Fremont and Loveland Passes: From 58 Miles Per Hour to Carnivorous Flies

Rain falls steadily in Georgetown, Colorado, as I write. It feels lovely to be clean and dry in a hotel room after a sweaty warm day of 71 miles out in the sun.

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After a tasty coffee in Leadville, Felkerino and I warmed up the legs with a steady climb up Fremont Pass, which tops out at 11,300 feet.

It was a gentle climb out of Leadville, where elevation is already over 10,000 feet.

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And the downhill? Holy s@%#! It’s a straight rollout from the initial drop into Frisco and the lack of winds meant Felkerino and I were in for a great descent. The Co-Motion held between 53 and 54 mph before it quickened to 58 miles per hour.

No, that is NOT a typo. 58! The Co-Motion Java felt SO SOLID on the rapid descent. Way to ride, Java. We’re keeping you!

I feel like my tour posts are stuffed with numbers about daily mileage and pass elevation. These kind of heights are novel to me, though, and I still am in awe over all the stuff Felkerino and I have clambered over this week.

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East Coast climbs tend to be shorter and gnarlier. The tough grades of the east are a good strength training ground for riding in Colorado, we discovered this week.

The time to complete a climb out in Colorado has forced a mental shift. A 12-mile pass may take us two hours or more, while descents can rack up mileage in a hurry. Felkerino and I just roll with it all. We’re on vacation. We’ve got nowhere we have to be.

After our descent off of Fremont Pass, we reached Frisco via a cool bike path where Specialized was doing a photo shoot. They did not notice us so we are still undiscovered cycling models.

We ate lunch in Frisco, and ground our way into the midday heat and around some lake through the outskirts of Keystone.

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After Keystone the road abruptly shot straight up, announcing the ascent to Loveland Pass.

What a mean beast, at least in the initial three or four miles. We crept along at just over 5 mph. Our pace was ideal for the horrid biting flies that call Loveland Pass home. They ate so much of me. They’re probably having a canning party right now with all the flesh they got out of me today. I gave them enough sustenance to last a lifetime.

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Gradually the pass leveled out into 6 mph switchbacks and a few miles later we reached the Continental Divide at just under 12,000 feet. Bye bye flies! You’ll never catch me now!

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Felkerino and I spent a few celebratory moments at the Loveland Pass summit. We’ve been so fortunate with weather, our health, and the bike this trip. We’ve enjoyed excellent support and encouragement from our friends. Also, with the exception of the occasional “eggs vs. espresso” debate, we’ve been pretty in sync with one another this trip.

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We descended rapidly off the mountain and onto one of the fastest and most forested bike paths I’ve ever ridden. This was no urban mixed use path. I can’t quite define these cycling-specific paths Colorado has made to keep cyclists off major roads. Cycling byways, maybe?

After 71 miles of riding, two passes, 58 mph max speed, and about one thousand bug bites later, we quietly arrived in Georgetown– little bike riders doing big fun things together.

One more day.

10 responses to “Fremont and Loveland Passes: From 58 Miles Per Hour to Carnivorous Flies

  1. Light enough to go up those climbs, and then solid at 58 mph going down again — sounds like a great bike to me! Also impressive that your positive attitude survived the biting flies. Thanks again for the great photos and prose.

  2. Mary, I love your vacation.

  3. I’m a jealous guy! Amazing trip!

  4. Sounds like you lucked out with the weather. The Rockies are notorious for afternoon thunderstorms. Pedal on. And thanks for the ride.

    • Ha! You spoke too soon, as we were poured on yesterday! Ah well. We got to make use of our rain jackets and it only delayed us a little while.

  5. We crept along at just over 5 mph. Our pace was ideal for the horrid biting flies that call Loveland Pass home.

    April and I, through a careful scientific method,* found out mosquitoes will keep up with you once you drop to 7 miles an hour or lower.

    *Scientific meaning riding up mountain passes and getting bit by mosquitoes. ;-)

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