I am perpetually amazed at what adventures lay so close to home, taken on by just strapping on some clothes, tools, food and a sleeping bag to a cobbled together bicycle and just going for it. Last weekend saw me ride from Del Norte, along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, with the goal of getting to Breckenridge and from there, taking the I-70 corridor back home to Denver.
This weeks plan was to ride to the Summer Trailhead of Grays/Torreys, hike up both, and ride back, all in one fell swoop. I mean, why not? It’s ~55 miles and 9,000 feet of elevation to the Winter Trailhead, 3 miles of hike-a-biking on the dirt road to the Summer Trailhead and 8 1/4 miles of hiking to both peaks and back – and then that 55 miles back home.
OK, fairly ambitious, I admit – I brought along my sleep kit, just in case.
I certainly don’t like living a life that contains much nostalgia. I’m far more interested in the here and now, or the coming soon, than what’s past. I don’t hold onto many things material. So, it’s always a surprise to me, when nostalgia hits me in the face and I feel an intense emotional response.
One of the magical things about the Tour Divide is the MTBCast call-in service. If you can find a pay phone on the route – which are actually still, “plentiful” in the areas the GDMBR wanders through, you can call a 800 number and leave a message, that will then be posted up by MTBCast for everyone to listen in.
One of the final parts of my entire Tour Divide kit that I got together was my photography equipment. Like the rest of my gear, it had to fit some fairly extreme constraints: not too big, not too heavy and able to survive the trip.
Below is the Tour Divide Race Map! Find my personal page here to see how I’m doing. There are a TON of alternative routes because of snow, but I intend to tramp through as many as I can via snowshoes and pure, unadulterated will.
Four days, 420 miles, 4 continental divide crossings, 9 hours of snowshoeing, two days of minstrel headwinds,
snow showers and over-caffeine-ation.
“Well,” said the shaggy man, “let’s start on, or we won’t get anywhere before night comes.”
“Where do you expect to get to?” asked Dorothy.
“I’m like Button-Bright. I don’t know,” answered the shaggy man, with a laugh. “But I’ve learned from long experience that every road leads somewhere, or there wouldn’t be any road; so it’s likely that if we travel long enough, my dear, we will come to some place or another in the end. What place it will be we can’t even guess at this moment, but we’re sure to find out when we get there.”
“Why, yes,” said Dorothy; “that seems reas’n’ble, Shaggy Man.”
Dorothy Meets Button-Bright, The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum
At around 1:00 am the previous night, I settled on the idea to try the, “Ring the Peak” route around Pike’s Peak. You can learn about the route here and here. I just thought, “Yeah, whatever” and took a few hours snooze and headed out the door from Denver, towards Pikes Peak, via the Rampart Range Road, a nice 50 mile track of fairly well maintained dirt road, with a nice elevation gain (up to 9,400 feet or so) and relatively little traffic. Time to try out some gear and get another over-nighter in.
Completed my first overnighter of the season! Haven’t camped out since November, where I road from Denver to the trailhead of Pikes Peak (~100 miles), hiked the Class 1 trail (~26 miles) and rode back the same way as I went, all in three days.
The plan for these two days was to ride to Rocky Mountain National Park, camp out overnight and then the next morning, hike up Twin Sisters and ride out the same day.
This weekend is the Paris-Roubaix! One of my all-time favorite one-day races, if not for the fact that it was first raced in 1896 on Sunday, April 19th – or on Easter Sunday – no one really remembers… – and I was born a little over 100 years later on Sunday, April 19th, which was also an Easter Sunday. These types of coincidences should not be taken lightly. So, when I found myself living in Paris, wanting to visit friends in Amsterdam, I thought it best to visit the route used in the race.
Below is what I wrote in November of 2009, after I finished up successfully making it to Amsterdam in 5 days. Certainly not a speed run, but the route from Paris to Roubaix, by first cycling fairly straightforward to Compiègne and then following the route eats up almost 400 km itself. Then there’s the simple matter of passing through an entire country in a day and finally traveling the Netherlands to Amsterdam in the final. Totally ruled.