General Cycling Discussion - Ride up Trail Ridge Friday 8 a.m. - Colorado
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05-24-05, 02:24 PM
A few friends and I are getting together to ride up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado this Friday morning May 27. If anyone would like to join us, be at the Fall River Visitor Center parking lot at 8 a.m. on Friday. Look for me (Richard) unloading my black Trek from an SUV. I'll probably be wearing black track pants, and red jersey, and maybe a yellow rain jacket.
If you don't have a NPS pass, the entrance fee for bicyclists has gone up to $10 per person (not to exceed $20 per vehicle if you happen to have a triple tandem). Cars are $20.
The road is expected to open to motor vehicle traffic on Saturday, but it is open to bicyclists now. When I went up in April Trail Ridge was wet and sandy, and I expect it's still wet and sandy this week. Take it easy on the turns downhill or you WILL go down.
We'll ride up to the Alpine Visitor Center or as close as we can get to it. The Alpine Visitor Center will still be closed so do not expect to go inside to warm up, buy hot chocolate, water, energy bars, etc.
You can expect to see blooming wildflowers, elk, mule deer, jay birds, ground squirrels, and plenty of other wildlife. Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely gorgeous in the spring.
This is NOT an organized club ride or event of any kind. I'm just posting what I'll do so others can ride along if you wish. If you zoom off the edge of the road at Rainbow Curve and land in Horseshoe Park 1200 feet below, fault and liability are completely yours.
05-24-05, 03:07 PM
I'd love to join y'all, but getting off of work seems most unlikely :(
Please post up about your ride afterwards.
Have a great ride. Sounds fun!!!
05-24-05, 03:50 PM
Sounds awesome. Getting Friday off work this week is pretty much impossible for me, otherwise I'd love to join in.
Have fun, take many pics, and most them as soon as you get back! :D
05-30-05, 03:32 PM
Have fun, take many pics, and most them as soon as you get back!
Photos are attached as requested. I didn't get as many as I hoped because my batteries started flaking out on me.
We started about an hour late. My family and I camped near Grand Lake this weekend so I was going nuts getting ready for the ride and packing the van for camping. I hope nobody was expecting us at the visitor center waiting for me; sincere apologies if that was the case!
Riding were Jason of Boulder and Amit, Craig, and myself from Longmont. We all met at Amit's house in Longmont. We started up Trail Ridge just after 9 a.m. after unloading at the Sheep Lakes / Horshoe Park (http://www.rockymountainnp.com/RMNP-Areas-HorseshoePark.HTML) parking lot.
Trail Ridge opened the week before, but early Friday morning the traffic wasn't bad at all. We couldn't ask for better weather -- sunny and calm with mild temps in the 30s and 40s.
Jason is a recent transplant from Michigan and this was his first time on Trail Ridge. He accomplished his goal of riding up to timberline just beyond Rainbow Curves.
Amit and Craig are the stronger riders and made it up to the Alpine Visitor Center after about 2.5 hours. I was still on the way up when I met them coming down shortly after noon pretty near the Trail Ridge highpoint at 12,183 feet.
I made it to the Visitor Center (elevation 11,796 feet) at 12:30 after a little over 3 hours riding the 20 mile distance. The little shop was still closed so I couldn't get my traditional cup of hot chocolate here.
After a 10 minute break, I started climbing back toward Estes Park. Climbing out of the Visitor Center was the hardest part of my ride. Psychologically, I was done -- I made my goal of the Alpine Visitor Center and in my mind my trip was complete. The 400 foot climb back up to the high point is fairly substantial, especially at 12,000 feet.
Once I got to the high point, however, I tucked in and averaged 38 mph all the way to Hidden Valley. On one straightaway I hit 48 mph and passed three cars. I met my companions back at Sheep Lake right at 1:30.
Trail Ridge was dry and clean last Friday -- no sand or ice or water to make me slide out in the curves. There are some washboard surfaces to watch out for in which you must keep "loose" and let your legs and arms absorb the shock. The curve just below Hidden Valley is very bumpy -- I slow to about 20 mph on this one.
The turn from Trail Ridge to the Fall River entrance is much tighter than it appears -- I biffed it when I took it too fast a couple of months ago. Also, I and other people I know have had motorists pull out right in front of me a couple of times at this turn.
05-30-05, 06:39 PM
Looks like you had spectacular weather.
Rode it for the first time last year. Was at my wife's family reunion and couldn't pass up the chance to get away - I mean ride the hill.... You know what they say about family and dead fish - they smell after about three days... I'm convinced it can be as soon as 8 hours!
Had very similar weather - Started in on 36... and so glad I brought some cash for the entrance fee.
Turned around at the Visitor's Center and came back down to Estes.
Would really like to go all the way over to Grandby next time...
It's a real must for anyone interested in spectacular views and a nice challenging ride.
05-31-05, 12:04 PM
Awesome! Sounds like a great ride... and a descent like that sure makes the climbing worthwhile!
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