Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Steamboat Loop



This was a first for me on a Ride to Rockies trip - two nights in the same town with a loop ride back to start. On paper, this would be the easiest day of all and it looked that way. On paper. No named passes or mountains. But it wasn't that easy.

Near Steamboat Springs

Rolling out of Steamboat Springs the route went through some ranch country. Here "rollers" aren't the ups and downs that they are back east but three to four miles up followed by three to four miles of downs.

Oak Creek CO

At the first stop in Oak Creek, I met an amputee, Mike, who lost his left arm at his shoulder. He was kind enough to show me his bike. One brake level controls both brakes with a device called a problem solver. He has straight handlebars with mountain bike type shifters (levers), He is a strong climber as I found out. And a fearful descender as braking with one hand and not fully being able to balance completely at high speeds, he "creeps" down the mountain no faster than 20 mph.


I flew by him on a descent and waited at the bottom as he passed by. A climb began immediately. I had to let some other riders pass and then I started the climb. He was perhaps 150 meters in front of me and I thought that I would bring him back. I didn't. He increased that as we climbed. Well done Mike!

My bike started creaking under heavy duress (climbs). Each pedal stroke brought a groan from her and people could hear me pedaling. It was annoying. At the second rest stop I took my bike to Wheat Ridge Cyclery. The mechanic agreed with me it was probably a dirty bottom bracket and spent about 15 minutes cleaning it.

As I rolled out of the rest stop we began an immediate and serious climb. And it creaked even louder. I made it to the summit of the first climb, hit another awesome descent then began the big climb. This had sections of 11-12% grade and put many riders in difficulty. Most were used to the constant 6-7% grades but not something this steep.

White Horse on the range

I pulled over and thought maybe the noise wasn't from the bottom bracket but from the rear wheel. I took it off, put it back on with force, and the creaking went away for the rest of the day. At least I got my bottom bracket cleaned.

Beautiful bike path along and in the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs

Descending into Steamboat Springs we rode along a beautiful but flooded Yampa River Core Trail. Passing through downtown, just as we were to return to the main RTR area, the winds kicked up and it looked like a storm was brewing. I opted to head back to the hotel but not before a quick stop at Wendy's. 

F. M. Light and Sons
You see signs for this all the way here

There I met a 70 year-old man who came to Ride the Rockies from Gallup, New Mexico. By bike. Quite impressive. I had seen him last year and wondered if he was part of RTR. He was.

70 years old and still pedaling strong

It was a day that many riders opted to use as a rest day. I was here to ride and so was this 70 year-old.

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