There’s a network of roads that make a N to S corridor, just West of the plains of Denver/Boulder and just inside the mountains of the Front Range. The cycling on these roads is, for the most part, spectacular. Most of my more, “serious” rides are rides into this corridor, until bailing at some convenient spot – the convenience is this: since the road network mirrors most of the major metropolitan areas of the Front Range, getting out of the mountains also means being pretty close to home. If not home, a bus station.
Ever so slowly, I’ve been trying to expand how long I’m on this corridor, until I, well, run out of road!
I wanted to do a Really Big Ride – say 200 miles and I wanted to do the ride with tons of climbing, since I’m a masochist – and on the CrossCheck, set up as a fixed gear, since… I’m a masochist. It’s strange to say, but I’ve never ridden 200 miles in a day before, on or off a fixed gear, through mountain roads or on the plains, in all my touring and racing adventures. The number seems to be a psychological road block though, even though I could probably touch a ~5 hour 100 miles on a flat route. But 200 miles? Not sure. But thought I’d try. As I wrote: tons of opportunities to bail out and get home.
Lowered the gear ratio further down on the dingle cog setup to 42/17 (~2.46:1) and a 38:21 (1.8:1). I’m becoming the master at dingle riding: the higher ratio is strictly for riding on flat areas, the lower for mountains. I changed the gearing twice on the trip – once when I started going up and the other time, when I finished coming down. That’s the way to do it.
A key to the early morning start for late risers, such as myself, is to get everything ready the night before – so when you’re fumbling around in a half-awake state in the early morn, you just basically have to dress, make coffee, drink the coffee, wish there was more coffee, stop making excuses for no more coffee and go.
Made it to Boulder in almost 2 hours. Found that to be a good time. Made it to Estes Park by 10:30 am and before 11:00am is early enough for a cappuccino, which I had. The barista asked where I had ridden from and I was embarrassed to say, “Denver”. At mile 108, I was in Nederland and somehow it was around 2:00pm, I want to say. A bit undulating between the two towns, even though they’re only around 30 miles apart. Nederland was also the time when I rethought this whole idea with a, “What was I thinking?” internal dialogue. Even bailing at this point, meant 40+ miles to ride home (or 18 miles of pure downhill, to the Boulder bus station, which I didn’t remember). Just something insane like that, but I kept pressing on, knowing if I just got to the Golden Gate Canyon Road, it’s the end of another long uphill and a sweet, sweet downhill to,
Central City. Bikes are not allowed to be ridden in Central City and I usually exercise my right of Civil Disobedience in obediently breaking this law, but hell if I wasn’t hunkered so much I couldn’t really ride up the damn hill in and then, out of town, so I had to walk the bike through it anyways. I usually am not out of breath *walking* up anything. I had to take several breaks to catch my breath. I had serious hit a limit. All I could wish now was some sort of second wind.
The night fell just outside of Evergreen, where I found some sort of second wind in a bottle of cola, deciding not to bail out here, either and press on South into Kerr Gultch Road and Meyers Gultch Road, hoping for sleepy country roads with minimum traffic, until I could reach Tiny Town and Deer Creek Road that will lead me deliciously down back into the plains.
The roads weren’t as quiet as I hoped. There’s bloody towns on them! I had no idea… Not the safest riding, but down I got. At that point, finally, finally! I decided that it was time to pack it up and head home via the Platte River trail and home. The route,
Even this crazy route can be expanded upon. Instead of taking Kerr Gultch Road, one could take the Evergreen Parkway Southwest, until you reached HW285 and then take High Grade back down into Deer Creek Canyon. And then, you’re done. Unless, you stuck on HW 285 West and took a serious of country roads all the way to Woodland Park – and those country roads are dirt. And then, you’re done. Unless, you wanted to take HW 67 South, along the backside of Pikes Peak and then – well, you’re on your own, I have no idea what’s out there.