Clouds and Sun

Saturday April 13th - with forcasted highs in the 60s - sounded like a great day to head west into the mountains. But when we woke up, heavy fog blanketed the sky. So much for sunshine all day! Undeterred, we added some more warm clothes to our Osprey packs and pedaled off into the mists. Nick and I were meeting some of the guys for a long day on the bike. Drew rode over to Stratton with us and Shad and Adam J were waiting. The five of us rode straight up the Chutes - taking advantage of the quiet trails. (I aloe think it was because two of them didn't realize there were better ways to get to the top.) I quickly settled into my place for the ride - dangling off the back, pedaling steady to keep them in sight. Riding my Fate, I had the added benifit of my power numbers - I think I was able to do a better job of trying to keep up because I paced myself better. I didn't blow up on the chutes, trying to keep up with them. As a result, when we hit Gold Camp, I was ready to go. A very useful tool - my powermeter, but numbers don't win races or find fun rides. I need to be able to do that my self!
The clouds below Gold Camp Road on 4/13
At the top of the chutes, while Nick, Shad and Drew stripped layers, I was adding toe warmers to my shoes. We were still buried in the clouds with no sun in sight. Despite the steady climbing, my toes were numb. Wool socks and booties were not doing the job for me! After the quick break, we were back to pedaling. Up into the clouds we rode, in and out of the mist. The sun started filtering through the fog, offering brief glimpses of blue sky above us. Hopefully soon, we'd be in the sun. I was doing a decent job of staying on wheels, but Shad and Adam kept picking up the pace. As we crested the singletrack above the collapsed tunnel, the sun finally broke through. We were finally above the clouds, looking down on the blanket of fog draped over the city. A short photo stop, then back to riding. I had to be smart - keep up, but be ready for the coming downhill. And I was. Despite my fitly tires and my lack of suspension, I felt solid on our trip back down into the clouds. Just remember - ride my bike and focus on the basics!

"And my hands are finally warm!"
Sunday April 14th offered another day of riding - this time with Lonna and Melissa from WMBA. With a meeting time of 10:00, I left the house at 9:00. I was going to take the long way to Lonna's house! It had rained for several hours overnight and I knew the Stratton trails were going to be in awesome shape. While I've made fun of Strava many times, I also had my eyes on a QOM in Stratton... I've been close on many attempts - but when I've had good starts, I usually meet hikers or other riders. And I don't want to be one of "those" riders! So I slow down... but today was different. I felt fast, the trail was tacky and there was no one in sight. So I went for it - all the way instead of cutting out two thirds done. After my fun, it was time to meander over to Lonna's for the rest of ride!

We were heading into Red Rocks, hoping to find some of the trails we've ridden at night and see what they really looked like. After a short jaunt on the road, it was on to dirt. With no agenda and really no plan, we just meandered around. Down to Roundup the fun way, up one of the roads, down the "Tunnel of Doom." It wasn't nearly as terrifying during the day! Then time for some exploring. There was a fun trail that I'd only been able to find a few times at night. I wanted to know exactly where it was. Success. I figured out both halves of the trail and where it crossed the road. Now I'll be able to find it again! At the road crossing, we met a large group of little boys and their dads. So cute, the little tiny wheels and super motivated kids ready to find some rocks. And the dads all seemed happy to be out riding with their boys. It was really cool - and I had to stop halfway down the trail to watch them riding.
Lonna approaching one of the rock steps on the Quarry trail

Melissa picking the right line to clean the rocks...

By then, it was time to start heading home. Up and over the quarry, hiking down the stairs. I managed to ride the rest of the trail except for the right hand switchback. Pretty good - I was happy about that. We took the road down and across to Codells. That trail is just fun, no matter what. Along the ridge line, then we climbed back up to 26th street. Lonna and Melissa headed home and I continued up to the hogsback. I took the rock gardens pretty smoothly despite the fatigue, and dropped down to Gold Camp. One more climb, then some fun through Stratton to home. The trails in Stratton were much more crowded and I had to play the "kill them with kindness" card a few times with the hikers. But it was to nice a day and such a fun ride to get annoyed with anyone...

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