posts I will use to present my recent trip to Colorado. It is well known that the extremely dry conditions in most of the mountain state this year have led to more than a dozen forest fires. For the record, those fires were either burning before I arrived or I was located hundreds of miles from them when they originated.

It did, however, seem that the flames were keeping track of me.  The planned directions of my movements were changed several times due to the massive blankets of smoke carried in the wind. On a few occasions I would drive over a high pass and drop from one sun filled valley into a smoke choked valley. My heart was heavy knowing that man and nature were suffering so much. Still, the overwhelming beauty of the Rockies welcomed me, nourished my soul, and lured me to places where I encountered old friends and made new ones. A special thanks goes out to Chris and Misti for allowing me to sleep at their work in progress between play periods in the Front Range.

I will, for now, post some photos taken along the way. Later I will come back with detailed stories of special events.  Click and enjoy!

"Hiking" near Bear Lake, RMNP 
This (really) is the trail, need a hand up?
But, that is where the road goes . . .
"Are you looking at me?"
Trying to take flight in 50+ mph winds.
Something tells me this place is not
always so hospitable.
That was hot! And it went the wrong way!
Hmmmm, I'll take "Provin' Grounds."
Six miles of 10-13% ascending . . .
with flatlander's gears took away my smile.
Saw lots of these in Boulder.
For the patient caffeine addict. 
Learning to use the iPhone panorama shot.
Hmmmm. Why do I need a snack?
Sun drenched in Durango while smoke
clouded nearby valleys.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP
A bucket list stop for sure.
Finally open after three tries. Score!
Bike work station outside the Left Hand
Brewing Co.  Cool!
Quads and lungs are feeling another long
steep climb.
Does that really belong here?
Taken during "flight" back to Boulder.
Quandary is a "gentle" 14er, right?
"No food, no smiles."
Encountering RAAM riders climbing
Wolf Creek Pass reminded me of . . . 
. . . crewing Kenny Souza back in 2006.
Exceptionally good distiller in Silverton,
but I won't be converted.
One of a variety of healthy meals
produced along the way.
Oh, look! Another brewery.
Later . . . ST

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Colorado: Boulder - Rocky Mtn NP

This is a small collection of the photos taken during the first couple of days in Colorado.



Day two: Polar RC3 GPS reports
18 miles and 4800 ft of ascent. Ouch!

Night Ascent of Mt. Sanitas above Boulder:

Hiking in deep snow wears a flatlander down!