Photos are attached
Originally Posted by Stubacca
Have fun, take many pics, and most them as soon as you get back!
as requested. I didn't get as many as I hoped because my batteries started flaking out on me.
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
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.