06 August 2010

Not again!

Marble from MarbleTwo weeks ago, I attempted to pedal up Schofield Pass from Crested Butte. I've cross-country skied up the road as far as Gothic, but I'd never gone further north that side of the pass, which is touted as one of the most dangerous four-wheel drive roads in Colorado.

The view from Marble, ColoradoI managed to get my mountain bike up the first two steep sections of the rough road beyond Gothic, but the next three big inclines did me in. Actually, the climbs weren't the only thing zapping me. The flies were hungry, and I appeared to be the best item on the menu.

I did not make it to the top of Schofield Pass, and I was not able to get my bike up those next three steep sections. Not from the saddle, anyway. I had to walk my bike. The humiliation of doing that, unfortunately, probably drained my motivation more than any other factor.

This was not my first unsuccessful Schofield adventure.

Back in 2003, I discovered the other side of the pass, which starts near Marble, while shooting golden aspen following a successful sunrise photo adventure in the Maroon Valley. Every leaf in sight was gorgeous, and I decided to check out new roads, to boldly go where I'd never gone before.

Marble is a destination in and of itself. I've been many places where the marble quaried from near this tiny town has become national treasures, such as Lincoln Memorial. (THAT's why that picture's up there on top!!!) This particular trip took place before I went digital. I think I used an entire roll of 35mm film on the beautiful rock sculptures throughout this little bump in the road. Yet another jewel beckoned.

Crystal MillOn a whim, I'd decided to try to find the photogenic Crystal Mill. I'd been captivated by photos I'd seen for more than a decade, but I had no clue where the mill might be. Until I found Marble.

So off I went, in search of Schofield Pass. No homework. Just drive.

I didn't make it to the mill because, quite frankly, the road scared the daylights out of me. After I got back home that night, I did a little research and learned how many jeeps lie at the bottom of some steep drop-offs higher up Schofield Pass than I'd been able to navigate in my trusty 4Runner. My heart skipped a few beats as I thanked my lucky stars I am a such big chicken when it comes to four-wheeling.

Gothic Marble!Last week, I made my second mountain bike attempt on Schofield. This time, I made it to the top. (I won't type the 70-something exclamation points I feel when I say that because this post is already getting longer than I intended, but you get the drift, right?) Not only did I get my photo snapped in front of the sign that leaves me begging Patty to please, please, pretty please with sugar on top make me a Gothic Marble meanie I can use as a zipper pull, but I made it up all the steep sections without dismounting. Without walking my bike! Now does that deserve a special award or what?!?

I did have to stop and rest several, no, MANY times, but I didn't have to walk my bike. Even though... get this, my derailleur is kaput! (Can I insert those 70-something exclamation points here without boring you?)

muddy messThe Lizard worked the best magic he could in the middle of a muddy four-wheel drive road so I could finish my climb, but gears are missing. The bike does not climb smoothly.

No problem, I told my sweet husband. "You said that fancy schmancy mountain bike derailleur on my road bike is an upgrade to what I have. You can just put that on here, and we'll be set for next weekend!"

Um, not necessarily...

Uh, oh. This doesn't sound promising.

"The mountain bike derailleur on your road bike is a nine-speed," The Lizard softly broke the bad news. "Your mountain bike is an eight-speed. I'm not sure the nine-speed will work on it. We can try, but it might not work."

The Green Queen in AutumnSo here we go again. I'm digging my heels in, refusing to buy another bike, at least until I know the final verdict. I'd decided during this ride that I don't want to take my road bike up Pikes Peak at the end of this month. I don't know what condition that road is in, compared to Mount Evans, which I did last month, and if it's anything like Evans, I don't want to descend it on a road bike.

My Wizard Lizard is fitting me to one of his retired bikes (a storied bike with a history all its own), and I'll be riding that for the next couple of weeks to see if I might be able to get used to an unfamiliar bike in time for the Pikes Peak Ascent. The Lizard has promised me his "Green Queen" never disappoints. It climbs. It probably climbs one heck of a lot better than me! Can't hurt that it weights a ton less than my bike, too.

I made it up Schofield Pass on a defective derailleur. So I can make it up Pikes Peak on a mountain bike, right? An alien mountain bike, right?

At least it will still be MY saddle!The Snowcatching Lizard Cycling Museum, aka the basement


  1. Nice one Snowgirl. I've presented marching orders to Green Queen and she's chomping at the bit to get the show on the road. In the end, I may have some of Marble's marble sculpted in honor of the Green Queen.


    One of these days we need to get to DC so I can see the monuments and Smithsonian and…

  2. I get tired just to read about what you are doing.
    Is that house for real? Or is it taken from a storybook? I would not sleep well in that one.

    Glad you found your way to my birdblog. I also have butterflies and dragonflies. It is a way to keep track on them so all photos are not good.

  3. Such an impressive accomplishment. And the photo of the mill is so stunning!

  4. Hey, you can do it. You and the Green Queen will be eating up the miles. Good luck and take lots of pictures.

  5. You would be so glad I am not along for the ride, whining, "Are we there yet?" every two seconds. You totally rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I'm pretty sure that's your 70 exclamation points!)

  6. something for you if you follow the link :)

  7. Congrats on finally reaching the peak!
    I would never ever attempt such a thing, but then I'm not the athlete you are.

    That house is just fantastic b t w.

  8. I admire your determination, Deb! But I'll need a little help envisioning what a gothic marble meanie might look like. :-)

  9. You go! I felt frustrated for you when I read that you didn't make it up and had to walk it, loved the mill though!!!, but felt really happy for you that you made it. You can do Pike's Peak on a Mountain Bike I'm sure! You go!!


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