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Rocky Mountain National Park ride. Epic.

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Rocky Mountain National Park ride. Epic.

Old 09-04-06, 09:56 PM
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superdex
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Rocky Mountain National Park ride. Epic.

Over the Labor Day weekend I went camping with a couple buddies: Paul and Jason. We went to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP in tha hizzy, yo), with intentions of camping, burning sh*t, hiking, biking, drinking a few beers and burning shi*t.

Jason, being the wise camping vet that he is, was up and in the park early Friday morning to secure a spot, while Paul called in sick and I "worked" from home. He came back down to get us, and we got to the park sometime around 7ish.

Saturday morning we were riding. Trail Ridge Road. None of us had scouted it, other than we knew its highest point was over 12,000ft, and that we were going to spend the Out portion of the ride climbing pretty much the entire time. Paul was a little surprised to hear that we were going for a multi-hour ride; but that's Paul being Paul

One thing to note: Jason has ridden about 250mi for the year, and moved to Denver from Dallas about a month ago.

Before we get to the pics, here are the stats for the first half of the ride; we did it as an out-and-back:
Start elevation: 8219ft
Finish elevation: 11782ft
Highest point: 12189ft
Distance: 21mi
Avg Grade: 6%

My computer's stats for the ride:
Total Distance: 43.52mi
Time: 4:00:01
Max: 43mph
Avg: 10.8mph

And now some pics:

The reason why I don't take pictures while on the bike. That's Jason and then Paul


Looking towards Bear Lake (I think). Keep in mind that we were going to climb through that cloud layer


Some section of curvy road


Two miles above sea level. And we weren't anywhere near done


The view from Rainbow Curve


Jason, me, Paul


(more pics in a second)

And I've attached the elevation profile.


It was the hardest 43miles I've ridden, but easily the most rewarding. I feel like we did something significant, and all three of us had no hesitation calling the ride 'Epic.' ...Maybe we'll do Mt Evans before the end of the season?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
TrailRidgeRoad_elevation.jpg (37.4 KB, 94 views)
File Type: jpg
TrailRidgeRoad_route.jpg (65.9 KB, 63 views)

Last edited by superdex; 09-05-06 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 09-04-06, 09:57 PM
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Second half of the ride pics--


Right after Rainbow Curve, we broke through the clouds, and it was a different world entirely. Very beautiful.


Just gorgeous. At this elevation, the ecosystem is the same as the Arctic, thanks to the weather patterns and temperatures. Yeah, it was cold and windy. 'Nuf said


Jason, still climbing and we're not at the top yet


Just after the high point of the ride is this rest stop and sign (it says, "Elevation 12,090 ft.")


We stopped for lunch at the Visitor's Center, which was about 3mi past the high point. It also meant more climbing there, and climbing after lunch before enjoying ~20 miles of coasting


A couple pics of the view from the Visitor's Center
East

West

Last edited by superdex; 09-05-06 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 09-04-06, 09:58 PM
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Awesome. I've always wanted to visit Rocky Mountain NP.
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Old 09-04-06, 09:59 PM
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That's WAY cool! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-05-06, 12:21 AM
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Your buddy must be quite the athlete to accomplish that climb with minimal time on the bike and at that altitude. I've driven that road a million times and wondered what it would be like to ride it. You hit any bad weather? The thunderstorms can be harry a specially if your above tree line. What was the decent like with the traffic? There are a lot of tourists on that road. Congrats.
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Old 09-05-06, 01:23 AM
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Sounds like a great ride 'dex....but pics? I see descriptions as if pics were there, but I'm not seeing any pics.
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Old 09-05-06, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by KingTermite
Sounds like a great ride 'dex....but pics? I see descriptions as if pics were there, but I'm not seeing any pics.
Red X's here too!
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Old 09-05-06, 01:53 AM
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Xies...
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Old 09-05-06, 02:13 AM
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No pics, but it sounds like a great ride, dex!
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Old 09-05-06, 06:10 AM
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pics are screwed. check out tinypic.com for some easy image hosting. RMNP is awsome, we've gone climbing their the last three years, cyclists have to have screws loose for that kind of absuse!

i'd hate to hit an elk at 36mph on the way back down....
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Old 09-05-06, 06:12 AM
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Whew for a min there I thought I was the only one with the X
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Old 09-05-06, 08:23 AM
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well crizzap. The pics are on Kodak's site; I'll get them over to tinypic this morning. DOH!

Here's the link to the slideshow if you're antsy:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...fromshare&Ux=0
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Old 09-05-06, 08:31 AM
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Ok that killed me...can I quit my job now and come out there and ride? Hmm I wonder if my wife would go for that. LOL I am going to have to make a point of it to get out there and ride one of these days.
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Old 09-05-06, 08:44 AM
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That's a great ride and a great (though often crowded as all hell) park.
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Old 09-05-06, 08:48 AM
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ok, pics are up. I may have to buy some bandwidth from flickr, but you're worth it
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Old 09-05-06, 08:50 AM
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Nice ride and cool pics. Later.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:14 AM
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Amazing!
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Old 09-05-06, 09:25 AM
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I like RMNP and the elevations from what I read and hear. I've never been there though..... Great photos! Looks like you guys had a great time up there!

Last edited by roadfix; 09-05-06 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:26 AM
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Nice pics, but 20 miles of climbing?!? Looks beautiful though.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:30 AM
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Dex, how's the ride up? Trail Ridge Road is a pretty busy road, being the main drag up from Estes Park, and I'm guessing even more so on a holiday weekend. Traffic concerns on the climb or descent?

Having driven through there a few times, I can only imagine how much effort that took!

Great pics! God, I miss Colorado.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:44 AM
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WOW! how pretty! awesome ride!!!!
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Old 09-05-06, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97
Dex, how's the ride up? Trail Ridge Road is a pretty busy road, being the main drag up from Estes Park, and I'm guessing even more so on a holiday weekend. Traffic concerns on the climb or descent?
The roads were quite busy, but we never felt threatened; we got plenty of room from everyone, including the big tour busses. On the way down we took the lane and didn't worry about it --especially since we were going faster than the cars anyway. Actually tailgated one car for a couple miles before they turned off....

We drove it on Sunday and freaked out at how little shoulder there is in spots
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Old 09-05-06, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex
On the way down we took the lane and didn't worry about it --especially since we were going faster than the cars anyway.
Sweet.

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Old 09-05-06, 10:21 AM
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Dayum! That looks like some awesome riding...! Jealous here!
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Old 09-05-06, 10:55 AM
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Man, I got tired just driving that road (seriously, I have problems with altitude). That's a lot of work with very little little oxygen! Thanks for sharing the pics.
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