Saturday, March 7, 2009
The slow boat to Steamboat
I skipped out on school on Friday and rode to Steamboat instead. Some friends were doing the Steamboat Pentathlon (they rocked it and took 2nd in the women category!), so my plan was to ride there yesterday, crash in their motel room, and then ride home today. Unfortunately, snow forced the cancellation of today's agenda, but yesterday turned out alright.
The day went something like this (I'll post photos tomorrow):
2:30 am - Roll out of bed and check road conditions and forecasts on the internet
2:32 - Decide things look good enough. 1" of snow isn't going to stop me, right?
3:10 - Click on the lights and ride off into the night
5:00 - 21 deg. in Nederland. Get chased by a fox. Strange.
5:45 - Greet the sun on Peak to Peak Hwy somewhere above Rollinsville
6:15 - Wonder how there's so much climbing on this route already
6:25 - Miss turn for Central City. Add 2 extra miles of climbing into route.
6:50 - Wonder why Central City Parkway doesn't allow bikes on the first half mile
7:30 - Stop for a quick rest in Idaho Springs
7:45 - Begin to battle a headwind climbing toward Berthoud Pass
8:45 - Still battling a headwind climbing toward Berthoud Pass
9:45 - Continuing to battle headwind climbing toward Berthoud Pass
10:30 - Berthoud Pass! Stop for cookies and to put on warm clothes
11:00 - Stop for coffee and lunch in Winter Park (29 deg). Tired.
11:25 - Head off into the wind feeling renewed vigor after a break
2:50 - Limp into Kremmling (39 deg!), weary and demoralized after 70 miles of headwind
3:10 - decide that sitting in front of a gas station isn't terribly productive
3:12 - Tailwind! 25 mph is way better than 12 mph
3:30 - Tailwind dies. Pass up ride from friends.
5:00 - Muddy Pass. Not really a pass in my book. Water bottles freezing again.
5:30 - Rabbit Ears Pass. Or rather, East Rabbit Ears Pass. Damn. Forgot there were actually 2 passes up there.
5:50 - Click on lights again
6:00 - Curse rolling road with slush, 6' tall snowbanks, and the return of cold.
6:10 - Begin final descent!
6:13 - Notice that it is starting to snow
6:15 - Curse the fact that the snow was getting thicker
6:25 - Notice rear tire sliding a bit under braking
6:26 - Begin to descend very cautiously as the road gets more slippery
6:35 - Stop to warm up frozen braking fingers
6:45 - Finally make it to the bottom where roads are just wet
7:00 - Pull up to the hotel, shivering (28 deg) but pleased. Greeted by 3 excited friends.
14 hours riding
15.8 hours door to door
14 mph avg speed (thank you climbing and wind)
0 times being buzzed by passing cars!
2 ride offers from strangers
A dozen or so cheers from passing cars
That was, without a doubt, one of the toughest single-day rides I've ever done, between the wind and the climbing. My legs felt pretty thrashed when I got up this morning, but after moving around they loosened up a bit. Unfortunately (or perhaps in my body's view, miraculously), parts of my intended route home were snowy or would soon be (Rabbit Ears, North Park, and Cameron Pass), so I bagged that plan and instead spent the day cheering for racers at the pentathlon and soaking in the Strawberry hot springs. Congrats to Lisa, Katy, Bailey, Jenn, and Alexis for an awesome job in the race today!
And now for Sunday, the best day of the year: the one on which daylight savings time begins.