There’s nothing that kicks off a bike tour better than riding the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
Felkerino and I spent yesterday riding our Co-Motion Java tandem on the Trail Ridge 200K, a 134-mile RUSA permanent that starts in Louisville, Colorado, and takes the rider to Estes Park, up Trail Ridge Road, down the mountain, to Grand Lake, Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, through a canyon that has a name I don’t recall Byers Canyon, and over to Kremmling.
We had a good ride, the highlight (and lowlight) for me being Trail Ridge Road which ascends to a height of 12,200 feet.
The road was beautiful, winding us up and up and up, and eventually giving us incredible views to look back at what we had climbed.
However, the intense climbing amid fairly constant car traffic on a road with a tiny shoulder overlooking what seemed like a long long long way down if we fell freaked me out in places. I would call it vertigo, and at times I found myself flung over to the left side of the stoker bars like a cat stuck in a tree clinging to a tree branch while it awaits rescue. So dignified.
We breathlessly made our way to what seemed like an interminable summit and stopped to warm up and drink a pop. While there we received many kind comments from visitors who had seen us on the climb and I can’t tell you how much that meant and helped me feel better about my low moments on this preposterously high road.
Felkerino and I rolled our way down the mountain and glided our bike over gentle rollers to Kremmling in perfect late afternoon long shadow sun, with stories of Trail Ridge Road pouring out. I have never ridden anything like it. Unforgettable, daunting, vertigo-inducing, exhilarating, inspiring. We did it. I can’t believe we did it.