Surprise! Tour Divide! SINGLE SPEED!!!

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Surprise!

About… 10 days? before the start of the 2012 Tour Divide, I decided to look at plane tickets and found one affordable enough to get to Banff, Alberta and give ‘er another go, this time on a Single Speed.

To my complete surprise, I not only finished, but was the first one-speed-wonder over the line from the Grand Départ at 23 days, 5 hours and change.



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Del Norte to Denver or Die

Loveland Pass
Loveland Pass

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.

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Grays/Torreys/Headache

All my bike rides end up on mountain tops

On top of Grays Peak. 

 

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.

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Tour Divide Remnants

Worked Frame

 

 

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.

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Ride, Interrupted to Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans Smugness
Smug on Mt. Evans.

 

Wednesday, I got myself up relatively early, with the goal of riding up Squaw Mountain Pass, to Echo Lake. The ride is a big batch of gentle uphill roads, starting in Golden as you go up HW 40, cross over into Evergreen and take Squaw Pass Road to Echo Lake. This line is comprised of almost 25 miles of uphill road, taking you from ~5,200 feet to 10,600 feet and at the door of the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway – a road that goes all the way up 14,254 foot Mt. Evans.

This road isn’t scheduled to open until May 25th – a full month away, but snowfall this year has been inadequate, and I wanted to check out the conditions and hell, maybe spin up for a few switchbacks, before heading home.

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Tour Divide 2011 Call-ins

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.

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Ice Castle Ride

Hot Doggin
 
 
 
Lucky enough to take another long ride this week – this time to Silverthorne to check out the Ice Castles, before the all melt into a sad little pile of slush. Got out of the house @ 6:00 am for the ride up HW40.


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Daylight Savings Ride

A bit muddy on the road, today

Sunday’s ride proved to be a nice loop ’round the neighborhood, starting in Denver at around 5:50am. Starting with a swift ride to Golden with little traffic and summiting  the top of Lookout Mountain Road to see the sunrise and then, somewhat disappear as the bright start of the day seemed to starve itself into a constant morning gloomy overcast. 

Which isn’t a good sign, especially if you see dark clouds, over high, yet close mountains as I was observing over the James Peak Wilderness at the Genesee exit, 

 

Hmm, those storm clouds look a little foreboding...

If I could magnify the James Peak Wilderness area a little, those clouds would look a little more like this, 

Snow Squall in the James Peak Wilderness

(Or you try this larger version)

Which may give one pause, if they’re riding towards them but for me… eh, what the Hell. 

Gateway to Central City

The snow didn’t truly start falling until about three miles up the Central City Parkway and at that point, well, what’s the point of going back?



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