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

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