Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Days Along the Peak to Peak

It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful day for a ride than the one the Peak-to-Peak 300K crew enjoyed this past weekend. Sun without excessive heat, mostly favorable winds and the coolness of a late day thunderstorm that never arrived made the miles of climbing fly by.

(l.-r.) Steve Rudolph, Josh Haskins, Irene Takahashi, Christie Caldwell, Maria Osborne and Anne Tapp await the drop of the flag in Superior. (photos: Stephen Whiteman)

Escorted to the top of Morgul-Bismarck by John Lee Ellis, who, with Catherine Shenk, pre-road the course the week before, our group stayed together through the darkness until we began the false flat that marks the approach to Coal Creek Canyon. A terrific morning for climbing, we saw many more train cars than autos on our way to Wondervu (this would prove to be a continuing theme).

Sunrise reaches the canyon as the road turns upward below Coal Creek.

After the descent, Pinecliffe proved to be the site for the day's Great Leveler: a broken-down train brought the group back together after the hour-plus climb. Almost everyone waited, some for almost an hour, before the engines started grinding, allowing us to pass. Only Leslie Sutton avoided the party, as she was somehow psychically inspired to stop for a latte in Coal Creek.

(l.-r.) Christie, Steve, Maria, Andrea and Anne plot their escape while Josh contemplates questions of locomotive Quality in Pinecliffe.

Climbing to Nederland, we once again broke up into singles and small groups on the way to overall fast times. The views across the Peak to Peak were stunning, the climb up to Devil's Gulch eased by a stiff westerly wind.

Mount Meeker from the South along the Peak to Peak Highway.

A particularly nasty uphill wind greeted riders on their descent through the shaded curves and jagged cliff walls of Big Thompson Canyon. This lead to some concern about what the plains might have on offer, but the wind seemed to follow us around, first to Platteville and then home.

Brian Rapp, Christie Caldwell and Anne Tapp steel themselves for the final leg from Niwot.

Congratulations are in order to all the riders, but especially to Josh Haskins, who completed his first 300K; and to first-time randonneuses Christie Caldwell, Anne Tapp and Maria Osborne, who, at Irene Takahashi's suggestion, used the P2P as final preparation for the LotoJa Classic, a 200 mile race from Logan UT to Jackson, WY. Thank you all for making it a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Impressive and attractive posting. I enjoyed it. I think others will like it ;-)