Overall today was an epic day as, according to Strave we climbed 12,421 ft. See the elevation chart below for the detail. There are some debates as the accuracy of that, but according to both the chart, and how we felt at the end of the day, I tend to trust that number.
The day started out as a cloudy, damp day as we left our warm house we rented in Estes Park and started the ride around 6:30am. The temperature wasn’t too bad at around 57, but with the dampness and rain we shortly encountered on our initial climb, it felt quite cold. During the ride, the clouds never receded throughout the day. Regardless, the ride was a great ride. Due to the fact that we just wanted to get this cold ride over, I don’t actually have any pictures or video. Sorry.
We rode 80.4 miles over 7 hr 5 min from Estes Park to Evergreen, the final city that we will stay in before trying the ascent to Mt. Evans tomorrow morning. I had a great surprise tonight. My good friends Bob and Barb offered their warm home to stay at tonight, rather than a tent, so I’m enjoying their company and home to be in the best condition to start tomorrow am.
As I write this, I’m honestly not sure what tomorrow will hold. Based on talking with many locals, the weather isn’t looking great to get to the top of Mt. Evans. Some of the forcasts call for a temperature at the top between 39-41 with rain most of tonight. My plan will be to ride from Evergreen to to the Mt. Evans entrance gate which is about 18 miles and 4,000 ft climb. At that point, if the weather looks good up the slope, I’ll start the ascent. Depending on how the weather changes, will determine how far I get before I have to turn around, or actually make it to the top. My guess is that it will take around 6 hours for the entire climb. Wish me luck.
Regardless of what happens, I’ll be finishing up in Idaho Springs after 6 days of riding over the past 7 days. I have to say that this probably the hardest ride I’ve done to date. Mostly due to the extreme climbing. I hope to write a final recap of my ride in coming days.
Thanks for following and talk soon…
Day 4 of our ride was truly an epic climb. As I had already anticipated, riding up the Trail Ridge Rd from the West was a solid climb of 4,000 ft to over 12,000, the highest point yet in our week of riding in Colorado. I hope you are friends on Facebook and can see some of the video I captured up this climb.
The day started at 3am (the time I awoke and couldn’t go back to sleep). It was cold, in the 40’s and I was a the food truck at 4am to get a hot bowl of oatmeal and coffee. Due to some timing requirements by our ride director and the park rangers, we had to be in the park gates by 7am, and with a 15 mile ride with about 800 ft of climbing that meant we had to be on the road by 5:30am. Ugh!
I have to say the early start and frigid temperatures really put a damper on things early in the day. Due to the mountain shadow in the sun, I don’t believe we got any relief from the temps until around 9am. But we trudged on.
From around 8:30-10:45, the climb had really started at mile 26. See the elevation chart on the pic above. It was an epic climb. The pic below was about 1/2 way up. You can see the valley that we came up from behind me.
By around 10:45am, 5 hours after I had started, and about 41 miles, I had finally reached the summit, and it was beautiful. The sun was out, a clear blue sky and life was good. The pic below was at the summit. See all the snow!
After catching our breath, it was time for use to spend all that potential energy we had gained climbing up and headed down the mountain. And it was a blast. Racing down at spreeds over 40 mph, Kevin and I had to stop often, as we were coming up on the backs of cars who were going TOO SLOW. Here is a great pic with Kevin Spinhirne and myself about halfway down the east side into the park.
We really enjoyed our way down the hill checking in at different spots to view the park. We ended up at Estes Park High School where we checked into a rented home (great find Marilyn!). Steve, Kevin and I went into the park today and enjoyed the peak again along with the Alluvial Fan Falls. I had been there in 2009, and in 2011, with a great flood, the river at the base had been totally redirected with all the washout of rock and dirt. If you ever come to Rocky Mountain National Park, you need to check these out.
I’m getting a little concerned as I write this, as it’s starting to get cold and rainy here. Tomorrow we have probably the most climbing in one day of over 9,000 ft as we make our way to Evergreen, CO, in preparation for the Mt. Evens ascent on Saturday. One thing that I may have to come to the realization of is that Mt. Evans may not be possible on Saturday if the weather is bad. At that height (over 14,000 ft), it could be really nasty with wind and rain, or even snow. I’m crossing my fingers. That we’ll be fine.
Talk with you from Evergreen…
Today, our ride took us over 103 miles from Edwards, CO to Granby, CO, which is at the base of the awesome Trail Ridge road headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. More on that later.
The ride today was difficult on really two accounts. First is was a century, which is always tough. But second, we climbed 7,548 ft, as you can see by the elevation chart down below. It was tough, as we had multiple climbers over the day. We also saw the lowest part of our trip at just over 6,900 ft. By the end of the ride, I had been in the saddle over 7 ad 1/2 hours. Ouch!
The day started at about 4:45am as we packed up our tents and got some breakfast. On the road around 6:30am. From the start, we had a nice downhill start, but quickly picked up the elevation in some of the Western reaches of Colorado that is much drier and barren from trees. The decent into the deep valleys was really nice, as we go to see some amazing rock formations that have been created over millions of years of erosion.
After a coule of smaller climbs, we finally ascended to the highest part of our ride today, Gore Pass, which is also the Continental Divide. This will be the last time we cross over the Continental Divide this trip.
Once we went over the Divide, it was very fast 12+ mile descent down to the valley and along the Colorado river. At mile 98, the rain had finally caught me, and I got to finish in a fairly light shower. It felt good, as the day was starting to get hot at that time.
Right now, I sit here writing this half asleep, as I’m really cooked after this long day. We have an even earlier wake up call tomorrow at 4am. We need to be on the road around 5:30am to enter Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) by 7am. Wish me luck.
If you have ever been to RMNP before, we will be coming up Trail Ridge Rd. I’ve driven that before and thought it was one of the most beautiful drives I’d been on. We’ll exit RMNP after taking in some sites, into Estes Park, where Steve, Marilyn, Kevin and I will have a rest day on Thursday. It will be a much needed break from the daily grind.
I’ll try to get a blog in tomorrow night, but wouldn’t be surprised if it is delayed into Friday.
Talk to you from Estes Park…
Writing to you tonight from Edwards, CO located just west of Vail/Beaver Creek on Interstate 70. Today started out a bit chilly. Felt like the 40’s, however, we did get one report of 37 degrees. Overall, I clocked in a ride of 78 miles over 5 hr 22 min giving me an average of 14.6 mpg. I’d like that to be a bit higher, but hard to do when you are going up hills at 5. Today, we climbed 4,570 ft. Checkout the map and the elevation chart below.
As I said, it was chilly start, especially since we have a nice downhill start in the trees, allowing very little sun to hit us. We travelled about 12 miles until we started the climb up to Freemont Pass (11,318 ft). If you’ve ever been to Copper Mountain, this is the road that heads South off of I-70. This is actually a fairly easy climb, but it goes on for about 24 miles. And checkout this beautiful lake just before the summit.
After a short rest stop, Steve and I had a nice 14’ish mile descent as we passed through the Leadville, which sits at a cool 10,000 ft elevation. Next stop was Tennesee Pass a somewhat short and forgiving climb. And a bonus of crossing the Continental Divide on a second day in a row. Guess what? We get to do it again tomorrow!
After Battle Mountain, we had a nice 16 mile descent into the city of Edwards, CO. As you might be able to see from the pics, as you had further west in Colorado, it gets drier and hotter. Tonight, I’m in a tent and I’ve got. 4:45am wake up call, so we can get an early start on tomorrow’s 102 mile ride to Granby, CO. It’s also a day where we have 5 climbs. According to my ride sheets, around 8,000 ft of climbing. Wish me luck.
I’ll talk with you again from Granby, CO…
Hello everybody from Silverthorne, CO! Today, we completed our first day of the Colorady Rocky Mountain Bike Tour (aka CRMBT) starting in Idaho Sprinds, CO and heading over Loveland Pass, Keystone Ski Area, over Swan Mountain and into the city of Breckenridge, CO. It was just over 51 miles and 5,669 ft of climbing. The ride time was 4hr 48 min, and for those doing the calculations at home it was a measly 10.7 mph average. Ughh. This was due to many factors including the 5,669 ft of climbing and the high altitude.
Here is the map and elevation of the ride:
The start was around 7:30 with myself, Kevin Spinhirne and Steve Horowitz (see picture below) as we all met for a pre-ride meeting. The ride has a total of around 120 riders this year, which I think is nice, as we can have time to meet and get to know a few.
The day got very busy from the start, as we rode the first 25+ miles from the start at 7,500’ish to 11,990 ft elevation. We saw inclines at times of over 10%. At 11:18am, I got to the summit where Kevin was waiting for me. He is a really good hill rider. We got this great pic,
Next step was to focus on the 3,000 ft descent down thru Keystone Ski Area to Frisco. I was able to get up to 42.9 mph. Tried to go faster, but the wind coming up the mountain wasn’t playing nice. After our finish around 1pm at Breckenridge Recreation Center, Marilyn picked us up and we have had a very nice night with our longtime friends, Barry and Laurie Skolnick. This also allowed us to skip hanging out in our tents during an afternoon of rain. Also to make it even better, Marilyn made us all a fabulous dinner prepping us for a long day tomorrow.
Speaking of, tomorrow, we start from Breckenridge, head down to Copper Moutain Ski area, up to Fremont Pass and then over to Minturn and down to Edwards. Just over 70 miles. It should be a tough day of climbing up to Fremont Pass and then some good downhill riding.
I am posting video up on my Facebook page. If you want to see those videos and your aren’t friends, look me up.
If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comments section of the blog.
Until Edwards, CO, goodnight!
Hey everyone! Long time since I last sent an update on my biking adventures. One week from today, I’ll be starting yet another Colorado bike tour on the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour.
As their own website puts it, it should be EPIC! We have 10 mountain passes we’ll be traversing over 6 days and 438 miles. And to make it really memorable, we’ll be riding on the highest paved road, the Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park (12,183ft) and later to the peak of Mt. Evens at 14,271ft! The overall map for this years ride is (just click on the map to see the details daily route):
Steve Horowitz and I completed the BTC bike tour from last year. We will be joined this year by another riding buddy here in the DFW area, Kevin Spinhirne. Kevin is a great rider, that will be blazing the trails for us as I try to keep up with him.
One item of note, I’ll be riding a new rig this year, a 2016 Specialized Rubaix SL4 Comp with Ultegra Di2. I’ve had it since May and it’s been a blast to ride. Can’t wait to hit the mountains with it.
While in Colorado, in addition to riding with Steve and Kevin, I’ll also be able to spend some time with good friends, the Spainhours and Skolnicks. We will have a rest day while in Estes Park, just outside the Rocky Mountain National Park, when we’ll be joined by Marilyn. These moments always makes it special.
My intent is to provide some daily blog about the adventure, as well as some video from the rides. Be sure to keep a lookout on this website and Facebook.
Talk with you soon!
Whew! What a great time on Saturday as I was able to complete 132.5 miles over 9:16:11. I made it 5 laps and didn’t think I had enough in the tank to complete another lap before the 11 hour time limit (more on that later). The overall results for the ride can be found at my Strava link, but some of the details I’ve cut/past below:
Strava calculated a bit more distance, as this was additional riding off course to my pit area between laps. As you can see from these numbers, I was moving (i.e. on the saddle) for roughly 8 hours 32 min, which calculates to about 41 minutes spent resting between laps.
The map and elevation chart below provides a glimpse to the type of climbing on each lap. Although the elevation isn’t that high, it’s all the added rise in elevation of 6,511 feet on the entire day. That unbelievably is more than a single day during my ride in Colorado this summer. I definitely got a workout on every little hill.
Breaking down each lap. Each lap was the same total of 26.5 miles. I stopped after each lap for some pit stop time, so every lap after 1 will be a bit longer for this rest.
Lap 1 – 1:37:41
We started at 6am in pitch darkness. Of course we were all outfitted with lights and reflective vests, but I have to say that it was a bit nerve racking going 30 mph down some of the hills with a little light that probably illuminated a 10ft circle only 20ft in front of us. There was a lot of concern about hitting something and going down. But I made my first lap with a respectable 1:37:41, ending with a beautiful sunrise and ready for lap 2.
Lap 2 – 1:38:18
I was very pumped on the 2nd lap. As you can see from that lap time, I was very close to the first, meaning that with my included pit stop time, I really didn’t lose much speed, in fact my speed was faster on the 2nd lap. One thing I did on the 2nd lap was to figure out what my 30 min and 1 hr mark were on the route in order to gauge my deficits on the following laps. After this 2nd lap, I has 53 miles in the bank and felt great.
Lap 3 – 1:47:22
Lap 3 continued to be a strong one for me. My arrival at the 30 min and 1 hr checkpoint were only about 40 sec in the deficit, so I calculated that I was only about 2 min off my lap 2 pace. By this point, I had completed 79.5 miles and I was still feeling great. At this pit stop after lap 3, I did wolf down a turkey/cheese sandwich with a protein shake and lots of water. Time to get back on the bike and complete the 4th lap.
Lap 4 – 1:53:14
Lap 4 was a special lap, as I was over the century mark at 106 miles. Now this was more of a mental think as the century mark is always a big thing for riders, but today, I wanted the 100 mile mark to just be that, a mark in my journey to a long ride. My total lap distance was probably only about 3-4 minutes longer than lap 3. I had spent an extra amount of time after lap 3 eating food, so I knew it would be a bit longer. But now I was looking at going into a territory that I hadn’t been before. Previous to today, I had only ridden 119 miles as my longest, my ride into Gillette, WY last year on the Big Ride Across America.
Lap 5 – 2:19:36
Up to this point, I really hadn’t mentioned or notice anything about the weather. In fact, I believe the high was only 90 degrees. This probably doesn’t sound like much, as 90 air temp is quite nice. However with no clouds, the sun was just baking us. There was little shade on route and the combination of the sun and a slight wind out of the NE did in fact cause me to suffer. There was a rest stop at mile 10 on the route, and I had plenty of fluids on previous laps that I didn’t need to stop. On this lap, I was completely out of fluids and had to stop. I did, for about 10 minutes and took on a good bottle or two of water, filled my bottles with more water and Gatorade, and I was off.
The remaining 17 miles of this lap was very difficult. First, it was quite lonely out in the middle of no where and I felt my pace dropping with each pedal stroke. I felt like I had nothing in the tank, no energy and becoming mentally exhausting…do I stop at the end of this lap, or do I continue? You really start to second guess yourself when you get into this state. If I continue, I’ll make my goal, but if I continue, I could harm myself by totally bonking and going down hard. By mile 20, I had made up my mind. I would stop after this lap. Because of the rules of the 11 hours time limit, I listened to my brain. I wanted the last 6.5 miles to be enjoyable as I finished this race to be my own PR of 132.5 miles. As I crossed the time check at the end, I told the time keepers I was done, no more for me. They tried to encourage me to continue, but I had had it.
In the end, I had come in 12th place for the 12 hour bike race. 2 solo riders had completed 8 laps. My hat off to them. The entire completion include about 200 riders, some of who rode 500 miles. You read that correctly. The winner went 500 miles in a whopping 28 hours and 53 minutes. The 2nd place finisher and fast female finished just 30 min later in 29 hours and 21 minutes. AMAZING!
Now, you may be wondering why there was an 11 hour time limit for a 12 hour race. The race organizers finished all races at 5pm on Saturday. And for some unknown reason they started my 12 hour race at 6am on Saturday, leaving only 11 hours to complete. I can’t blame that for the reason that I didn’t do a 6th lap, but mentally, it added to my decision to stop after 5 laps.
One more note…when I checked in, they asked where my crew was. Ummmm, I had not crew, it was just me. So, they pointed to the pit area for me to setup. I had no crew, no awning, no tent, just me my bike and my ice chest full of fluids/food. Note to self on future endurance rides…talk someone in to helping crew for me. In fact, I’d like to try this event in the future with a partner or 2 as a team event.
I was riding with some incredible riders, many of whom compete in the RAAM – Race Across America every year. These guys and gals are incredible. It was a great experience and I hope to take another crack at a 12 hour or possibly 23 hour race in the future.
I think this will be my last organized/race in 2015, as I’m getting tired. 🙂 I hope to dial down my distance and enjoy the cool weather ahead. And I want to thank you, the reader, for putting up with my long blogs and sending me words or encouragement throughout the year.
Until next ride…
Ready or not!
As we start the fall down here in Texas (actually it’s still in the mid 90s, what the heck), I’ve ridden my last training ride before I hit the road this Saturday at 6am for a 12 hour race at the Texas Time Trials. One of my goals this year was to get in a long 150+ mile ride at some point. If I can stay strong on Saturday, I should hopefully get to that goal. You can see my results live on Saturday at the following URL. Note that they are updated as I complete each lap, so it won’t be too exciting.
I’m lucky number 113.
The ride is located about 2 hours SE of where I live in the town of Glen Rose, TX. The course is a nice 26.5 miles, with lots of hills, about 1,250 ft of climbing. I rode this course with Kevin S about 6 weeks ago. Here was the map from our ride. Do the math of 6 laps and that is 7,500 ft of climbing. That will slow me down.
Now, 12 hours sounds crazy even to me, however, there are riders that are doing 24, 36 and 48 hour rides going up to 500 miles. Guess something for me to look forward to.
My goal is to get in 6 laps. That should equate to 159 miles with a pace of 13.25 mph. I’ll have to keep my breaks to a minimum.
I will be posting more race day info from my Facebook Page and Twitter (@tsigle).
Talk with you soon…
Our highest and longest day of the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. Guess there is a reason they do this after a rest day.
The Best – Probably the reason I stated above, that this was the highest and longest day of the tour. Cottonwood Pass, at 12,126 ft, was the highest point we’ll see this year. The view from up there was amazing.
The Worst – The 20-30 mph straight headwind into our face as we traveled from Bueno Vista to Salida. Although we did descend during this stint, it was relentless. The other thing to add, was that although the plan was to make this a 91 mile day, the actual distance, according to my bike computer was 100.16 miles.
The Most Surprising – Although there was a 14 mile dirt section on this ride, from Taylor Lake to Cottonwood Pass, the road was actually 1000% better than the day before up to Kepler Pass. Hard to explain, other than it was much more packed without all the loose gravel.
The hardest part of the day was waking up from a day of rest. I left around 7:10am, and started the decent from Crested Butte to Almont which is on the Taylor River. Me and another rider took turns on the pull, and we got there with a good 25+ mpg average.
Made the left turn and headed up the canyon of the Taylor River. This is an amazing road as there are canyons and forest surrounding the rushing river. At one point of the ride, I even came upon a free running cow. FaceBook friends can see video of that.
We travelled around the lake and started our treck up the dirt road to Cottonwood Pass. That took a good 2-3 hours to travel the 14 mile section. It was a steep but steady road. The pic below shows the view near the top looking back West towards Taylor Lake. You can also faintly see the dirt road just right of the middle of the picture used to get up to this point.
I do have some pics from the top of the Pass, but unfortunately, they are on Michelle’s camera and I’ll have to post those as an update later.
Now comes the really fun part. After that massive climb, we are rewarded with an aweseme descent down the East side of the pass. Just checkout the elevation below to see how long of a descent that is. We dropped almost 5,000 feet over a 20 mile section. I got up to 42.2 mph, but could’ve seen a faster speed had I not put on the brakes. Believe me, going that speed is a bit nerve racking, as any rock, crack or high speed turn could really upset my day.
Folloing the descent ito Bueno Vista, I met up with my family for a nice lunch, and I was off to my ride down to Salida, which felt like the 2nd half of my ride. It was a ride straight into a 20-30 mph wind. And to make things worse, as my bike computer passed 91 miles, Salide was still another 8 miles away. Folks wearn’t happy about this.
Unfortunately, I had some technical issues with my MapMyRide and my iPhone, so I don’t have a graph and elevaation chart of the actual ride. I did end of riding fo 6 hrs and 57 minues over 100.16 miles with a 14.3 mph average.
As of tonight, we’ve ridden 350 miles, with another 80 to go tomorrow.
It’s a little sad that our last day is tomorrow. I don’t feel as sad as I did last year on my Big Ride Across America, but the riding here in Colorado has definitely been different with the climbing, something I wanted to experiance, and I’ll miss that when I head back to Texas and flat, straight roads.
Tomorrow we have another tough day of 80 miles as we go from our current 7,000 ft elevation to over 10,500 ft over Hoosier pass and to the end in Breckenridge.
Talk with you from Breckenridge. Well maybe…it is our last day, and I’ve got a lot of travel ahead to get back to Texas, so not sure if I’ll get around to my Day 7 post for awhile.
Sorry for not getting out Day 4 on time. It was the day leading up to our rest day in Crested Butte, and I got really busy with rest. 🙂
The Best – Finishing the last ride day before a day of rest
The Worst – On the way up to Kebler Pass, just over 10,000 ft, which overlooks Crested Butte, there is 21 miles of a dirt, and even worst gravel road. This doesn’t play well with road bikes. My tires, generally between 90-100 psi, sends shockwaves of every rock I ride over into my seat. Ouch! For 21 miles.
The Most Suprising – That I didn’t get a flat on the dirt road. I did have to replace my back tire on my rest day, as it had cuts all over and on the sidewall.
The morning started out again, a bit cold, which was surprising due to the heat the evening before. Had a quick breakfast and started the ride around 7:20am. There are a couple of days that this ride doubles back on the road from the day before. This was one of those days. For the first half of the ride, we basically travelled the same road we came down into Hotchkiss the day before. After we turned to the right, we started up the insane dirt road to our first summit of Kepler Pass. Note on the elevation below this was a rated class 1 climb, and it sure seemed like it, all on dirt road.
The pic below is taken from the first long switchback on the dirt road, at the valley below.
One thing I forgot to do in the morning was fill up both of my waterbottles. Doh! This wasn’t good, as I ran out on that climb in the dirt. I was parched as I got to the Aid station at the top of the first summit.
After that, we descended into a little valley and final ascended the main goal of the day, Kepler pass. At the top of that, we had a great view of Crested Butte. It was a great descent down into the city of Crested Butte, except for yet another 3 miles section of dirt/gravel.
After finishing, I really felt like this was on of the most difficult rides I’ve been on. It was only 56 miles, but it felt like 200 with all the dirt/gravel and climbing. I was happy to be done.
I was rewarded at the end of my ride with a rest day, and it was very special, as I got to stay with some very special people in Crested Butte, who resides at the bottom of Crested Butte. On my rest day, we got to climb to the top of Crestied Butte, somewhere around 12,000 ft. We did get some help by catching a ski lift about 3/4 the way up to the peak. My FaceBook page has a 360 degree view from that peak.
After the rest day, we have our hightest peak to go over, as well as the longest day of 91 miles. We’ll end in Salida, CO.
Talk with you from Salida.