The plan was to jump on the cyclocross bike for the "easy" version of Ring the Peak ( a lap around Pikes Peak) on dirt and paved roads. Then on another day, climb on the mountain bike for a long day of Ringing the Peak on trails.
As it happened, June 11 and June 18 would be the chosen days. Mostly because Scott N. was available to join me for both rides. And the weather looked good.
Here is the Google Earth pic of the cyclocross ride around the Peak. Ride stats include: 75.6 miles, 5:03 ride time, 5932' of elevation gain and about 4300 calories burned.
Scott conned his buddy Mike R. to join us on his newly assembled Breezer mountain bike. He had the advantage on the washboards and deep gravel, for sure.
Here we are posing in front of some spectacular rocks along Gold Camp Road:
Once we hit the pavement, we were rewarded with a tail-wind and ice cold water from a mountain spring. That is the back side of Pikes Peak in the background.
At this point, my legs had turned to cement (reasons unknown) but soon after ingesting this Costco frozen organic burrito, I started to feel better. I now carry one on every big ride!
A week later, we met at the bottom of High Drive at 7am for the mountain bike Ring the Peak. This time we got Todd B. to join us. It was decided over a sushi lunch the day before. I wonder if he knew what lay ahead?
Todd shot this at the top of the first hike-a-bike climb. We had been riding nearly 2 hours and were still in town. That's a hard way to start a ride like this. Right after this photo, we started riding and a large black bear appeared in front of us on the Ute Pass trail. Luckily, he ran the other way.
Here is the start of the second hike-a-bike, the Mount Esther trail. Half way up, I found out that my fancy new custom mountain bike shoes are not made for hiking. Blisters appeared on my heels and made the rest of the day's hiking pretty miserable.
After Mt. Esther, there are some really great sections of trail that eventually get you to here, the scenic Catamount Reservoir.
Here is Todd and Scott with the Peak and the "W's" in the background:
My co-worker Dave B. decided to drive up and ride the trail to meet us with delicious treats. We missed him by that much:
That was all the pictures that I took that day until Scott and Todd did their final emergence from the last single-track descent of the day, Trail 666 (Bear Creek).
That was a really long day to be riding (and hiking) a bike. Final ride stats include: 73 miles, around 9:00 ride time (and almost an hour of hiking), 13,800' of elevation gain and around 6600 calories burned. This ride was so long that the battery on my Garmin died at the mountain spring rest stop! That was only 2/3 of the way around.
After gaining big fitness from riding Ring the Peak, riding has become quite a bit easier. A short ride is now 4 hours. I wonder how long that perception will last?