I got this crazy idea a few weeks ago to ride my bike to Aspen and back from my house. I sat on it a few days, checked my schedule and then just decided to go for it. I put it out on Facebook and got some great responses from people who agreed to join me, and thus an adventure was born! We've had a really wet spring, and with a nice winter snow base I didn't really know what we were going to get into, but as is typical me, I said "Adventure! Let's do it." We made reservations in Aspen, and my friend Jen was sweet enough to open up her vacation home in Vail to us! Troy agreed to come up to Vail Friday night after Annie got out of school and run SAG for Satuday/Sunday and then drive home Monday morning early. That left me without SAG on Friday and Monday, but all the details seemed fairly covered!
On Friday I got a lift over to Jodys house off Ken Carl and we took off. Up through Bear Lake Park, along past Red Rocks and then up the I-70 frontage road to meet up with Jen. Then it was the three of us for the rest of the day.
We had a short 1 mile stint on I-70, down Floyd Hill, along a cute bike path to Idaho Springs, and then were on the frontage road along the highway. I've traveled this route many times and I really like it. From Idaho Springs to the top of Loveland Pass is about 30 miles of straight climbing. That's legit and similar to what I will do the first 30 miles of Norseman.
We had a very lovely headwind the entire way that broke us up. We rode some solo miles but never too far apart. When you hit the Bakerville exit off I70 at that point you hop on the bike path. There is a 7-ish mile BEAUTIFUL bike path that leads to the base of Loveland ski resort. I love this bike path.
We get a few miles down the bike path and theres a little patch of snow. No bigee, we walk on through. Then a little bit later, another patch, we navigate that. Then a bit later a big long patch. Jody is sitting there looking at us with a "what now?" face and of course I'm like "Welcome to the adventure!!" We hike-a-bike through that patch and then keep riding on the other side.
Well, we got wooed.... a few more hike a bike patches later we don't know whether to keep progressing forward, or turn back, rehike through what we already hiked through, and then ride on I-70 for 7 miles? We soldier on. This may not have quite been a team decision. Every 100 yard hike-a-bike section ended to reveal yet another 100 yard hike-a-bike section. On our 20th one of those we were tired!
We took some stop breaks, did a little conscious complaining, and motored on. 2 miles of hike a bike later we dumped out at the bottom of Loveland ski resort and the base of Loveland pass. Oddly there were two cyclists standing there wondering whether they should take our route in reverse, to which I said "I forbid you."
Now, I must say how proud of Jody and Jen I am. This hike-a-biking was not for the faint of heart. We each potholed dozens of times down to our upper thigh or waste in snow, all the while toting a bike along with us. I tend to just put my nose down and motor through adversity like this, and this was a really big test of friendship. I was pretty pleased that nobody lost their marbles, everyone handled themselves like champs, and I feel we are all a bit closer now because of it. You can't take that bonding experience from us!
I lost my toe warmers in the process and all three of us had soaking wet feet, Jody being the worse because he didn't wear socks. We were so happy to be back on our bikes riding and proceeded up Loveland Pass. The top was beautiful and we found Jody hunkered down behind a wall, rubbing his toes trying to bring the life back to them before the long descent. Jen and I were in good spirits, happy to have made it to the top of the pass!
On the way down we stopped at Arapahoe Basin to refill bottles and all three of us decided that new, warm, cozy, fuzzy ski socks from the gift shop were in order. Those socks felt so darn good. I'm still missing one of them, Jen, any ideas?
From A-Basin we descended, quite cold, down to Keystone and into Dillon. We hit up the bike path, knowing it would get us to Frisco, but took a wrong turn and ended up in Silverthorn. Back up the hill, and onto the right path we somehow found our way to Frisco and onto the bike path towards Copper Mountain. Along the way Jody saw two beavers in the beaver pond, Jen and I saw neither, and all of us were getting pretty tired.
At Copper mountain we stopped to get junk food. I can't really put it any other way. Chips, soda, crap, more crap, oh it all tasted so good. We were debating whether we should wait for Troy and have him take us the rest of the way. In my mind I knew it would be very tight to fit 3 bikes, 3 cyclists, Annie, Troy, and all the bags in the Honda Element. I told the crew I would ride up and over Vail pass. Well then Jen and Jody weren't going to let me do that without them, so everyone started suiting up to ride over Vail Pass. As we were about to step outside the heavens unleashed a torrent of hail. We sat back down and called Troy.
Much maneuvering later we were indeed able to fit 3 bikes, 3 cyclists, Troy, Annie and all the bags in the Honda Element. I love that car! For the day, we totaled 92 miles, and 11,000 feet of climbing! Not too shabby! A warm shower never felt so good! We enjoyed a great night out eating before tucking into bed, ready for the next days adventure!