Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Poudre Canyon DC

On June 24 - with the promise of great, summery weather, and a solstice-length day - I headed out on essentially our Poudre Canyon (Rustic) 400k brevet route. It would be a good stretch of the legs, and a way to reconnect with longer brevet distances!

Poudre Canyon past Mishawaka

A giant burger the night before on a jalapeño - cheese bun provided nutritional inspiration.

3:57 and a mild start from the Dale Estate, swinging by the brevet start in Louisville. Temps in the mid to upper 50's under clear skies. Pretty much perfect.

Pre-dawn light descending 95th St.

Dawn on 75th St. 

A sunny morning on Glade Road to Masonville

Quiet on Horsetooth ... both on the water and on the roads!

Stopping at Ted's Place rather than Vern's because it seems that their convenience store has been closed during the virus.

A warm, tailwind climb up a quiet Poudre Canyon. The rafting companies have plenty of business, but it's not as frenetic as on the weekends.

Here is that shot again, of Poudre Canyon beyond Mishiwaka and before Stove Prairie Road.

Around the bend, flaggers were pausing traffic for scaling work at the rock tunnel. After waiting a few minutes, I asked the flagperson about wait time. He said he couldn't tell - could be five minutes , fifteen, etc.  Some of the notations on the rockface indicated possible explosive work in its future.

Doubling that potential wait time - because of the return trip from Rustic - persuaded me to turn back ... even though the stretch to Rustic was the high point (literally and scenically) for the trip. Call me the impatient rando. :-)

This turned out to be a mile or two less of Poudre Canyon than on the Stove Prairie 200k from April. Oh, well. 

I did explore the exciting new reconstructed stretch of Owl Canyon Road with smooth asphalt and full shoulder (an improvement over no shoulder). 

And the exciting snake warnings at the Rawhide Plant, a reminder from the winter Rawhide Ramble 200k brevet, when the snakes would probably have been in torpor.

This sign was also a reminder of a similar snake warning on the lovely Rillito River Park Path in Tucson, a venue we have had to forego this spring and summer because of the virus.

Rillito River Park Path - Mountain Ave. bridge - at dawn
Catalina Mountains in the background
Can you imagine an ice warning here?
But it's actually possible.

Actual water in the Rillito River

Back in Northern Colorado ...

Services and precautions at the Kum & Go in Wellington were very good. Widespread mask usage, and the pizza slices were fully enclosed and wrapped up tight. Also, to fill your water bottle, they gave you your own large plastic cup to get water from the vending machine - no direct contact with your suspect water containers. Nicely done.

I am not sure I have ever pedaled so slowly downhill on the I-25 frontage road, as SW winds kicked up - desiccating winds, I might add.

I always love the quiet stretch of Weld County Road 23 heading down to Severance, after getting off busy Hwy. 14 (albeit with nice concrete shoulder).

Here is a picture of the wetlands along CR 23, where I stopped to photograph a yellow-headed blackbird. It's one of my favorite birds, and reliably found right here during migration. By the time I had coaxed my phone camera into action, however, the yellow-headed blackbird had (predictably) departed.

Wetlands north of Severance

In Severance, already out of water, I stopped at the store, where the clerk was extremely polite and helpful, really a welcoming store and friendly small town.

Climbing past Milliken, virga had started to form above the foothills. That was ok, because the weather people had predicted that storms would stay in the mountains.

Rd. 19 outside of Milliken

Showers began moving down the foothills. Good thing the forecast was for dry on the plains!

After a few glancing blows, however, one shower hit head on, with gusty winds and drenching precip.

Rd. 20 at I-25

Well, in the end not 400k but a good double, 203 miles, and a fine use of the day!

Bike shoes drying in the sun
the next morning.

Hope you're able to stretch your legs, too.



  1. I almost always appreciate your mostly photo essays, but I enjoyed this one more than most -- I don't know why.

    However, and don't take this as meaning more than intended (which is nothing mean), when I see all those photos taken during a long(er) ride, and you still start + ride + finish almost entirely in daylight, I so usually think: "damn fast-bastard."

    (I've never done even a 300k completely in daylight, and in recent years, during the winter months, even when doing just a 200k, I've usually had some riding after sunset and civil twilight without stopping for photos. Probably too much time jawing when should be eating lunch / too much wasting time at other controls jawing. That last sentence reinforced by experience from last year on Alan Johnson's 200 brevet -- I only avg'd ~ 13.3-mph in-motion, but I finished in approx 10h20 -- and would have come much closer to 10h-flat IF I hadn't decided to take an extra 15 or 20 minutes at the turn-around to chat with the volunteer whom I had not seen in a couple years. 2019 Raleigh Region 200)

    Better stop typing as this is getting long-winded.


  2. I suspect that a greater riding performance for those living Colorado is directly related to living at altitude and developing a larger lung capacity. Those of us who live at sea level have puny lungs in comparison. :-)

    1. More like John Lee weighs about 50 pounds less than I do. There are many NC randos that can climb with "jle" -- just not me (and others, too.)

      Also, I confident that "jle" knows that I'm "just having him on."