Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kanza prep begins

Took the Nature Boy out to the Park today. I was scouting out locations for this winter ecology/tele-ski class. It also served as the first big ride on this bike since I signed up for the Dirty Kanza. I really don't know why I don't ride the All City more; it brings a smile to my face every time.

I took Devil's Gulch out to Fall River then climbed into the park. My first stop was up at Many Parks Curve. We've been up there already, but I wanted to see what the climb was like and how poor the snow has become. It's really not that tough of a climb; everything around here has such a mellow grade.   Many Parks is far from the "top" of Trail Ridge Rd, but as I remember it from two years ago, it doesn't get any steeper. 

It was tempting to hop the fence and continue on, but considering the Park is kind enough to grant our school access every year to run classes, that nagging conscience won out and I opted to obey that "no bikes" sign.

Looking over to Longs
The ride down was fan-f*in-tastic. Grippy tires on a stable bike without the usual crosswinds made for killer descents all day. Coming out of the park past Beaver Meadows visitor center, a speeding sign flashed 46mph. Who said single speeds weren't fast?

Looking down @ Moraine Park, where I soon went through to get to Bear Lake
 The curves down from Dear Ridge (intersection of 34 & 36) further added to the enjoyment. I turned right towards Moraine Park doing at least the 25mph speed limit. Heading up to Bear Lake there is a several mile long gravel stretch which finally justified the knobby tires. Not that they were much of a drag before that point. It was no Rothrock, with mostly even gravel, instead this stretch was a slog of a climb. Deep mounds of powder were disguised with inch sized stones and wet sand from melting snow here and there. Again, there were no terribly steep pitches, so it wasn't too bad.
Hallet's Peak, just above my second destination
Saturday's in a National Park aren't exactly quiet, so there was plenty of traffic. Taking on the "cars are coffins" mentality I felt the urge to flip off a number of them.  Especially the ones who felt the need to tear ass on a gravel road with spectacular views all around, creating a cloud of dust to ride through. That's the way to experience your national parks alright (...dripping with sarcasm). The stout "manly men" in their SUV's shaking their heads and laughing when they see me on the side of the road. "Hey, I'm naturally increasing my red blood cell count. What are you doing for your health?"

Ah. Bitterness. I apologize.

There was a woman who stuck her head out while passing me who smiled and said "keep it up. you're amazing!". So not all those drivers sucked.

The rangers jolted outta their seats when they saw me ride the 10' to the trailhead  "Just getting a picture. No trail poaching fella's, no worries!"
One less car in a nearly full parking lot. 
I dropped down into to town as the sun broke through the clouds and the forecasted 50degrees seemed more of a reality. Coming into town I thought of stopping at Kind Coffee again to grab another hypothermia-inducing smoothie and a soggy breakfast burrito. It then struck me that the best culinary experience in town was a far better option. Nepal's indian-inspired lunch buffet and a couple warm cups of chai wrapped up a mighty fine ride.
What would a Nepalese restaurant be without pics of Everest? 20,000' above  today's highest point
I stopped the clock @ Nepal's before the 6miles back to school 
50 some miles with 5,000' of climbing. It's still only 1/4th the distance of Dirty Kanza. I'll keep at it.

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