Saturday, June 15, 2024

Rashid's Colorado High Country pre-ride report

Rashid Khan and Jenn Moore pre-rode the 1000k option of the Colorado High Country on June 11-13.

Day 1

0:00  Louisville Departure
2:15  Platteville
4:35  Carter Lake
6:10  Horsetooth
14:00  Cameron Pass
15:52 Walden Arrival

Sandy’s was out of burritos. And it wasn’t long after that tragedy, while climbing Horsetooth, that the carrier that holds cogs 6 & 7 on my rear cassette failed, taking out those gears and another adjacent. While there was a bike shop 2 miles off the route, my house was only 5, so I hammered home, swapped a new cassette and returned to the route where I left it. I caught the gang at Ted’s, costing myself 40 minutes, but gaining 10 bonus miles.

All that, and Ted’s only had bean and cheese burritos remaining. Bummer. 

We took our time climbing Poudre towards Cameron Pass, trying to keep the heat from getting to us, but it did anyway. Hotel reception, who held our drop bags, would close at 10pm, so the decision was made to send Jenn and I as a forward team to check-in, collect bags, and source food from Corkel’s across the street, which also closed at 10pm. Fortunately things went smoothly, with Vernon and Dustin rolling in just 20 minutes or so behind us. Pizza was baked and sleep was had

Carter Lake

A break in the shade in Powder Canyon

Jenn & Vernon at Cameron Pass

Sunset descending into Walden

Day 2

24:09 Walden Departure
28:43 Saratoga, WY
35:15 Laramie, WY
41:26 Walden Arrival

Departing promptly at 5am, er 5:09am, we waved to the Trans Am racers riding into Walden, their race having started in Oregon 10 days prior.

After a hearty pasta salad we grabbed packaged sandwiches to go and rolled out of Saratoga with a stiff side wind that turned to a welcome tailwind as we headed into Snowy Range. Unfortunately a bodily mechanical would rob us of one of the team, but the wind would continue to carry we remaining three all the way to Laramie.

Of course the route makes a sharp, nearly 180deg turn in “Laradise”, as Jenn would affectionately call it, and we’d work hard taking short pulls all the way to the foot of the climb back into Colorado. With the Woods Landing store closed, we filled bottles from a, perhaps ill advised, tap and pressed on. We pulled into Walden late, well after all had closed, agreeing to catch a bit of extra shut eye tonight.

Rolling out of Walden at dawn

Jenn returning to her homeland

Snowy Range is snowy

Donning reflective gear at sunset

Headed back in Walden

Day 3

48:47 Walden Departure
53:08 Steamboat Springs
55:39 Yampa
59:23 Kremmling
66:11 Walden Arrival

67:03 Walden Departure
68:04 Gould
69:07 Walden

Getting out a bit after we planned we slow pedaled the gentle grade out of Walden headed southwest for Rabbit Ears pass. We paused at the gate to Jenn’s cousins ranch before tackling the fast descent into Steamboat. The well stocked store (with TWO microwaves!) provided the fuel we’d need to get to Yampa, over Gore Pass, and on to Kremmling. 

Having researched ahead, we knew Sulphur Springs wasn’t a food stop we could depend on. Filling ourselves on generous portions of microwave mac & cheese in Kremmling, we took what we could carry and hoped to at least source water and ice cream in Sulphur Springs. We passed yet more Trans AM racers as we left town, including one in a PBP vest.

The Sulphur Springs Mini Merc had decided to close at 2pm. We were on our own for the next 60mi over Willow Creek Pass. We began the climb in the golden hour, the canyon washed with warm evening light, a slight breeze keeping the temperature down. As a light rain began, the breeze stiffened. It seemed the inevitable summer thunderstorm had arrived. But as quickly as it started, it passed, leaving the road damp and a fresh scent in the air. We crested the pass at sunset, donned reflective gear and enjoyed the fast descent on a quiet road all the way back to Walden, uneventfull save for a startled family of foxes yipping in the dark.

Parting ways with Vernon, who would ride back to Louisville to complete his 1200k in the morning, Jenn and I had a snack, knocked out the last 40k of the 1000k and finished up our final Randonneur 10000 award qualification.

Near Rabbit Ears

Descending Gore Pass

Bottom of the climb to Willow Creek Pass

Top of Willow Creek Pass

Carl Gillies & Raphael Bernardo, Trans AM racers arriving in Walden the next morning. 

- Rashid Khan

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