Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Boulder 'road' riding at its best

Yesterday I had an absolutely amazing ride. After getting home from Texas the night before I decided it might be a good day to push things a bit. Heading out from the house I had pretty much no set idea of a route, but instead figured I'd let the legs decide as I rode. Since I was on the cross bike I pointed it toward upper Four Mile Canyon thinking I may get to Sunset if I felt good.

Just over an hour later I had finished the 15 mile climb to Sunset with relative ease, so I turned right and headed up the Switzerland Trail toward Gold Hill Road. This was the first time I'd taken 32c tires on this rough a road and it was pretty slow going. Here's a good example of a smoother section.


Checking out the view higher up Switzerland Trail.
You can see the old railroad grade I rode up snaking across the mountains here, going down to Sunset in the foreground and up to Sugarloaf in the distance. Four Mile Canyon (where I came from) is in between.
Bike pose in a campground a bit higher up.
Narrow piece of road at about 8800 feet.
Hitting pavement again at 9200 feet after a 15 mile section of dirt between Wall Street and Peak to Peak Highway. Here you're presented with a sign that offers you two choices:
<-Nederaland - Ward->
I chose Ward->
Upon arriving in Ward I was feeling bonkish yet courageous, so I headed up the 1,000 foot climb to Brainard Lake. At this point my new goal was hitting 10,200, just about exactly 5,000 above my house in Boulder.

Still a bit of snow as I hit 10,000.
The gate to Brainard Lake recreation area. As I arrived an emphatic German fellow on zee touring skis appeared after a day on the snow and frantically yelled at me to warn about the snow ahead. Didn't need to tell me twice, I was more than happy to turn around and begin a big descent back to town.
After flying back down to Ward I turned left and headed north on Peak2Peak before hitting up more dirt and ripping the insane downhill to Jamestown and all the way out to Greenbriar. 30 miles and 5000' feet of downhill later things were once again green.
Here's the route:

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