Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cheer and Camaraderie on the Cripple Creek 300k!

The third edition of Vernon Smith's Cripple Creek - Pine Junction 300k may have been the most felicitous yet.  Great temps, fine sunny weather, reasonable traffic, and good companionship made for a great ride!
I'll let Vernon take it from here ...
The Colorado Springs 300km Brevet goes downhill for 16,800 feet!
A Colorado 300km brevet with 16,800 feet of downhill! Sounds easy until you realize it also has 16,800 feet of climbing. That’s why we start this 300km brevet at 4:00 AM. It simply takes a little longer. If you want a fast 300km time then this isn’t the brevet for you. If however you crave lots of climbing and outstanding Colorado scenery, then this is for you.

Catherine, Paul and I stuck together for most of the 300km and always left the controls at the same time. We finished together at 8:01 PM for a 16:01 (hrs:min) time after taking a bit longer detour through Garden of the Gods Park at a magical time of the evening.

The weather was just about perfect. Knee warmers, arm warmers and vest to the top of Ute Pass (9,165 feet) worked well for me. Then add gloves for the typically very cold Twin Rocks Road/CR 1 section to Cripple Creek. Then might as well keep them on for the descent from top of the Cripple Creek hill (over 10,000 feet) to Divide. Then you can shed some clothes for the section down to Deckers (5,600 feet) and then the two significant climbs out of Deckers to Pine Junction. More climbs and descents back to Deckers and Woodland Park.

As Vernon says, the chilly temps are front-loaded on this route, continuing through Cripple Creek, as you keep climbing higher and higher to escape any balmy air. 
But as things finally warm up, the climbing continues.  Here are Vernon and Paul on that second leg - out to Pine Junction, with Pikes Peak looming as it does for so much of this route.

Catherine and Vernon seem happy with the West Creek and Deckers climbs to look forward to ...

Vernon closes with these thoughts ...
We left Woodland Park (8,200 feet) around 6:30 PM so I put jacket, vest, gloves and skull cap on to stay warm until the lowlands of Colorado Springs (6,400 feet).
I know more riders could complete the brevet if they were willing to drive from Denver and spend a longer than usual time in the saddle for a 300km brevet. But on a day like we had, it is well worth it.
I pre-rode Vernon's CC 300k last spring and heartily agree!  There is some work involved, but it is an enthralling ride.  Something for your list next season?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a Ride! The Jamestown-Raymond 400k/600k!

Remember how May started off?

Yes, a winter wonderland, carrying over April's pattern!
By the time of the mid-month "early bird" 400k/600k, the snow had given way to lush green. 
This course makes it easy to stay together for the first 100k to the Greenbriar, and after that, if you work at it.
Here are John Flanigan, Greg Courtney, and Todd LeBlanc in their 1200k jerseys.  Greg has completed the Last Chance as well, but didn't get the word that LC was today's theme.  (Nor did I, donning a Colorado High Country 1200 vest instead.)

Plenty of entertainment to note at the Jamestown Mercantile.

Less snow near Raymond than a week ago on the 300k, but still a few snow mounds left!
(Green De Rosa provides scale.)

And what better bonus  than to meet a pair of randonneurs at the Raymond Store on their own randonnée. 
Steve Le Goff and Michelle Grainger provided bright vests and bright smiles in the middle of Michelle's "Everybody Loves Raymond" 100km Permanent Populaire.

Spring runoff is just starting, just as the first leaves peek out on the trees.

This "early bird" date was added mainly for folks wanting to train or qualify for earlier-season 1200k's (Shenandoah, Gold Rush Randonnée, Colorado High Country ...), but it has become popular also for randonneurs wanting to get a jump on training, and those who might prefer crisp temps to toastier ones.
The approach to Louisville at the end of the first loop and (here) the second showcased a cloud- and snow-bedecked Front Range.

Thanks everyone who rode, and now you're set up nicely for the June events!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is May Here Yet?

Glen Haven Gallivant 201km Permanent

Another Monday in April, another barrage of snow!  This is now the snowiest April on record.  Here on Tuesday, a wintry but scintillating scene, and only down to 20º, not like the record 10º low the week before.  A fine breakfast ride!

By the weekend, conditions were propitious for some training and a foray into nature.  The climb up the Glen Haven Road is just fine, bordered by snowfields.

Green De Rosa enjoys a pause in a snowy spot just short of Glen Haven.  I had a sandwich.
The Glen Haven General Store is of course not open yet, but the proprietor's big red pickup was out front, as he dusted off the cobwebs and assured the ovens were well oiled for their famous cinnamon rolls.

The view into Rocky Mountain National Park from atop the Devil's Gulch switchbacks:

Twin Sisters clothed in snow ...

I often take a shot of Long's and Meeker - usually with a view of the Keyhole.  Here they are, shrouded in cloud:

One plus, though, is that the Peak-to-Peak Highway is pretty quiet!

Descending St. Vrain Canyon, though, the gushing runoff reminds us that spring is near!