Loveland to Estes Park – First Day


006Sometimes something just dawns on you: a moment of clarity worth paying attention to. As I picked up my rider’s packet it occurred to me that all the hard work of the past seven months brought me to this moment. A touch of the pedals, and I’m on my way. And so I was, at 7:20 after rider’s meeting.

Estes Park lies at the east entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, and our route led us up past Horsetooth reservoir into the Big Thompson canyon, and then CO highway 42 – this last portion, so we could suffer more. The grade kicked up into the 9 -10 percent range, and ended with two wicked switchbacks. The photo to the left captures my expression of joy and disbelief at having ascended this heinous climb. [And this is only the first day of riding?] The route map can be found here.

We descended into Estes Park with 14259′ Long’s Peak towering over us and the rounded crags of Lumpy Ridge. I arrived just in time to avoid a thunderstorm. The ride details: 49 miles, 4610 feet of climbing, 14.2 mph avg speed.

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