Nothing kicks off a bike tour like a 150-mile day that includes a front-loaded first half climb fest, including the ever-daunting Trail Ridge Road.
Last year Felkerino and I climbed Trail Ridge while I howled like a kitten that climbed too high into a tree and needed rescue.
I hated that feeling and vowed that today I would climb with dignity. Overall, I give myself a pretty good score for the day, but I still have room for improvement.
After spending the last week fretting about this first day of our Colorado bike tour, today was largely worry free. I knew we would eventually reach Kremmling.
We started our ride with a steady climb up Left Hand Canyon outside of Boulder and spent some miles clawing our way on Peak to Peak Highway over to Estes Park for the grand ascent of the day up Trail Ridge.
I faced my inner fraidy cat and told it to scram. Mostly, it did, although six miles from the top I lost patience, emitting a pretty vocal “I hate this” from the stoker zone. Sorry Felkerino. I cannot tell lies over 12,000 feet. I also cannot ride without a crooked helmet, apparently. So not completely the ride with dignity I hoped for.
Despite good conditions today, Trail Ridge has a cold heart and just keeps sidling you along the ridge line until you start thinking you might never get there. It can be maddening.
You see tourists stopping to take photos and you want to shout that they’re cheating. Driving up the climb is cheating! That is, until they offer encouragement or say they’re happy to take your picture. Then they’re awesome.
Finally the tip top arrives– finally– and it’s plentiful downhill for the last 60 miles of the day.
The ride to Kremmling through Byers Canyon is particularly beautiful in the early evening sun.
Can’t wait to shower and sleep.