Day 1: Fairplay to Grant, CO
First full day in CO and first ride. Left Fairplay, CO north on 285 towards Como. Climbed a little pass, Red Hill and later passed Como not knowing. Got to top of Kenosha Pass (10,000 ft. alt.) without overdoing it, and headed down the pass at 40 mph (every mile thinking, I’m going to pay for this). Got to Grant (5 miles or so downhill) and turned around giving up on reaching the elusive Como. Saw the sign on the way back where the turn is for Como. Altitude gain: 3,143 ft
MapMyRide route and altitude info: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/122247937
Looking back towards Fairplay, almost at the top of Kenosha pass before the long race down to Grant.
The climb back up Red Hill Pass (identical shot of 2009). Look carefully for the climb from right to left–a little ribbon in the pic.
Day 2: Fairplay to Trout Creek (Route 285 and 24 intersection)
No mountain passes today. Just surrounded by mountains as I went down 285 to the Rt 24 intersection. Would have liked to make it to Buena Vista, but not enough time and it was tougher (more up and into the wind) on the way back. 22.1 mph average down, 16.3 back. Funny thing about biking in CO, even on flat rides, you get to climb some. Altitude gain: 1,165 ft.
Some video from turnaround point:
Day 3: Fairplay to Breckenridge (and back), Hoosier Pass twice!
Day 5 of the Pro Cycling Tour this month will start in Breck, climb Hoosier Pass, and fly nearby the road to my aunt’s cabin outside Fairplay. So today, I biked up the Pass, down to Breck, turned around and did the climb again from the opposite side and flew into Fairplay (much slower than the Pro’s will). Hoosier Pass Summit is at 11,539 ft. Fairplay and Breck are at 9,950 or so. Fun day in the saddle. Altitude gain: 3,333 ft.
Video at summit:
Day 4: A quick ride up Hoosier Pass
Has a rest day between Day 3 and 4 rides (but we went white water rafting on the Arkansas and hiking around Kite Lake–in the shadow of four 14ers–we climbed to 12,300 and returned).
Only time for a short one today. And the last one in CO. So I visited Hoosier Pass again. On the way out and back, you pass through a funny little town called Alma. Check out its boast in the picture below.
Total elevation gain: 1,558 ft.
The Triple Bypass is a tough endurance ride in CO put on annually by the Evergreen Cycling Club. About 3,500 ride it. With this as the major 2012 goal, I put a lot of training in during the year.
All the training paid off. I like to think I slayed this beast, although it was not without its challenges, of course. With an open start, there was no urgency to get to start line, so we started behind most of the 3,500 riders. And then, we tackled three mountain passes.
Juniper Pass: Although we had six to start (four finished), only Don rode with me up the pass. Probably the most beautiful and sunny. It’s the steepest climb (7,500 ft to 11,140 ft alt. in 15 miles). Passed several towards the top, wicked fast decent (lost Don who dropped a water bottle). I’m a pansy on these decents, but maxed at 49.3 mph (not sure I believe computer, I stayed in 30’s most of the time).
Loveland Pass: It’s a long approach. From Idaho Springs (7,500 alt.) to top of Loveland (11,990 ft) is 30 miles, most of the hard work is last 4 miles. Passed countless people. When I got to bottom of this one (in Keystone), it started to rain and I threw on rain jacket just in time (so lucky to have decended right before).
Went over Swan Mountain (little one) and took off jacket at Aid Station and got food.
Vail Pass: another more gradual approach (alt of 9,000 to 10,560 ft over 14 miles). Started to rain again on path to Copper Mountain–put on jacket again. At top of pass, I took off jacket at Aid Station.
Awesome, long downward approach to Avon. 5 miles out, it starting raining–I was too lazy to put on jacket hoping it would stop. Got drenched. Oh well. With all the wet pavement and at times heavy rain, I was just happy to arrived safely to finish.
So 95% solo, no drafting. Just a beautiful ride, albeit very wet. Adjusted well to altitude too, luckily. Pretty happy with the overall performance–could have gone longer.
Day 3: June 27th
Today was a great roller-coaster ride and a great finish to the Tour de Summit County. We rode back to Frisco/Copper and climbed up Vail Pass (from an altitude of 8,700 to 10,100-ish). For an encore, we sailed back to Frisco and went west and up (into the wind) to Breckenridge. Again, beautiful Colorado weather. It was a long day with 80 miles of riding with 3,800 ft of climbing (mostly in the big climbs). My hat (or helmet) is off to the strong riders who come annually to do the Triple Bypass Ride–they climb the Vail Pass, Loveland Pass and one other the same day!
For dinner, Megan and the boys made strip steak tacos. So good. I think my caloric burn and intake balanced out on this trip.
I imagine I didn’t fully acclimate to the altitude since that can take days to weeks, but I did not have altitude sickness. For that I’m grateful. I was able to do my share of pulling the group and have a safe trip. Can wait to do it again someday.
Kurt cooling off, Kurt and Brett goofing off, and Don and I just happy to be in Breck:
Day 2: June 26th
Today was the tale of two rides. One up and one mainly down. Just a quarter-mile from the house, we launched into an “epic climb” of 2,800 feet in just eight miles to the top of Loveland Pass (from an altitude of 9,100 ft to 11,900 ft). One of the highlights of the climb was passing Araphoe Basin and seeing people SKI down the mountainside. We worked up a sweat going up, but needed to put on jackets at the top for the screaming decent down.
There was beautiful scenery in the El Derado Canyon with fast moving rivers (we passed a serious rafting accident where the road was closed as rescuers lifted out injured rafters). There was long stretch of a brand new bike trail (see pic)–so awesome. We saw amazing landscape and enjoyed a downhill decent for miles and miles through Georgetown (neat little train loop outside of town) and Idaho Springs. After the Pass it was downhill for 50 miles (21.5 mph average).
In the last section of the ride, we went through six tunnels and fortunately Megan drove the SAG vehicle today and got behind us at every tunnel with blinkers on to keep cars away from us. We were hauling the last 10 or so miles averaging 25 mph cutting through the wind. I pulled our train to enjoy the view from the front. Megan got us lunch at Subway and we ate in the park in Golden near the river. Nice little town (and home of Coors–you can smell the hops all over town). We ate dinner in town at Grappa. Great risotto!
Day 1: June 25th
Great day in Keystone, CO. Don and I drove up last night to Kurt and Brett’s house. Brett’s sons Kale and Blake and Kurt’s wife, Megan, and son, Westin are here, too.
We started the day with something different than the planned cycling: Don brought mountain-climbing equipment and we all took a shot at a steep two-story cliff (negative angle). Very tough. I got a little ways up, but only Weston could scale it. We hiked on back (nice view of the house and Buffalo Mountains).
Our ride today took us from Keystone to Dillon/Frisco to Copper Mountain. Quite a bit of climbing (almost 2,000 ft in 44 miles). A few little sprints for Kurt and I to “open it up” to 31 mph in the flats. We had lunch at Copper Mountain (so cool to see these ski resorts in the “summer mode.” There was a festival going on and a “Tomato Battle.” Literally hundreds of crazy people were dressed in bathing suits or combat gear and goggles and throwing tomatoes at each other in a fenced in area the size of a football field.
When we returned, I was “strongly encouraged” to finish my day by biking up to Montazuma. Brett got me pointed in the right direction and up I went. About 5 miles up at 5% grade. Over 700 feet of climbing where the second half was steeper than the first.
So I am tired! Good day. Good company. Good weather. Perfect day. Dinner at Dam Brewery in Dillon!
Two words: Mission accomplished. Today we casually rode from Summerville through downtown and the historic district of Charleston, over the Cooper River Bridge, stopped at Poe’s Tavern for lunch, and finished at the Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms where we all dipped our front wheel into the Atlantic Ocean. My wife, two daughters, mom-in-law, bro-in-law, and two nieces were there to greet us.
No simple words can describe the day…let the videos do the talking. My reflections of the trip and how it changed my views of life are in the Recap in Day 39.
(Click links if the embedded video doesn’t show up–troublesome YouTube).
Pics from the Beach!:
By the numbers: 36.5 miles, 2:36:37, 14.0 mph, 400 ft of climbing
Totals for entire trip: 3,283.7 miles, 121,238 feet of climbing (although Bill had 131,000 feet on his computer), 186 hours on the saddle over 36 riding days (with 4 rest days).
And over $7,170 raised for Livestrong! Thanks to all the contributors!
AM Update: One more day of big riding, then a celebratory ride of 30-some miles to the beach. While I’m out riding today, share with me your vote for your favorite Update. I’ve listed some the most popular ones to help, but feel free to suggest your own if not listed. Let me know your fav, by selecting the Comment button at the bottom of this Update and type it in.
Day 5: Happy Birthday Lindsay from the Mojave
Day 7: “Exhausted Jeff, Take 1”
Day 9/10: Grand Canyon
Day 20: Video Guest: Eric Mason
Day 22: Dave’s Big Day (Reliving his 2009 crash)
Day 24: Game Show
Day 26: “Music Video”
Day 28: Sock Puppets Explain Rollers
Day 29: Video Guests: Dana and Brit (the day before Dana crashed)
Day 30: Crossing the Mississippi
Day 34: Tara and Marquette Roast Jeff
Day 35: “Exhausted Jeff, Take 2”
Day 36: The Right Stuff Commercial
Day 38: Video Guest: Karl
Is tomorrow really the last day? Unbelievable. Today was the perfect ride. A good pace. Some good reflections on fun we’ve had. And our streak of no rain continues. It actually rained at the hotel a little bit after we left and it never caught us. Unbelievable.
It is amazing to think that I’ve covered every inch of the route (and even several other inches where we blazed past a turn, about every other day or so). When you do it one day at a time, it almost feels like you are going in circles or going in random directions. About halfway through, I finally found a map (thanks Best Western). I looked at where we had been so far and couldn’t believe we had covered all those miles. I think today’s recap covers my feelings about all this. Thanks again for all your support.
By the numbers: 111.8 miles, 5:56:18, 18.8 mph avg., 1,119 feet of climbing; Totals so far: 3,247.2 miles and 120,838 feet
Last stop: Charleston SC, 32.1 miles away. The beach and family awaits!
Video recap and final thoughts:
Urgent, early morning Video Update:
Well, Day 38 is in the books as they say. A fairly non-eventful ride. Beautiful, tall pine trees in the Sumpter National Forest. A little bit of climbing. And some tired legs. Yesterday’s hard push in the afternoon probably contributed–and perhaps a few evening beverages. After lunch, I got a lesson in being dropped. Bill and I had to give it all we had (and then some) to catch Joseph (who was tired at the start, but found his legs) and Austin. Cycling is funny (especially in a tour like this) when it is half, hard-core cycling, and half, social riding. Sometimes, you don’t know what is going to happen that day–actually, most days you don’t know. We figure it out as we go. It’s a little complicated, but bottom line is, we have managed to pull off an unique experience in that the three of us and often Bill have ridden together everyday, one way or another. Actually, Austin and I have ridden just about every mile together so far. I have fond memories of all the riders, but riding with these guys has been one of the best experiences in my “cycling career.” I can’t imagine what it would have been like without them.
Pics: Pics from Bill followed by a pic of our fun Trek Travel guides/mechanic/chefs/shrinks/etc: Dave, Marquette, Tara, and Karl. (Karl loves the girly-drinks–and the ladies who serve them.)
By the numbers: 103 miles, 5:42:52 riding time, 3,780 feet of climbing, 18.0 mph average; Totals so far: 3,135.4 miles and 119,719 feet of climbing.
Next stop: Summerville SC, 108.5 miles away
Today rocked. Period. I guess you want a little more detail, eh? Austin and I were fortunate to have three guides this morning to re-route us through Asheville: Bill (who has a second home here), Joseph (who does, too), and Gary (Bill’s friend and the city manager of Asheville). Instead of taking the Trek Travel route out of Asheville, we went up, up, up and then out of Asheville. Right from the hotel parking lot (so much for a warm-up–a common theme). We climbed from an altitude of 1,959 ft to 3,179 feet in 7.8 miles. Not super tough, but there were spots of 15% grade. Of course, the descent was fun.
Later, an awesome descent awaited us. Dropping from 2,621 feet to 820 feet in 10 miles. Ten wonderful miles of 25 to 35+ mph descent in gentle curves. And I finally let go of the brake levers. In other words, I’m finally comfortable making the turns at high speed. Only took 37 days, eh? It was cool. No lectures, sister Dana. All good–all in control.
Plus, the scenery was spectacular. Rivers and the famous Chimney Rock. Quaint little towns. All this BEFORE lunch. After lunch, we got down to business. Austin had important conference call scheduled with a certain CEO of a certain huge, retail chain. He had to be in the hotel by 2:00. We left lunch at 12:00 with about 30 miles to go. With again no warm up, Joseph and I took turns pulling at got Austin to the hotel by 1:30. We were cooking (20 mph average–often 23-25 mph–with some hills involved and a quick pic at the state line). Great effort with a great result.
And lastly, we crossed the last state line and 3,000 miles at almost the same time. We must be almost there, right?
By the numbers: 84.2 miles, 4:44:02 riding time, 17.8 mph average, 4,820 feet of climbing; Totals so far: 3,032 miles and 115,939 feet of climbing.
Next stop: Columbia SC, 99.8 miles away