Top o' the New Year to ya! Welcome to my annual Me, Myself and I post. I'm engaging in a little mutiny on Snowcatcher's blog today; pray tell you won't mind. 2012 was a pretty good year, albeit a smidgen shy on total bike time. Nonetheless, it was a good Lizard year.
February found the Snowcatcher and me in remote northern Arizona questing for the holy Wave. Navajo and Hopi spirits (literally) parted the sky as we snuck in a beautiful day between snow storms.
In the late '80s, I partook in geomorphic field research for Colorado State University in this area. It was a delight to return and actually spend several days there with Snowcatcher. The Grand Staircase/Escalante area is a magical place to which I always want to return.
February patience morphed into early March anticipation, resulting in us becoming Ride the Rockies collaborators.
May came along, and we found ourselves on our annual trek to Moab, Utah, for my birthday. En route, we stopped and rode the west side of Independence Pass while it was still closed to winter traffic. Nice, very nice!
I received a new toy for my birthday – a video camera. Now I can create my own 15 minutes of fame with the click of a button. I'm still in the learning process. Sooooo… turn on the speakers, take some Dramamine and enjoy the videos in this post!
June finally inched into view, and we found ourselves in Gunnison, Colorado, for Ride the Rockies. The route would take us west along the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River to the small ranch and farm town of Hotchkiss.
Day two found us piercing Colorado's coal belt while panting east up the Elk Mountains via McClure Pass (8,755 ft.). From the pass, we dropped into Marble and ultimately into Carbondale. Yes, a quarry exists and marble from this area graces Washington DC.
Day three was a grind up the Roaring Fork River via asphalt/dirt bike path into Aspen. From there it was up and over 12,095-foot Independence Pass, followed by the long drop into Leadville – a long day.
Music is MacArthur Park by Richard Harris and Love is Blue by Paul Mauriat
Day four was a steepish jaunt through the Tenmile Range culminating on 11,318-foot Fremont Pass. A rough, screaming descent down Tenmile Creek into Silverthorne followed.
From Silverthorne, we pedaled north to the northern terminus of the Gore Range and up Ute Pass (9,165 ft.).
The descent from Ute Pass was 20 miles of rough gravel-grinding on skinny tires at 100 psi, followed by a short stint of asphalt into Granby. Ugh! This was my most difficult day of altitude, rough road and heat. I sat on our duffle bags in a stupor for a half-hour before even attempting to set up camp. However, the town put on a good feast later that evening.
Day five was not only huge, but a rarity – Trail Ridge Road. This is the highest continuous paved road in the states, climbing to 12,183 feet. Because of the time spent above treeline, beating thunderstorms would be today's game, and the powers that be set up time checks and limits at points along the route. Riders not making a time cut were stopped and sagged to Estes Park. After a long cruise across the tundra, the route rapidly dropped into Snowcatcher's old haunt of Estes Park. Can you say FUN!
Music is The Mountains and Daredevil Descent from Chasing Legends by Haik Naltchayan
Day six was to be a scenic backdoor route into Fort Collins via Horsetooth Reservoir. However, wildfire operations put the kibosh on that, and we were routed down onto the plains, then north into Fort Collins, finishing at the Odell Brewery.
Music is Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi and Rock Me by Great White
Last July, I didn't ride the 2012 Double Triple Bypass. I will ride this year's 25th anniversary event if I make the entry lottery.
August found us enjoying the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. This year we enjoyed the Queen's Stage – Gunnison to Aspen via Cottonwood and Independence Passes, both over 12,000 feet in elevation. We also watched the final stage, a time trial, in downtown Denver.
Early September was a trip to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for a wedding in Seattle. Taking advantage of the trip, we rented a car and spent a couple of days in the shadow of Mount Rainier. What a beautiful mountain! I climbed Mount Hood, Oregon, several times while attending graduate school in Corvallis, Oregon. I remember viewing Rainier from Hood. I was in awe. I never made a visit to Rainier during those years, and it was nice to finally be on the mountain.
Late September and early October was spent in the Grand Junction and Durango areas. Grand Junction brought us an air show and the Blue Angels. We also managed one of the finest road rides in the state, the Colorado National Monument just outside of Grand Junction. While in Durango, we rode in the Durango Fall Blaze.
Music is Le Tour De France from Chasing Legends by Haik Naltchayan
As the year wound down, Turkey Day weekend was a holiday of pedaling the river loops of the Kokopelli Trail in Fruita. It doesn't get any better. Gobble, gobble, gobble!
Music is Monaco and The Missile is Launched from Chasing Legends by Haik Naltchayan
The Grind from Off Road to Athens by Haik Naltchayan
The Will of a Man from Chasing Legends