First touring day of 2015!: Yippee, skippee! - S24O to Redstone, CO - CycleBlaze

March 22, 2015

First touring day of 2015!: Yippee, skippee!

I've been making a concentrated effort to get some serious miles and climbing in this year. We have a big tour coming up, riding the Sierra Cascades route from Sumas, WA to South Lake Tahoe. I've been climbing and climbing, thinking of day three with 7,500 feet of climbing over Rainy and Washington Passes.

This week is spring break. Weather is nice, extra nice. I feel I should take advantage of those two points. The only problem is having a root canal scheduled for Wednesday. No way am I missing that appointment. Ouch. Bicycling around Moab was very high on my list, but timing didn't work out. I debated staying home and doing local rides. But I wanted to feel like I'd done something a little special for my spring break. At the last minute I decided to ride to Redstone. Actually, I wanted to go to the Avalanche Ranch. I've tried to book a cabin there any number of times and they are always full. Next I called Crystal Manor. They didn't answer the phone. Redstone Inn answered the phone, but their only available rooms were on the second floor. $89. but hefting my big bike upstairs didn't sound too fun. I ended up at the Redstone Cliffs Lodge. $90., including tax for a cabin.

OK, I have a bed, now to get ready! I used to take PB&J sandwiches. Now I don't eat wheat and have found applies with peanut butter and raisins to be a suitable energy substitute.

My snacks were carefully planned. One for today, another tonight, and the last one for the trip home.
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While weather has been wonderful at our altitude, 5,435 feet. Redstone is at 7,200 feet. High temp of 44, low of 28. Hmmm, some colder than home. I should take a jacket and leg warmers. Rain is forecast for the evening of my return home. Guess I'll get going in the morning, even if it is cold.

I hurried to load the bike and eat lunch. I had estimated leaving at noon and was pedaling down the street a half hour early. Skies were blue and there was no wind. I took direct Highway 6 as I had miles to go.

I have intentionally been doing major climbing. It felt SO easy and some guilty to be cruising along the river on the nice, flat road. Fruit trees were blooming, forsythias were blooming. Willow trees were budding out. Yes, spring is on the way! Lots of calves and lambs.

I made short work of Silt and New Castle. I did stop at the potty in Silt, but otherwise kept moving. At Canyon Creek, just past New Castle, it was time to get on the Interstate. When thinking over my options for the day, I did consider that it has been winter and there would probably be LOTS of debris and muck on the edges of the road. Guess what? It was very, very clean. CDOT must have cleaned the roadway within the past few days. No flat tires for me!

Everyone always says in awe, "You ride on the Interstate?!!! No way!" The truth is, there's a giant shoulder, a traffic lane, and a passing lane. It's noisy, but as far as space and safety goes, if every road could only be this safe. That's my take on interstate riding. Having said that, if and when they ever get the bike path finished through the canyon, I will be most happy to ride it.

At West Glenwood I exited the interstate and rode to Two Rivers Park. This was my break, halfway into the day. I stopped at the bathroom. Hmmm, it must be locked because it's been winter and the water pipes could freeze. But there's a potty right in front. A very full very disgusting potty with poo on the seat. Was that really necessary? Darn - I was ready for a bathroom break in addition to eating my apple. Ah well, I was feeling good and had a nice little tailwind and blue skies. What's a little poo on a day like today?

There were quite a few people out enjoying the bike path. I was happy to work my way through town, the crowd thinned out. A man cycled on to the path in front of me at the high school. We were going about the same pace for miles. I hoped he like my music. He looked about the right age to enjoy 70's music.

Once I was out in the open, it seemed the tailwind picked up. Wind is always mighty fine as a tailwind. I was smiling at each person that passed me. They all had quite sour looks. Few smiled back. Hmmm, uphill with a tailwind must be easier than downhill with a headwind?

I stopped at the potty at MM 8.5 - SO happy to be there. Only a couple more miles to Carbondale and the Dos Gringos Burrito shop. Late lunch!

I posted a photo on Facebook while eating lunch. Who should answer straight away but Julie, who lives in Carbondale. She offered to ride the 7 miles with me to the end of the bike path. Yay! Julie dropped everything to meet me. We originally met on the bike path and even though I seldom ride up this way, we seem to meet up each time I do.

My gear for the overnight trip. Minus a baggie of chargers and my MacAir. Yes, I brought the computer. Yes, it was worth it!
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We rode along chatting about a large variety of things. Julie pointed out the friendly herd of goats she liked to take cookies to. An osprey nest, a herd of deer. The best place to take a Mount Sopris photo. I did notice a little headwind, but when we reached the end of the path, all the sudden that little headwind seemed much stronger. Julie was a nice distraction, but I was going to have to slog through the last nine miles on Hwy 133 by myself. Darn.

Julie met me in Carbondale and rode with me to the end of the bike path to Redstone.
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Mount Sopris. I wish there had been some blue sky for the photo.
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I was feeling a little chilly with just a long sleeve top and shorts. It is March, after all!
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It feels more like the real deal, to have actual touring items in my panniers rather than bottles of laundry detergent. Isn't that what you use for training weight?
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I remembered the last spring trip I'd made this way, with Shelly and Cathy in May. I hadn't been riding as much last year and was suffering much more at this point. Avalanche Ranch is five miles before Redstone. This year I would have liked to stop there - last year I was almost angry at the couple who had booked the entire place for their wedding. Why did they have to get married just the day I wanted to stay there? Completely silly, I know. So, even though I wasn't enjoying the headwind at all, at least my legs were doing fine. The sun had disappeared while I was in Carbondale and those clouds sure looked threatening. I hoped the rain would hold off until I got to Redstone.

I had told the man at the Lodge I'd be there between 5 and 6 PM. I didn't really have a schedule, I'd stopped at the Dos Gringos and taken some photos with Julie. The headwind was slowing me down, but not too much. I did arrive at 5:45 PM - right in my window. I was happy to be there.

It seemed to take an abnormal amount of time as the fellow was very solicitous of me, making sure everything was just so. At that point I just wanted a shower. Yes, my bike would be find outside on the covered porch. Then after I had hauled all of the food items inside, he suggested I put the bike in his garage. Which was very nice, but a bit more fiddling. Then there were no towels. Geez, I'm getting cranky. Maybe I am tired from the ride after all.

I've had a shower, my clothes are hopefully drying for tomorrow. I'm ready to eat my dinner burrito and have the peanut butter apple for dessert. Yes, I do lead the wild life!

The weather says 30 degrees at 8 AM in Redstone tomorrow. The wind is supposed to be 20 mph by afternoon, from the west. A headwind for me all the way home. Maybe I should leave earlier than 8 - cold will be easier than 20 mph wind. The wind is another reason I didn't go to Moab.

OK, time for dinner. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Home for the night, Redstone Cliffs Lodge.
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The final numbers. I was doing mighty fine on average speed until I took the turn into a headwind at Carbondale.
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Today's ride: 55 miles (89 km)
Total: 55 miles (89 km)

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