Though I try to avoid cliches, I am compelled to say, What a difference a day makes. After forgetting my GPS and going back to the hotel to find it, I was an hour late getting started on a day in the Gore Range with four significant climbs. It was one of those little mistakes you feel all day long.
I chased back onto the group and got to our first rest stop 10 minutes before closing time to grab some much needed water. By then the temps had warmed into the high 70’s with bright sun, and I lost the early morning advantage of shade. The south facing slopes became the oven; I became the main course. Nothing to do but soldier on and hope that your wonderful wife will pass by with an ice-cold coconut water. Thankfully she did.
I persisted to Gore Pass – doing all the climbing for the day, but passed on the rest of the miles. Instead I enjoyed the best breakfast burrito of my life in Kremmling, CO. 53 miles, 6000 feet climbed. Kremmling also has horse parking.
The next day was oh so different…
After sleeping on a solid recovery meal and breakfasting on my secret weapon [Naked Juice Blue Machine and oatmeal], we made the 7 am deadline to the park entrance.
Last year my experience on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park included sleet, wind and a touch of hypothermia. Today was one of those days where you almost need to pinch yourself because it’s so good. You want to take each moment and freeze it in time. As we climbed through the many ramps and switchbacks to treeline we were swallowed by an immense deep blue sky. We rode across that sky to Iceberg Pass, and there began our descent 17 miles down to Estes Park. Nothing stood in our way except a large heard of elk, and we were only too happy to let them pass.