Colorado 2010 – Day 42

Twin Lakes to Aspen: The best morning of my life

Wednesday June 16, 2010, 38 miles (61 km) – Total so far: 1,697 miles (2,731 km)

I’m a bit nervous about the ride today. Independence Pass is 12,095 feet and I am untested on alpine climbs. The three little passes I’ve already done are just a warm-up. And I am doing this pass from the ‘easy’ side. But I’m still worried it’s going to take me a long time to get to the top. We get up in the pre-dawn light and Mom drives me back to the town parking area. She is to meet me at 10:30am on top. I figure if I average 5 mph, and allow for some rests, the 17 miles might take me 4 hours. Then it’s off I go at 5:45am. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 43

Carbondale: Hiking Avalanche Creek

Thursday June 17, 2010

Today is planned as a rest day and time to explore around Carbondale. Neither of us have ever been in this part of Colorado. We get some ideas for hiking from the local forest service office and we decide to head down to Avalanche Creek for the day. Mom hates driving on gravel roads, and we have to drive a very narrow and rough one to get to the trailhead. Applause, applause to Mom for going outside of her comfort zone. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 44

Carbondale to Paonia: The toughest climb of the trip

Friday June 18, 2010, 54 miles (87 km) – Total so far: 1,751 miles (2,818 km)

Once again I’m up early. The ride up the Crystal River is one of those imperceptible grades where you, at times, think you are going downhill and think you must have a tire going flat because you’re going so slowly, only to realise that you are actually climbing. There’s not too much traffic and it’s yet another beautiful ride up a canyon. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 45

Paonia to Gunnison: If only more roads were like Hwy 92

Saturday June 19, 2010, 81 miles (130 km) – Total so far: 1,832 miles (2,948 km)

I have about 80 miles to do today to Gunnison. I’ve never been over here before so don’t know what to expect. I’m up and on the road before the sun makes it over the mountains. I take the back way over to Crawford. It’s a county road with quite a few ups and downs, but it has good pavement and is a nice alternative to Hwy 92. There are deer bounding down the main street of Crawford this morning. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 46

Gunnison: Jenny joins the ride

Sunday June 20, 2010

Today’s a rest day and the day my friend Jenny joins us. She has convinced a co-worker to drive her here from Fort Collins so she can ride the last 10 days of the tour. Jen and I were thrown together as roommates in the dorms at Colorado State my freshman year (1994). We became good friends and have stayed in touch all these years, even though our lives are vastly different. She’s one of those friends where you pick up right where you left off no matter how long it’s been since you last saw each other. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 47

Gunnison to Taylor Park Reservoir: The cabin de los muertos

Monday June 21, 2010, 36 miles (58 km) – Total so far: 1,868 miles (3,006 km)

It’s a short ride today to Taylor Park Reservoir to set us up to climb Cottonwood Pass tomorrow. You could potentially do Gunnison to Buena Vista in a day, but I felt that might put us up above treeline right about time for afternoon storms, so I broke the day in two when doing the planning a couple years ago. I figured we could always find a place to go hiking in the afternoon. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 48

Taylor Park Reservoir to Buena Vista: Celebrating our highest pass with a dip in a sub-alpine lake

Tuesday June 22, 2010, 36 miles (58 km) – Total so far: 1,904 miles (3,064 km)

I make Jen get up obscenely early to tackle Cottonwood Pass. I’m pretty obsessive about these early starts now. I really like to get in the miles without the wind and traffic. So the sun isn’t over the horizon yet and the temperature hasn’t quite climbed above freezing when we set out. Now that we’re not 20-years-old anymore, Jen has some troubles with circulation and losing feeling in her extremities. I give her my good gloves since I know I’ll only need my cotton ones over my cycling ones, and off we go the 14 miles to the pass. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 49

Buena Vista to Fairplay: Looking for Kenny

Wednesday June 23, 2010, 38 miles (61 km) – Total so far: 1,942 miles (3,125 km)

The ride today takes us over Trout Creek Pass, through South Park and into Fairplay on Hwy 385. Because I came this way the other day, I know we’ll have moderate traffic, good pavement and a small shoulder (the shoulder is bigger going downhill). It’s a continuous but gentle climb. Since we don’t have to climb a big pass, and we know we’ll have a shoulder all day today, we don’t plan to leave til 7:30 or 8:00. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 50

Fairplay to Hoosier Pass: A couple of Hoosiers on Hoosier Pass

Thursday June 24, 2010, 12 miles (19 km) – Total so far: 1,954 miles (3,144 km)

Jen convinces me that starting so early is too much like work, so I concede to a slightly later start time. It’s a short ride today over Hoosier Pass to Breckenridge. Today we’ll be on the TransAmerica route all day. We immediately pass two guys slowly crawling the hill out of town. The guy on the recumbent is wobbly already – I don’t want to see him on the pass. Read more

Colorado 2010 – Day 51

Breckenridge: The non-shoppers go shopping

Friday June 25, 2010

Today is a rest day. We drive down and pick up Jen and go explore the Dillon markets. I get some Cranberry Walnut bread and am in heaven – it reminds me a little of the Ukrainian nutroll we had when I was growing up. We also go down to the Pearl Izumi and Columbia stores at the outlet mall in Silverthorne. I get a great fluoro windbreaker for less than half price at Pearl Izumi and Jen gets heaps of stuff. Read more