Colorado 2010 – Day 37

Falcon to Colorado Springs: Meeting up with Mom

Friday June 11, 2010, 15 miles (24 km) – Total so far: 1,553 miles (2,499 km)

I have 15 miles to ride to downtown Colorado Springs. It’s all downhill and it is in the morning rush. But I lived here for a couple summers in the mid-1990s and rode my bike all over town then, so I’m hoping I’ll recognize the streets I need to get me to downtown without too much traffic. I also have the fear that today will be the day I will get a flat. I haven’t had one all trip, so it would be such cruel irony to get one in the last 15 miles.

It’s a pretty exhilarating ride, pedalling fast downhill in a wide shoulder in the heaviest traffic of the whole trip. My speed is somehow timed with the lights. I rarely have to brake to keep the flow going, and I don’t hit any lights red until I’m near Peterson Air Force Base. There’s a loss of about 800 feet in the 15 miles, so there’s not too much physical effort involved. I’ve allowed myself an hour to get into town – my bike is booked in at the Olde Town Bike Shop for 9am. The initial ride in is on Platte Avenue, but I turn off at Murray Blvd to get some McDonalds breakfast burritos. I then use this road to get me over to Bijou St which parallels Platte. There’s a few turns here and there to get me to downtown, but I’m really surprised at how it all comes back to me. I end up riding right by the little apartment building downtown on Wahsatch that I lived in for the summer months when I was 19. Still looks as sketchy now as it was then.

I roll up to the bike shop just a few minutes after 9am. I’ve ridden through glass and over sharp gravel on my trip in this morning, but I can officially finish the solo ride (1500 miles) having experienced no flats! Today, the bike is getting a new chain and brake pads and a tune-up before I head into the mountains. The guys let me leave my panniers while I head over to the information centre to meet my mom. She’s driving down from a motel near the Denver airport today. She took three days to drive out with her best friend, following most of the route I rode. Her best friend flies home this morning while Mom comes down to meet me. We’ve said we’d meet at the info centre sometime between 9 and 10am. Amazingly, I cross the street just as she is getting out of her CRV. Perfect timing!! Big hugs commence.

Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write ‘America the Beautiful’ after her trip to the top of Pikes Peak (in the clouds behind me). I’ve seen the the ‘spacious skys’, the beginnings of the ‘amber waves of grain’, will soon view the ‘purple mountains’ majesty’ and spent a few weeks crossing the ‘fruited plain’.

The weather is not all that great today, but we check out the fairly new America the Beautiful park and get some hiking in during the sunny bits. It is so good to spend time with my Mom 🙂

My mom, Carolyn, hiking at Red Rock Canyon Park in Colorado Springs.
Kermie goes climbing in Colorado Springs

The fully-loaded, self-supported touring journal ends here. If you consider vehicle-supported touring to be ‘real’ touring, then read on….

Ave speed: 16.1 mph Max speed: 28.1mph

Elevation start: 6831 ft. Elevation end: 6012 ft.

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