High Plains Adventure

Endless Sometimes, a ride can be summed up with a simple twitter or facebook post. But sometimes, that just won’t cut it. And today’s ride was like that. As you may know, I have this little race coming up, so getting in miles and hopefully some dirt is key. Luckily, someone pointed me at the AntiEpic gravel grinder that I just missed when I moved to Denver. And I decided to take that route and modify it a bit to fit a distance that I wanted, etc.

So here’s the 1st lesson of planning a ride like this: don’t trust a single map source. You see this:

You may think that Co 42 continues through considering there is a double line road. Unfortunately, when you have wheels on the ground you find that it doesn’t exist. I don’t even know if a road ever existed there. Also later in the round I found a second dead end, but knew which road to take back so I could backtrack…

Oh, and you notice how I went north on two roads there? Well, besides having some of the worst washboard roads I had encountered yet, I got chased by a dog and got a flat. Fun!

The second lesson for actually riding something like this: you’re seeing things that many people never will. Enjoy it! This may include seeing half a dozen pronghorns, prairie dogs and red tail hawks. You’ll see old farmhouses, abandoned barns, cows that are freakishly unarmed by a guy on a bike.

I believe my adventures in finding new routes based mostly on memory also caused my downfall. I started to eat only in reaction to being hungry. Like scarfing an entire pack of shot blocks or an entire Clif mojo bar isn’t a clue… And eventually my route took me on this southbound stretch. Straight into a headwind. On a road with sand for a surface. And rolling hills. Those 11 miles were difficult.

I crawled into town, temps had dropped below 50 degrees. I was bonked and sought food in the form of a cheeseburger and ducked into the grocery store for a bit of a warmup before tackling the last 13 miles back to my car. And it rained on the way back.

What a day to be out on the bike. Despite the “downers” it was all great. Loved the challenge and thought it went pretty well in the end!

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rballou/sets/72157629557871962/