Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Glenwood Springs

Despite frequent, and sometimes torrential, rain showers, we managed to squeeze in several bike rides over the weekend.

Saturday we intended to ride the Loop From Hell

with a little extra fun added in by riding from Golden (makes a killer 75 mile/6 hour ride).

We were either saved or stymied by the rain – it really depends on your point of view!

We got aced out of riding Squaw Pass due to rain and sleet. So, we improvised and rode from our house, up Highway 40, down Lookout Mountain to the stone pillars, back up Lookout Mountain, and then back down Highway 40 and home. I don’t have a bike computer at the moment, but I think it was about 40 – 45 miles, and just under 3 hours of riding.

After a big bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (it was that kind of day – now that I think about it, I should have had a mug of hot chocolate, too!), we packed up our road bikes and our mountain bikes and headed up to Glenwood Springs for the rest of the weekend.

Phil has an interest in Glenwood Caverns
Adventure Park. From the time the Park was in its first phase of development, through its opening 10 years ago, and during its first 5 years in operation, Phil put in a lot of sweat effort. Recently his job, our home improvement projects, and our cycling have conspired to limit his time there. It was time to do some catching up.

Of course, based on our load of gear, we planned to multi-task while in Glenwood Springs.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy, cool and with about a 130% chance of rain.

Since we both have Gore-Tex, the rain gave us no excuse to back out of our planned ride.

[We took off from the base of the tram that ferries guests up to the cavern park.]

One of our favorite rides in that area is from Carbondale through Redstone and over McClure Pass. Due to the expected holiday weekend traffic, we decided to try something different – and I’m really glad we did.

The Rio Grande Bike Trail between Glenwood Springs and Aspen is a “rails to trails” project which is built in the Aspen Branch of the historic Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Train operations in the corridor ceased in phases, between the 1960s and the mid 1990s.

There is a steady 2% grade from Glenwood to Aspen, with a few rolling hills thrown in.

Once again, we were robbed of the downhill by a headwind on the return trip, but it wasn’t too bad, all things considered.

We rode about 75 miles, with 4 hours and 45 minutes of ride time.

We came across a little cattle drive just outside Carbondale, and that was fun to watch for a bit.

Phil had a flat tire near Basalt, but changed it with a minimum of fuss and we were back on our way in no time.

By Monday our legs felt like lead, and the rain was starting to get on my nerves! We had planned to ride our mountain bikes up Transfer Trail but it was far too muddy to do that.

So, we got all loaded up to take a spin on the bike path along the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon – and the minute we wheeled out of the parking lot, the skies opened and the monsoon erupted!

We beat feet back to the hotel, watched the rain, read for a while, took a nap . . . and by 3 pm the sun was trying valiantly to shine on us. We took another chance and actually got out for about 90 minutes. My legs felt pretty good on the flats, but the climbs were murder. Yikes.

The trail was closed down at the Shoshone Power Plant (the river is extremely high, and there were some washed-out sections beyond that point, I guess). We headed back to the hotel, but took a fun detour up No Name Creek. I only had my cell phone camera because I didn’t want to ruin my other one if the rains returned. So, the photos don’t do justice to how gorgeous it was. The creek is just ripping!

[Almost cut Phil's head off - not familiar with the cell phone camera - takes some adjustment!]

We closed out the weekend with a tasty dinner at the brew pub, then I suckered Phil into watching game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals – popcorn, a couple of beers and hoops on the tube [the Nuggets actually won!] – the perfect wrap to a good weekend.

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