Monday, July 6, 2015

My Summer Bucket List Ride

All along my plan has been to switch over from training for the Aspen Backcountry Marathon to a more ultra focused type of training once the race was over. As part of that plan and to keep training volume high while minimizing abuse on the body I had also planned on really incorporating the bike more once I made the switch.

And I've been doing that the past few weeks actually. Mostly riding to mitigate this sore tendon in my foot but to also build up some strength on the bike again. That being said, the expedition of a ride that I took on yesterday I knew would be a stretch but at the same time felt that it would be quite doable as well.

I hatched the plan for this ride months ago. Basically a loop leaving Aspen, over Independence Pass to Twin Lakes and then shoot down 24 to Buena Vista where I would hopefully be able to stop at Pancho's for a burrito. After that, things get challenging again with a ride up Cottonwood Pass, then down the backside to Taylor Park where I would take the Taylor Park Road nearly all the way to the end where the Taylor Pass Road turns off of it. Taylor Pass road goes up to Taylor Pass and from there I could drop down Express Creek Road to Castle Creek Road and bomb home... easy, right.

Anyway... I did it and had a blast. I even got the burrito for breakfast. Did the entire ride solo and except for stopping at Pancho's everything else that I needed I had in my pack.

133 miles of riding with 17,599 feet of gain, in 13:38:23.

Here are some pics...

03:21 start in the morning. The bike is ready to go.
The first obstacle, Indy Pass. Not so bad going up but I damned near froze to death the whole way down to Twin Lakes.
Got my order at Pancho's just after 8 in the morning. Mondo Combo Burrito Please!
Love these things!
Ready to get going again... Next... Cottonwood Pass!
Made it up but it was damned hard. Headwind the first half up the pass which posed a challenge. The ride down the Gunnison side of Taylor Pass was a riot! 
In Taylor Park looking up towards Italian and Lambertson Peaks.
The same peaks zoomed in some.
Ready to head up Taylor Pass. It was bad. I have been on this road before and forgot just how horrible it was. Let me put it this way... I would not take my Jeep up it and ended up pushing the bike most of the way. Would not want to ride DOWN it either! I was at about 112 miles here.
From the top of Taylor Pass looking east towards Taylor Reservoir and Cottonwood Pass. I rode that whole valley.
Just one more fun drop to go down Express Creek Road to link up with Castle Creek Road and then to home. 16.5 mile to go and it took me 1:08.
Yay! Finally home! My biggest ride ever as well as the most vertical gained in a day ever too. But most importantly it was a blast, I had fun, and it was exactly the little "adventure" that I have been needing.

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