Friday, July 3, 2009

Hypoxia--yes we hit the Columbine Mine

We woke up late and found lots of clouds waiting for us so we did the "normal" thing and procrastinated some more. We finally rolled out of the condo at about about 11 AM without any real plan. As we headed up to Leadville, the weather seemed to be getting nicer and nicer so we decided to ride Columbine. We jumped out of the truck to suit up and of course, the rain started.  Surprisingly, it only lasted several minutes and gave way to summershine--off came the knickers and away we went, never seeing another drop. The road has been recently graded so it was kind of banged up--much rougher than I remembered from last year. We made pretty quick time of the first 5 miles. The road turns to a very rough double track loaded with baby heads--we rode it, however it may be tough on race day because the up hill line is really loose--we'll see. After making a wrong turn, we got back on course just in time for some really steep loose stuff that I conveniently forgot about--no chance of riding--I was putting out 350+ watts in my granny gear and as you all know, that wasn't gonna last long at 12,300 ft, so I hopped off and hoofed it. I was super impressed with Big Dave--he made it up to the turn-around without any problems--and only several brief no talk, no listen zones. There was no forgetting the descent--it's long, steep and loose and "slightly out of control" until you hit the road 2 miles from the top. The next 5 miles down is not technical but holy crap our hands were sore. We stopped to enjoy the view and take a cheesy tourist shot.

Halfway up--going strong...

Halfway up + 100 yards--still going strong...

Big Dave just after the road turns to double track--5 miles up at about 11,500 ft.

Not so original, but I thought it looked nice.

Just before the really steep part that crushed us close to 12,000 ft...

Gigantic Big Dave motoring across the top--12,600 ft--just before the turn around.

Say cheezy! Little more than half way down--had to stop and rest the hands.

This is today's route. Click for a better view.

Talk about straight up... 3200ft of climbing (some walking) in 7.5 miles--I think it's fair to say we both felt really good about today's ride.

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