Monday, April 29, 2013

Sun and Snow at the Stove Prairie 200k!

It's the story of our April this year.  Tuesday and it's still a winter wonderland in eastern Boulder County from the latest weekly snow dump.
Narry a trace left by Saturday's Stove Prairie start.  A good turnout with 34 eager riders!

This is in fact the mildest Stove Prairie start in years!

Horsetooth Reservoir was simply shimmering, and made more interesting, too, with gusty winds that had come up. 
Jeremy Schlacter, newly relocated from Fort Worth, land of the Lone Star Randonneurs, makes a strong climb up one of the stiff Horsetooth grades on his first rando foray in Colorado.

Jeremy's great rando bike on display during the stop at Vern's!

Poudre Canyon scenic as always, with the added bonus of the snowfields, unfortunately more visible because of last summer's High Park fire.

A nice, shallow climb as always!

Green has not yet come to Stove Prairie, but only hints of snow.

Plenty piled up at the Stove Prairie junction, though!

From there, riders sailed back down hill on a brisk tailwind to Masonville, and on to the finish.
Brian Rapp and Todd LeBlanc

Brian with Laurie and Mark Stanton. 
Mark completed all three April 200k's.  For Laurie it was her first 200k event ever, after pre-riding this course last weekend.

Jeremy Schlacter and Bob Dean

Henry Snavely ... leaving the frame as he's biking back to Louisville.

Hope everyone had a great time on this brilliant day!
- jle

Thursday, April 25, 2013

JJ with Friends!

Michelle Grainger, Steve Le Goff, John Lien, and JLE head out on the highly popular James Canyon Jaunt 200km Permanent on Saturday, April 20.
Thanks, Michelle, for these great photos!
This was a great example of rando camaraderie, as Steve and Michelle invited new rando John Lien on their favorite 200k perm.  John was fresh from his first-ever 200k, the Drake Doubleback the Saturday before.  They easily persuaded JLE to change his plans from the Glen Haven Gallivant, as snow was already flying on the Peak-to-Peak Highway.
John Lien climbs the silky smooth Niwot/Neva Road heading for the snowy peaks:

We clear the sole dirt segment, the Neva Rd. Shortcut.

Entering Lefthand Canyon ...

... and continuing our climb - the ample sand was manageable.

Michelle contemplates spring in Colorado.

This was a solid foot of snow five days earlier.

JLE climbs the Lower Carter Lake Road, decked out in his Last Chance thermal jersey, in anticipation of a frostier ride on the Peak-to-Peak.

Nice view of the Morrison formation and Devil's Backbone from atop the dam bordering Paradise Valley:

The reservoir remains entirely thawed despite the wintry weather - it's spring after all!

What is John Lien doing in the proximity of the information control at Masonville??

The descent towards Masonville is lyrical and reveals the always-scenic Horsetooth area outcroppings, replete with April snow dusting.

Steve and John prepare for a serious resupply at Sandy's outside Loveland:

The whole gang joins in, to show that casual perm-ride spirit of camaraderie and gustatory indulgence (the two sunglass-clad riders are probably hearing the clocking ticking the loudest):

The homebound segment was a breeze, especially with a NE wind, and the statutory 48 minutes from the Erie control to the finish turned into 40 minutes.

I really enjoyed this ride with friends on the JJ, and especially thank Michelle and Steve for being so welcoming.  This hopefully shows how we share the fun (and occasional grit?) of randonneuring with unsuspecting folks who will learn to love it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Michelle on the Drake Doubleback 200k!

Steve and I had the pleasure of joining the RMCC riders for the Drake Doubleback 200KM Brevet. This event is the start of the Brevet season and it was awesome to see so many riders come, even with the chilly 34 degree temperature. Good thing it was an 8 AM start and not earlier.

Of course, Tammie Nakamura did an excellent job of hosting and signing everyone in. Thanks Tammie.

From Louisville we headed north towards Hwy 34 and Big Thompson Canyon. This is my favorite canyon ride because it's never steep and it has the most incredible views of the river and steep cliff walls. The ride to Drake is about 9 miles and then we turn around and head back down onto the plains out east to Platteville.

There seemed to be several groups of about 4-5 riders nicely spaced apart. I had the great pleasure of riding the majority of the Brevet with Steve Le Goff, Pat Nourse. John Lien (his first Brevet), Kendrew Peacey (his first Brevet) and (PBP veteran) Reynald Bodeux.

The ride to Plateville was wonderful and mixed with tailwinds and slight sidewinds. It never seemed like we had headwinds but, of course, we rode in a pace-line so this always makes the riding seem easier.
Once out of Platteville we again had easy winds and the pace-line moved along smoothly and efficiently heading back to Louisville.

It was a wonderful ride and a wonderful day of meeting new people and seeing places I'd not seen in quite a while-just as a early Spring Brevet should be.

Thanks to everyone who participated!
- Michelle Grainger

Friday, April 5, 2013

Peaceful Valley Promenade - A New Permanent!

Is it too early to ride the brand new Peaceful Valley Promenade 101km Permanent Populaire?  It tried it out on March 30 and had a good time. 
After the previous weekend's big dump, a snowy scene from Flagstaff Road in Boulder - what will this mean for venturing towards the High Country?

It's a bright, sunny, breezy day and shorts weather on the plains, with many cyclists swarming the pavement.  From the Niwot area, though, you can see some action on the Divide ... the direction in which we're heading.

A hint of snowy remnants in lower S. St. Vrain Canyon leaving Lyons.

More snow cover and rushing stream farther up.

And just a burble of water flow under a blanket of snow on Riverside Road past Raymond.

And snow showers above Mt. St. Vrain (I think), with a few wandering flakes flying past yours truly.

A nice turn-around point after some good climbing.

Give it a try!  It's virtually entirely scenic, and downhill almost all of the way back.