Finally got the new road bike built up with....for the most part....proper partner componentry. New bikes do strange things to people. They beg to be ridden....broken in....ridden right the first time out. With a fantastic weather pattern flowing over Colorado right now (no clouds, temps in mid 80Fs), I decided to do a ride I have been eyeing for some time now. Basically, ride from the house in Ft Collins up to 12,000 ft on Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mountain National Park.....then ride home. It's a big road ride, with 120 miles and around 9500 feet of vertical. All the climbing comes mostly in the first half of the ride as the second you leave Fort Collins a 5300 ft.....you begin the steady climb up to 12,000 ft.
The ride as a whole was good! The ride up was uneventful, except for a front flat tire. The higher elevations were slow going, but it was expected with the duration of the ride and climbing forecasted. RMNP was having a 'free' day today, so no gate fee to get in. Bonus!
The turn-around point at about 12,000 feet in RMNP.
The ride back is easy on paper, but a 60 mile ride home into a small headwind made for some suffering.
Stopped in Estes Park for the coveted Coke and to refill bottles. I don't drink soda often. A personal rule: I only drink soda.....or 'pop' as the Midwest folk know it....when I either ride 100+ miles or hit the 8+ hour mark on the bike. Got 1 of 2 of those today. Drink up! Over the course of the 120 miles and 7 hours on the bike, I went through 9 bottles of water and/or PowerBar Endurance. It was dry out there today!
Got to say, I am worked after the ride. Not sure I have ever ridden that far on the road bike prior to today. It's a waaaaay different experience than the same distance on the mtb bike. If you live in Fort Collins and have a good weather window, this is a great challenging route to add to your 'bucket list'.
GPS data can be seen on Strava here: http://app.strava.com/rides/1739570