Friday, March 11, 2016

KC's Carter Lake Pre-Ride

KC Heck pre-rode the Carter Lake Populaire on March 8 - here's his report!

The day started off with a weather report. 29 degrees and snow in the foothills. So… Carter Lake in the foothills? Maybe yes, maybe no; we will find out. Driving to the start, the traffic report was not good; rollover on I-25 and the North West Parkway. I had to pass through this for the start in Mead. So an alt route was in order. As it turned out, the rollover was cleared up by the time I passed through the area.

Once at the start location, the decision of what to wear and what not to wear rattled around my mind. Current temp, was 39, and breezy, but not horribly so. I decided on a thinsulate base layer and a light windbreaker, hoping it wouldn’t snow.

A few moments after starting off, the breeze wasn’t too bad as I started to get warmed up on the Frontage Road. As I climbed and descended the slight rolling landscape, getting into a good rhythm, I glanced west towards Carter Lake. The sky was filled with dark ominous clouds which hung over the foothills. Welcome to the first spring Populaire I thought.

Looking west on CR-56 towards Carter Lake

Approaching CR-56, a giant sign on the side of I-25 indicated the Berthoud exit was a mile away. Heed this sign as there are about ten signs at the intersection of CR-56, except any signs indicating that this is CR-56. Go figure. I turned west into a moderate headwind. The clouds now directly ahead, seemed to get darker and darker as I slowly got closer to them.

As I passed through Berthoud, I made a quick stop at the new Grace Café, for a top off of some water bottles, and a quick unloading of some extra water (AKA potty break). A well hydrated cyclist is a happy cyclist. Besides, most if not all of the services at Carter Lake, will probably be closed.

Closer to Carter Lake

West of Berthoud

Approach to Carter Lake

 Turning west on to CR 8E, Carter Lake loomed directly in front of me. Luckily the slight canyon I found myself passing through disrupted all the wind. It was smooth going, except for the fact that I was now climbing. I passed the park kiosk, and knew the anticipated switchback were now under my spinning legs. This was about the same time that I heard some creaking. Was it coming from my bike or me?  My heavy breathing hid the emanation, but after some hard listening, I realized it was my bike. For a 200 pound lightweight like me, sometimes it’s hard to tell. The reward for the switchbacks was an icy cold wind blowing off the lake.

The View

 The red sand beach was deserted, as was the Marina Store, Checkpoint # 2. Deserted that was except for the snow that started to fall. Maybe Carter Lake is in the foothills. While filling out the CP question, even though it only took a minute, the cold crept into my bones. I got quickly back in the saddle, climbed a small hump and prepared for a fast (very fast) descent. If it wasn’t for a breeze blowing up the descent, I wouldn’t have maxed out at 53 Mph.  The snow didn’t last. It had already stopped a mile down the road.

The snow behind
Now with a tailwind I made great time to CP # 3. Next stop, Sandy’s for a re-fill.

After getting fueled up I was and ready to hit the road again. As I passed through the middle of the Mariana Butte Golf Course, on Rossum Rd., not a single golfer could be seen. I guess it’s not golfing weather. But the weather was turning for the better. Sunny skies loomed ahead, on CR-14 heading east, passing by the rocket house. On CR-14, I found myself in a good rhythm, passing by various farm type lands. By the time I got onto SR 60, I had a tailwind. The fields of brown and green passed by at around 21 Mph; A nice way to hit the next CP at Johnstown, (probable not named after John our lustrous organizer).
Looking east towards Johnstown

What a nice day

How often do you find a 22 shell casing in front of a 7-11 store? That’s what I found placing my bike against the wood pile stacked out front. I inquired inside about any recent shootings at the store. The cashier said that she hasn’t heard of any. Good I thought as a police officer walked in. I guess just a weird coincidence.

One last hurdle for the day, a climb up CR-13. By now it was sunny and mild and the odor from the baby calf’s didn’t even bother me as I started the climb. Knowing that this was the last strenuous climb, I gave it everything I had. Looking down at my cluster I realized that I was still in third gear. Oh ya!

A nice climb
A few small ups and downs lead me to the start/end of the ride. First ride of the year for the Brevet Series done. I know what you’re thinking all those pictures and not one picture of the name sake ride. Maybe it will entice you to join the ride this Sunday. So get out your spring jacket or snow jacket, you never know.

KC Heck

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