Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Climb to Wind River Pass

On May 22, I decided to climb up to Wind River Pass, chiefly because it was a wonderful, bright, and blue day, perfect for the mountains. Also to ride a newly-reconstructed section of Hwy. 7 for the first time.

After heading up a quiet St. Vrain Canyon, over the also recent resurfaced Hwy. 7 to Allenspark, some stops along the way ...

The Ferncliff Store remains closed as it has been lo these 20 years. I remember good home-baked pastries they offered inside when we first moved here. But a new sign has appeared, advertising a new liquor store next door. So Ferncliff is showing signs of life, in that respect.

Side of the Ferncliff Food & Fuel

Complete with cheerful bread, gas pump, and drink!

At Allenspark, Crystal Springs is open, unlike the spigot in Ward.

As usual, folks were lined up to fill large containers. Normally in spring, Crystal Spring is unavailable for a short time during tests for turbidity, but we're past that now.

Crystal Spring in Allenspark

Across the street, remodeling by the new owners continues of what was the Fawn Brook Inn.

It was a joy to climb past Meeker Park on the new segment. It now has a nice shoulder, and new, smooth pavement has replaced the potholes, rough surface, and glacier-like fissures of the old road (which had gone from bad to worse thanks to the 2013 flood).

This project meant new culverts, clearing and grading, and of course widening the road itself.

New segment of Hwy. 7

Mt. Meeker looking good, plenty of snow left.

Ditto for Longs Peak

Wind River Pass was my turnaround point, at 9,150 ft.

The stretch beyond this, past Lily Lake and through the rock cuts has been resurfaced (great!) but still doesn't have a shoulder. Dynamite might be needed for some of that.

Time for a bite of sandwich and judicious drink, sparing just enough liquid for the descent back to Hygiene.

Wind River Ranch in front of Twin Sisters

And what a smooth, delightful descent!

Two bottles of Gatorade at the Hygiene store (Mtn Ftn) - the only external contact on the entire ride - provided enough rehydration for the home stretch.

Face (homemade) mask now part of the outfit!

The Lyons to Estes-Park to Glen Haven route, of which this is a part, is a components of the Glen Haven Gallivant 200k Permanent, and the St. Vrain Canyon 400k and 600k brevet routes. Now that Hwy. 7 beckons again, we can start running these routes again ... once perms and events are reactivated, that is.

Meanwhile, I hope you will get a chance to enjoy this stretch of road yourself!


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Glen Haven update

On May 6, I headed from home up Big Thompson Canyon to Glen Haven.
My first visit since last season!

Paused briefly at the new rock cut on US-34, which I think they termed the flyover, as it puts the new road above the old one, and above the river.

Post-flood "flyover" rock cut in Big Thompson Canyon

They have taken up the pavement on the old stretch and strewn it with boulders, presumably to deter motorists. But anglers still have good access.

Old road alignment

They have, however, installed this access gate to a property's driveway. You can only get past it by driving (or walking, biking, etc.) around it on the dirt.

Secure gate at start of old road alignment

 A sign of "real" spring on the Colorado Front Range is that the Glen Haven Store - with its beloved cinnamon rolls - will be opening.

Glen Haven still looks like a (very tidy) ghost town compared with pre-flood. The only buildings left are the post office, store, Inn at Glen Haven, and (new) firehouse.

Glen Haven Store - opens May 22!

And a bit further up lies Devil's Gulch, either for a cinnamon roll powered climb or a cinnamon roll anticipatory descent.

Devil's Gulch beckons!

Another reminder of how lucky we are to have these areas so close at hand, in this case, from out my front door.

Enjoy your springtime outdoors!


Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Look Back at Riding in May

As May unfolds,
a look back at recent Mays' events
and the fun of riding together!

Colorado Front Range Flèche

Excellent weather, three great teams, and for the all-important brunch, a great venue, the Sweet Spot Cafe at the Coal Creek Golf Course, which Catherine Shenk found for us.

Après Flèche brunch for the three teams (2019)

Après Flèche brunch for les Lanternes Rouges (2018)

Black Forest 300k

One of the chillier Black Forest 300k's ... but no snow dump, as in some years past!

Climbing Spruce Mountain Road
on a chilly Black Forest 300k
- Paul Foley photo (2018) -

A strangely sunny and serene view of Pike's Peak (2017)

Poudre Canyon (Rustic) 300k/400k/600k

This is the "early bird" 400k and 600k, and pretty benign by historical standards, which normally include chilling rain or snow.

Pre-dawn on the Poudre Canyon 400k/600k  (2019)
- Ray Rupel photo -

Up Poudre Canyon ... 2018
- Brett Cook photo -

Heading out on the second day of the 600k (2018)

Poudre Pass
featured on the North Park - Laramie - Cheyenne 600k  (2019)

North Park
featured on the North Park - Laramie - Cheyenne 600k  (2019)

Enjoy these memories of fine riding in Mays past!


Saturday, May 9, 2020

April ... without events

Normally in April we would be together, riding the Horsetooth Hop Populaire, and the On A Lark and Stove Prairie 200k brevets. This April we've had to adapt, as randos and as citizens. Fortunately, we can still get out, and are graced with wonderful places to ride in our backyard.

I hope you've able to get in some restorative and therapeutic miles. At least two fellow randos crossed paths with mine on these jaunts.

Some of my April outings ...

Lefthand Canyon

Approaching milepost 15 in Lefthand Canyon

A nice spot for a pause and a bite.
You can see the Sawmill Road cut delineated by snow.

Nice waterflow down Lefthand Creek ...

... and snowball inscriptions.

Stove Prairie 200k Brevet Route

This ride mostly followed the traditionally spring Stove Prairie 200k brevet route.

Rock outcroppings in Poudre Canyon

Stove Prairie intersection.
With a pile of snow suitably adorning the stop sign.

Snowy view from the county line road
heading in to the finish.

Raymond Lollipop

Historic Raymond Store boarded up and for sale.

High point of the newly-minted Lollipop
on the Peak-to-Peak Highway

Big Thompson Canyon

Road 22H at base of Big Thompson Canyon

St. Vrain - Lefthand Loop

Something like the Lefthand Loopette 100k, but made into a century. 

Above Peaceful Valley

Mt. Toll and the Indian Peaks

A delightful day to be alone, save for the company of the mountains ...
and the occasional wave from other contemplative cyclists.

 Best wishes to you in this challenging time.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Colorado Rando Awardees - 2019 Round-Up!

Here are Colorado randos who've earned RUSA and ACP awards in 2019!

Once again this year, we recognize you, our friends, because you have decided on this or that challenge, and through commitment, persistence, and discomfort, have managed to achieve it!

For most of these awards, you need to apply to be recognized. You don't need to purchase the physical award. What's important is the goal and the accomplishment. For some, the physical award adds a nice momento.

Some are challenges within the current year or a twelve-month period. Others recognize achievement over a number of years.

We congratulate our fellow randos for their persistence in achieving their goals!

You can see our cumulative awardees across the years here:
Super Randonneur · R-12 / P-12 · R-5000 · Others

One-Year Awards
ACP Super Randonneur
American Randonneur  
Multi-Year Awards
ACP Randonneur 5000
Ultra Randonneur
Ultra R-12
American Explorer
other awards not covered here
RUSA Distance Awards
Ultra K-Hound
Ultra P-12

Super Randonneur
Complete brevets of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km in one year.

20 achieved SR in 2019.
Most of these then rode PBP.

ELLIS, John Lee
FEY, Jonathan 
LEDRU, Pascal
LOWE, Mark
RAMOS, Mateo
SMITH, Vernon
TUREK, Michael
WALSH, Bryce
WARREN, Corinne

Complete a 200km or longer RUSA ride in each of 12 consecutive months.
Listed in order of achieving.

Laurel Stanton
Catherine Shenk [11]
John Lee Ellis [13]
Dustin Harding
Bennett Sigmond [2]
Henry Snavely [5]
Len Szmurlo
Paul A Foley [6]
Scott Griffith [2]
Michael Turek [4]

Ultra R-12
Complete ten R-12's (need not be contiguous).

Ride a 100km to 199km RUSA ride in each of twelve consecutive months.

John Lee Ellis [7]
Malcolm Fraser [3]
Paul Foley [2]

ACP Randonneur 5000
Ride 5000km in events including Paris-Brest-Paris, a Flèche, and 200km, 300km 400km, 600km and 1000km brevets within 48 months. (An Audax Club Parisien award, not RUSA.)

John Lee Ellis [4]

And now for RUSA awards that randonneurs can work towards over multiple years ...

American Explorer
Cover at least ten different U.S. states and territories on RUSA rides.
New to the American Explorer award, 
or added states in 2019

John Lee Ellis (26)
Paul Foley (40)
Malcolm Fraser (19)
Vernon Smith (10)

Complete at least one of each type of RUSA event, accumulating at least 5000km over a two-year period.

Paul A Foley [3]

Ultra Randonneur
Complete ten Super Randonneur series over any number of years.

Coast to Coast
Complete four different RUSA 1200km or longer events over any number of years.

Complete 40,000km in RUSA rides - was a lifetime achievement award,
but can now be earned multiple times.

John Lee Ellis [4]

American Randonneur Challenge
Complete two or more RUSA 1200km or longer events in one season.

Courtesy Randonneurs USA

Complete 10,000 km or more in RUSA events in one calendar year. You can also count foreign Grand Randonnées if needed. 

John Lee Ellis
Paul Foley [2]
Vernon Smith [1]

A Final Thought

RUSA has created these awards over time to give you more and more diverse goals to shoot for. Maybe you don't have the personal time to achieve K-Hound mileage, but have the grit to complete an R-12 ride each month for a year in hot and cold, sun and snow.

Set your own goals, and let your imagination and determination be your guides!

You can find details on each of these awards via the RUSA Awards page
including all those who've applied for recognition.

Bonne route!