Sunday, January 7

Winter Ride Report

Simmons requested a ride report so here goes! It was a long day but lots of fun except for maybe the last hour or so. It started early in single digit temperatures. I was dressed warm, had my REI bag packed with waterproofs, water, snacks and enough gear to bivy for a night although that was most certainly not in the plan. GPS had so-so batteries so I packed another set as well. The Pugs was ready to roll for it's 2nd extended journey since I bought it. I was ready to ride!
So was Dave!
Balaclavas rocked the house as did wool base layers for both of us. I was in cycling shoes with neoprene booties and Time pedals. Dave was in snow boots and flat pedals rocking the On-One. We both had VB booties as well but they proved unnecessary.
We cruised out of the neighborhood through nice packed snow and occasional powder to Colorado Hills. Even though it was cold the sun was rising fast and the temperatures were rising just the same. Dave struggled in the choppy snow. The Pugs smooths that stuff out but I didn't do that much better considering I had a crawling gear and Dave was fixed at 32x17. Still we soldiered on up the first hill for a mile or so. At the top it was really slow going and we decided to turn around so as to get onto Boulder and eventually second breakfast. The Pugs rocked the house downhill and an incredulous showshoestress proclaimed that now she had seen everything!
After we left the Hills we continued up to Boulder via Sims and the Wall. Aside from a jackass on the other side of the road giving us the finger for no discernable reason it was a nice cruise. Once we got past Marshall Mesa it was smooth sailing on great snowpacked roads.
Smiles all around and we cruised on watching the stares of the shocked occasional motorist. Another guy proclaimed us "stupid" out the window of his SUV on the other side of the road (at 40mph). He is obviously a genious. It did bring up a nice discussion between Dave and I.
While much of the Front Range is snowed in that doesn't make travel outdoors any less possible. A few more clothes, a bit more reading on winter safety and your choice of snowshoes, skis or even bikes and you can enjoy an amazingly glorious and beautiful day out under your own power. I guess a lot of people are just scared of winter, or just scared all together as Dave suggested. They are really missing out though...
Once in Boulder the path led us right by Neptune Mountaineering. It's a huge mountaineering store that carries a ton of gear, old and new school, but all expensive. I've been trying to get a winter Western Mountaineering sleeping bag for eventually doing a race like the AH135 and for safety in multiday winter adventures with the Pugs or hiking/climbing. However getting something from Western and Neptune that's not in stock can be a bit like pulling teeth so I left my information and I'll see if they follow up. If not I suppose Bent Gate or an online store will take my money. Still we had a nice time browsing the gear overload and the map section.
After Neptune we cruised down to Lucile's for breakfast. I had the Creole omlet like Dave with an amazing homemade biscuit and jam. Sooooo good. It's worth it to ride to Boulder just to eat food like that. Homemade, creative and awesome.
We rode through the rest of town on roads, paths and alleys running a few more errands including popping into Vecchio's, Full Cycle and REI. I picked up a couple canisters for my winter stove, a Snowclaw and went on a mini-map binge which I will blame on Dave. On the way out of town we stopped at the gas station that's becoming a tradition to pickup some more snacks for Dave. Lots more curious onlookers all over town.
We came out the way we came in but ditched down a side dirt road for some more excellent riding conditions. The mountains were gorgous in the background and even though the wind was picking up and the sun was setting we both were enjoying it very much.
The dirt road was mostly snowpacked with some great sections of windblown snowcover. It was tough going through the deeper drifts but I could ride 90% of them on the Pugsley with some technique modification. Today I didn't mess with tire pressure too much since I didn't feel like pumping them back up on the road sections. I'm still tempted to try a 3" Gad in the rear but maybe windblown snow just sucks no matter what compared to powder.
Going down Kopenburg hill I dropped into a gully only to have the front wheel totally disappear into a drift. Over the bars I went in super slow motion. Dave was laughing and so was I since the landing was in two feet of powder. Eventually the fun dirt had to end and we slogged up the Hump and the Wall in a combination of road and sidewalk riding. The snow was blowing hard now and all over the road again plus the sun was barely there. Dave gave me his extra EOS as I neglected to bring my lights. Stupid me, must bring lights in winter on ANY long ride.
Darkness surrounded us at the top of the Wall which was slushy and had a relatively large amount of traffic on it. We were happy to find a shoulder along most of 128 and one nice motorist offered us a ride home. Although unneeded it was a nice gesture and appreciated. Soon 128 turned to Simms and Simms deposited us safely into the office park that leads back to my subdivision. Marni was happy to see us home and had been making a crockpot meal all day. After some warm up hot cocoa we ate a delicous dinner and Dave hung out while his socks and jeans dried in the dryer. Yes me in tights (over wool) and Dave in jeans (over wool) makes an interesting combination but I suppose it works for each of us. I dropped Dave off at the bus stop but after a jerk bus driver (sorry Dad) drove past both Dave and another hopeful passenger we went and got some Starbucks before I eventually drove Dave home. While it was a long day I had a wonderful time and it was a great way to get some training in that didn't feel at all like training. Hope you all enjoy your beautiful days no matter the season, you never know how many you have.

10:30 trip time
45 miles
2950 vertical feet elevation gain

Simmons you'll also be happy to know that I built a snowcave in my front yard tonight and it's nice and toasty despite the winds whipping at 30mph. I'll save those pictures for another post.


Simmons said...

Glad to hear you guys made it home safely. I was begining to wonder what you guys had gotten yourselves into.

I'm so jealous of all the snow and fun you guys are having out there. Are you going to sleep out in the snowcave?

Becky said...

great post, incredible views Chris! I'm so incredibly jealous of your background! If you'd like beautiful pictures of breweries and exploded factory buildings, I can post so city pics of Milwaukee.
I like your winter clothes, the blue and black pants look like they match really well. I'm so proud of you.

Jill said...

Fun ride. Good post. I especially like the picture of Dave winter cycling in his jeans. That kid can do anything with anything.

I'm surprised that so many people were so shocked to see you out there. I would think winter cycling is fairly common in Colorado ... even if just for commuting. It's crazy popular in Alaska. Maybe the trend is still trickling south.

Cellarrat said...

Awesome Post Chris! I forgot about your endo!

Joel White said...

Breakfast at Lucille's is definitely worth the ride. My office used to be 2 blocks and I had to resist the temptation to eat there every morning.

Sounds like a pretty big adventure, glad you guys made it home safely before the super winds came through.

Doug said...

Great ride that doesn't feel like training is my kind of riding. Send some of that snow towards Minnesota. We sure could use some.

Simmons said...

I second the sending of the snow!

Marni said...

Glad you had a fun ride and glad you made it home before I had to break out the search and rescue vehicle! What did you buy me while on your ride that's in a tiny box? Is it the world's smallest and lightest -20 sleeping bag from Neptune? Yarn store? Thanks to Dave for the snickers -- yum!