Colorado 2010 – Day 32

Julesburg to Sterling: Sprinting to beat the storm

Sunday June 6, 2010, 63 miles (102 km) – Total so far: 1,361 miles (2,190 km)

There’s a brief thunderstorm in the morning, so I wait until the roads have dried up a bit before heading off. I stop at the little supermarket in Julesburg to get food for today and tonight. The checkout woman asks where I’m headed. I tell her, ‘Colorado Springs, but just to North Sterling Reservoir for tonight’. She replies, ‘Watch out for the rattlesnakes. They’ve really started to come out. My niece lives near there and they’ve just had tons of them in the past two weeks’. I thank her for the tip. I’ll keep a watch out, but reptiles don’t really scare me, just lightning. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 33

Sterling to Brush: The green patch

Monday June 7, 2010, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 1,401 miles (2,255 km)

Today I’m riding Hwy 6 to Brush. The scenery is more Platte River valley agriculture, a hill or two here and there, and not all that much traffic. I’m roughly following the Overland Trail today (and have been since entering the state). The Overland Trail started in Atchison, Kansas and paralleled the Oregon, Mormon and California trails through Nebraska. It broke off at Julesburg and followed the path used by hopeful miners in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 34

Brush to Limon: The magic shoulder

Tuesday June 8, 2010, 76 miles (122 km) – Total so far: 1,477 miles (2,376 km)

As I’m leaving early in the morning, I notice that there are two storm chaser trucks parked out front. Okay, so they don’t look like the trucks from Twister, but the satellite dish looking thing and the logos on the door make them pretty obvious. I will have four different sets of these from different organisations pass me today. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 35

Limon to Falcon: There’s mountains ahead somewhere

Wednesday June 9, 2010, 61 miles (99 km) – Total so far: 1,538 miles (2,475 km)

When I wake up it’s drizzly and foggy. I pack up wet, put on my rain jacket and tights and head off at 7am. I pick up two donuts at a shop in town (it’s pretty impossible to find good donuts in Oz) and head off on Highway 24 towards Colorado Springs. There’s plenty of climbing to do today. Lots of little hills between these towns as well as the general upward trend from Limon (elevation 5377): Matheson (5801), Simla (5978), Ramah (6118), Calhan (6535), Peyton (6780) and Falcon (6831). Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 36

Falcon: Acclimating

Thursday June 10, 2010

Today is my last day alone. Tomorrow I will ride into Colorado Springs and meet my mom. She’s coming out to be my SAG vehicle as I climb some mountain passes. I’m very much looking forward to spending two weeks in the Colorado mountains with her. I do not get to see her nearly as much as I would like to, so it will be a real treat to be with her. Yet, at the same time, I’m not ready for my solo ride to end. I’ve been having so much fun, I just want my own ride to keep going. Meeting up with my mom means I’ve only got 17 days left to ride. Read more

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. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 39

Manitou Springs to Lake George: The first Pass

Sunday June 13, 2010, 23 miles (38 km) – Total so far: 1,576 miles (2,537 km)

Today is my first day of riding in the mountains and the weather is still crap. If I didn’t have Mom along, I would just sit this out. 42 degrees and intermittent rain is no fun. But with her along, I can always get in the car and warm up, or just toss it in for the day. We do have to stick to a schedule, though. Because Mom is not into camping, we need to stay in motels. We were worried about these getting booked out, so I figured out a route and the distance I thought I could do each day, and then she booked motels for each night. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 40

Lake George to Buena Vista: A couple more Passes to get warmed up

Monday June 14, 2010, 56 miles (90 km) – Total so far: 1,632 miles (2,627 km)

We’re up early and Mom drives me back out the dirt road to start the day on Hwy 24. We’re going to meet at the top of my next pass – Wilkerson. I’ve only been this way once, in a car in 1995, and I remember the view over South Park from the top of the pass as being spectacular, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s a gentle, continuous climb through meadows and forest for about 8.5 miles from Lake George. Then there’s 1.5 miles of a 5 to 6 percent grade to the top. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 41

Buena Vista to Twin Lakes: Now that’s a good view!

Tuesday June 15, 2010, 27 miles (43 km) – Total so far: 1,659 miles (2,670 km)

It’s a short ride today to set me up to climb Independence Pass tomorrow. As you leave Buena Vista, the view of the Collegiate Peaks range to the left shows snow-capped peaks rising steeply out of the flat valley against a clear blue sky. It’s cool and crisp and dry this morning – my favourite type of weather. Read more