Friday, June 13, 2014

Loveland Pass and Golden



I rolled through downtown Breckenridge at 6:45 a.m. It was still quite chilly. Cold, actually. We took the trail out that we had ridden in on yesterday. Those last ten miles of "flat" that I struggled with so much? I coasted the whole way today. I struggled because I was going uphill yesterday. Glad to know the reason I sucked was because it was uphill.

Swan Mountain

I was expecting a climb to Loveland Pass but we first began with a climb up Swan Mountain. Nice little warm up. As we were climbing someone in a Jeep screamed "asshole" among other things. It was the only road rage I witnessed in Colorado.

And what goes up must come down. We descended over the top to about the same elevation we started from. The ride down was nice but I knew that meant we had to climb again. I'd prefer to start climbing and keep climbing.

Still haven't tried these but very popular on Ride The Rockies

I was and I wasn't looking forward to today. I really wanted to get the climb over with and coast to Golden. I rolled out of the rest area not sure how far it was to the summit. Roadside signs warned no vehicular traffic except for Hazmat trucks. (This was the Hazmat route to avoid the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70.) We had the road to ourselves. As we climbed higher I saw some trucks had been pulled over for staging an escorted convoy. 

Upper Section of Loveland Pass

I kept my heart rate low all day just pedaling within myself. The climb wasn't particularly difficult, a lot of 6-7% grade, but it was long. Passing the A Basin there were skiers on the slopes. 

Skiing at A Basin

I reached the top of the climb and immediately joined the line for a picture at the summit.  That took 15 minutes. 

Made it to the top

The descent was beautiful with gorgeous vistas and sweeping curves. I did not bomb this part but at the bottom was Loveland Ski Area. As I made the turn there was yet a downhill ramp. I tucked and hit 51 mph before having to brake hard for the second rest stop. 

Trail next to I-70

We were next to I-70 but had a separate bike path through the woods. I could coast comfortably and safely at 30 mph down to Georgetown. It was gorgeous in the woods and some pines had recently been cut giving it a great aroma. But the path ended and we again shared a road, also downhill. 

Trestle for Georgetown Loop Railroad

Believing the ride was entirely downhill to Golden and ignoring those spikes on the profile map, we had a rest stop in Idaho Springs. Shortly out of Idaho Springs we climbed Floyd  Hill which was a two mile 8-9% pain in the butt climb. I saw many people walking, perhaps a combination of tired legs and heat. My Garmin was showing 99 degrees coming off the pavement. It was the first time we dealt with heat the entire week.

After a nice respite of downhill we began another climb towards Lookout Mountain. Here we entered and rode on I-70 for two exits. That was an experience. Once we exited we had some rollers over to Buffalo Bill's grave site and Lookout Mountain. And a needed water break. 

Leaving the stop at Buffalo Bills it was all downhill to Golden. This time that was the truth. Steep. Hairpin corners. Two guys passed me and I let them go. I remember Wayne Stetina telling me last year that he never bombs a descent he hasn't seen before. I figured they had ridden it before but I wasn't taking any chances. All downhill to the finish in Golden. Plus, I was stuck behind a car most of the way and didn't want to be "that guy" who passed a car with a double yellow line.

Golden from Lookout Mountain
Whereas last year I met four pros, this year I didn't meet any. But I enjoyed the company of Mike with one arm, met interesting characters along the way like the two chicks on Tennessee Pass ringing cowbells, and saw the staff from the Davis Phinney Foundation. It was a very good week. 

Golden. The End.

Top Speed 50.7
Photos: ELK 9:09
Finish approx 1:35

EPILOGUE - Arriving Golden I parked my bike and enjoyed a Smoothie. I attended the closing ceremonies and did not win a bike or anything else. Without transportation to the hotel, and why I didn't find a hotel in Golden I do not know, I called Yellow Cab of Boulder. I was promised a cab would arrive in 20 minutes.

Pedal Your Own Smoothie

As I was gathering up my bike to meet the cab I noticed a couple eying my bike. They saw the FUCANCER sticker and asked if I knew Jan Stover from Virginia. I did. We had a pleasant conversation and they stated they would take me to my hotel "except I have a bike." The wheels come off. I can make it small. Oh well...

Barry with Brad Allen

One hour later. Two hours later. No cab. I called each hour only to be promised one was on its way. The first call was at 3:20. By 5:15 p.m. I called Bradley Allen in Boulder and he said he would be there within the hour. The 4K alumni are awesome. He came, took me to Westminster and we enjoyed a nice dinner. It was a great way to end the official week of Ride the Rockies.

By 6:20, three hours after I called, the cab never showed. I would never call Yellow Cab of Boulder for anything.

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