Wednesday, April 28, 2010

KC Pre-Rides the Stove Prairie 200k!

Kenneth "KC" Heck did the pre-event checkout of our Stove Prairie 200k ... thanks, KC!

With an 8 AM start in late April, you could feel all of the 38 degrees. Heading out and on to the frontage road, I realized that another layer would hopefully stop me from chattering my teeth together. At mile 7.4 I was at the first of two minor navigational challenges. There are no road signs at the junction of Hwy 56(W). If you look to I-25 on your left, you could see the sign for the I-25 traffic. So, heading West on Hwy 56, I came to the last navigation challenge, as I entered Berthoud. Due to some road construction, it is not necessary to make a left on to Old US-287. Just continue straight on Hwy 56, but watch for large potholes, a rough road, and a temporary stop sign.

After heading out of Masonville, the first sustained climb of many more, I finally started to warm up. At the top of the climb, at approximately 37 miles or so, is a hiking trail-head. Restrooms and water could be found by using the water pump. Onward to the infamous Level 5 road (definition - really freaking steep). To my pleasure most of the climb has been re-paved, making it much smoother than last year. I wish I could say the same heading up Hwy 14 in Poudre Canyon. The road is getting rougher each year, but the wonderful view of the swollen river more than made up for that fact.

After leaving Poudre Canyon, the real climb awaited. Fresh snow still on the side of the road, did little to cool me as the climb really makes you work up a sweat.

After the long descent of Stove Prairie ...

... checkpoint #4 at Sandy's was a welcome sight. I recommend the freshly made $1.85 hamburger, it really hit the spot. Back on to the bike and a strong wind out of the south got medieval on me while traveling up Rd. 29. Lucky by that time, the burger started to fully kick in. After carefully navigating through the Berthoud construction area, the last long climb up Rd 1, also called County Line Road, lay in front of me. At the top, a rewarding view of the whole Front Range, lay before me. I was able to see all the way down to Colorado Springs and view Pikes Peak. After a quick ride through Mead the ride came to a finish. Nine hours and forty five minutes of Colorado riding bliss.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Drake Doubleback 200k Brevet Yet!

With 52 riders showing up for the inaugural Drake Doubleback 200km brevet on April 17 - despite glowering overcast and incipient fog - clearly folks knew a good ride when they saw it! Most if not all the course is group friendly - lightly rolling for the most part. Riders could stay together and enjoy each others' company:

Catherine Shenk photo

The only real climb is the shallow one up Big Thompson Canyon. Today as usual riders got an upcanyon tailwind to push them uphill (and slow their descent), making them feel especially jaunty for this group photo at the Drake turnaround:

CS Photo

After Big Thompson, it was a fast trek plains-ward, as sprinkles turned into real rain towards the Rando Vortex of Platteville. And yet, for many riders the sun broke through on the final stretch, at least justifying some folks' sunglass choices. Here is Ted Warm finishing his very first 200k:
... while multi-PBP and multi-Super-Randonneur veteran Brian Rapp looks fairly pleased as well! (That's Michelle Grainger cogitating in the background):

To everyone who showed up for this great ride, thank you for coming, and we hope you enjoyed it! To those longing for even more strenuous climbs, the Stove Prairie 200k on May 1 awaits!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Snow and Tranquillity on the Peak-to-Peak!

Yes, the ski areas boast great snow and big dumps, and we continue to experience our dustings, but it's high time to pedal up to the High Country! The Glen Haven Gallivant 200k seemed like just the right climb for me - great views, lots of brilliant snow, and a quietude soon to disappear even at 9,000 ft. on the Peak-to-Peak Highway:

Each turn brought a new vista into view:

At the Meeker checkpoint, the Meeker Lodge Store was closed up tight as a drum of course, but you could look west across the street to Meeker Peak:

And sauntering four miles further upwards gave you nice angles on its pal, Long's Peak:

All to bid farewell to the Peak-to-Peak and Indian Peak range before plummeting down the Devil's Gulch switchbacks:

... and receive the all-too-expected news that we'll have to wait a bit before enjoying the succulent cinnamon rolls at the Glen Haven General Store ...

A contemplative and breathtaking ride (yes, easy to say at 9,000 ft.). Nice enough in fact for fellow rando enthusiast Irene Takahashi to essay the next day:
The message is clear: strap on those climbing legs and start enjoying the serene high country during this blissful period!

Friday, April 2, 2010

How is the Flèche Shaping Up?

Flèche teams are starting to come together! Teams need to send in their applications by April 15, for the May 7-10 event. Here's how things look right now:

  • Painted Turtle/Gnu-Matic (Tim Dodge, captain) - "I'd like to ride with people who plan on 6-8 off-bike hours -- 8 would be ideal! With a riding distance of roughly 380km, estimating the minimum 360km plus 20 bonus kilometers, I would be comfortable with an average riding speed of 21-24 kph or 13-15 mph. (Of course plans change with weather, mechanicals, etc.)"
  • Escargot (Bob Barday, captain) - "Team Escargot would make a big loop out of Superior, just like Team Prairie Dog, but head south instead of north. I will supply more details if it looks like the addition of such a team is necessary to accommodate myself and 2 to 4 other slow riders."
  • Deer with Headlights (Catherine Shenk, captain) - "Since this is a team event, I am going to ask that we ride together as much as possible."

RIDERS in the Market for Teams

The teams have some members already. If you are interested in a particular team, contact its captain. If you would like to be added to the aspiring riders list, let me know.