Ok, after taking a bit of a hint from my buddy 4ster, I felt guilty enough to attempt writing my first trip report. The instigating event was a comment about how beautiful his bike trip to Moab was and how he was living a life that seems to rival that of Bob Peters. I may have also said that I was getting back on my bike with an anticipated 100 mile ride. His response was "where's your trip report."
Of course, I promptly left town on travel, so didn't see his bait until this morning prior to saddling up for my ride. Since the anticipated 100 miler was last Saturday, no pictures are here to report. In reality, and due to the fact that I had not had a ride longer than 22 miles in a month, the 100 miler was truncated to a shorter 80 mile ride. It was a pleasant ride, but on my return from hiking on Sunday, I realized I had made a serious error in my choice of route. I rode the flats up to Masonville west of Fort Collins, but Lefthand Canyon was in the peak of color. Oh well.
So after reading Jim's bait, I decided I would document one of my favorite rides: a 50 mile ride around Boulder County. What you may not know about me is that I ride a funny bike. When I decided to start riding again 6 years ago, I couldn't get my neck in position to ride a "normal" (diamond frame) bike. It might have had something to do with my weight: I weighed about 250 pounds at the time. So I bought a recumbent. Several models later, here is my ride, tricked out in it's "speed" configuration:
Yep, I ride a barcalounger. It is a carbon fiber barcalounger with a full DuraAce groupo. It weighs about 19 pounds without the bag in which I have tons of stuff plus a full hydration bladder. The main thing about it is not its weight, but rather how stiff it is. The bike climbs well (at least for a recumbent). I've put over 10,000 miles on it since I got it; this is it's third season.
Well, back to the trip. I live in Boulder County, Colorado, where we have excellent cycling. This route is a pretty flat route. The first 3 miles are mainly uphill, with a short steep climb at the end. It opens onto this view of the Flatirons, a hogback formation that dominates the view from Boulder:
One of the things I realized in taking photos for this event was how much it slows you down. I was poking along looking for a spot to get this photo. Of course, I picked the wrong spot, as there was a better view a few hundred yards down the road. I didn't stop for that. You'll also notice one of the great things we often have in Boulder County: decent shoulders for cycling. This road used to have none, but they repaved it 4-5 years ago and it is now stellar. This section is downhill trending to level. As long as the wind is not in my face, I usually take this section in the upper 20's. It's the place to gain some time and prepare for the next uphill, a short but quite steep section that I try to top with my speed still above 12 MPH. Since I've not been riding much this past month, I was unsuccessful in that endeavor.
Next, we get a fantastic 3 mile downhill section in the 3-4% grade range with a freeway overpass in the middle. I'm usually good for 40 MPH in this section. It's always good to spin with a high power output.
I stopped to take a photo looking to the west:
There's snow up there! Just a short time until something other than the WROD opens. And the color is really in full bloom on the cottonwoods. Those peaks are the Indian Peaks. Boulder's water supply originates from a glacier up there -- a spectacular hike.
Looking down the road, some lovely color. These are a bit washed out. Guess the iPhone camera is what you could expect...
Here I'm looking back at the Flatirons. Pretty awesome, right?
And a slightly different view up to the Indian Peaks. Now I'm close enough to the foothills to have some obstruction of the back range by the foothills. Still, I like this view!
Next, I ride across Boulder. I hate multiuse paths. They have way too much ancillary traffic on them, and my speed difference is likely unsafe. So I ride the roads. My usual route is through a bit of an industrial area. I had lifted and riden the day previous, and my legs weren't feeling too good. Until I hit the uphill section that goes along the west side of Boulder to where US 36 heads north. My legs opened up, and I forgot about picture taking. Until I got to St. Vrain Road, which is a lovely descent into the valley. Looking down the road:
You'll notice the lack of a shoulder. However, this road gets light traffic, so it really isn't much of an issue. After another hammerfest in the mid to upper 30's, I turned north into Hygienne. I discovered this wonderful store in Hygiene this year. It has a lovely yard where they've set out tables and chairs for the cyclists. As it was a terrific day, there were a few folk out and about at Mary's:
Coming back south, you get a peek at Mt. Meeker with a bit of Long's Peak (a 14'er) behind:
A bit wider view:
Next, we head east a bit, and then back south. Here's the view from the top of the ridge:
You'll notice there is agriculture going on on this ride! It has a bit of everything. Urban. Open Space. Farming. Rural ranchettes.
And great roads.
Ok, that wasn't one of them. It's a view over the gate of a private community. Still, it looks interesting. And this is from the hillock that surrounded their gate.
The Flatirons back in view. Those structures protruding in the left center of the photo are the stacks from the Valmont power plant. The city of Boulder (40 square miles surrounded by reality) wants to condemn the electric utility and supply their own power from windmills and solar panels. I just wish they'd fix some of the roads.
Well, I lost interest in photo documenting after this point. I arrived back at home. 50.17 miles, nominal power 188, average speed of 19 MPH. An easy ride. Hope you enjoyed it.