Sunday, June 23. Canon City to Buena Vista
Started at my hotel, Hampton Inn, which added three miles to the trip. Route went Hwy 50 to Hwy 9 to Hwy 24 then to Hwy 285. The climb on 9 was steep at times and once at the top the wind was at my back. But once I turned on 24 it was strong headwind. The descent into Buena Vista was tricky with gusty winds, narrow shoulder and lot of traffic.
Elapsed time 6:50, 6:17 ride time, 6210' climb and 90 miles.
Monday, June 24. Buena Vista to Aspen
Day started cold along the Arkasas River ranging from 37 to 42 with a north wind in my face.
The climb to Independence Pass (12,095) was tough but the road was reasonable. From the east side the climb has several huge switch backs such that you can see your route climbing the face of the mountain. Gets your attention.
The descent is a hard one. There are several places called the narrows where the road is especially narrow--one place about 1 lane. And the road is rough with lots of turns. Really worked my brakes.
The dumbest thing was routing down a soft bike path and I didn't even need to do it. Before I realized I didn't need to go down this soft dirt path I was on the wrong side of a huge ravine with a fast river. I rode to the 70 mile aid station, pumped my tires, and then rode ten miles back to my hotel. The hotel--Limelight--was very nice and Aspen was bumping.
Ride time 6:30, 5124' climb, 80 miles
Tuesday, June 25, Aspen to Paonia
Had a late breakfast at the Limelight because no one in Aspen opens before 6:30. I had only oatmeal. A mistake. On the road a 6:50.
Took Hwy 82 to Carbondale and caught Hwy 133 reaching the starting point at 8:30. By this time I had already rode 30 miles and had 60 miles to go. The first aid station was at mile 27 so I would go 57 miles on my own food and water (and oatmeal doesn't fuel me that well).
The climb up McClure Pass was steep up to 10%. The hard climb was only 3 miles long but it was definitely hard. The aid station had water but little food. I am toward the back.
The descent was not much fun. Lots of wind in the face kept speed down and challenging to keep control.
Coming up on aid station 2 I noticed the traffic stopped. At first I thought it was a bunch of personal SAGs but then I saw they were in the road and the cyclists were not moving either. There was an accident and the road was closed. A woman cyclists hit a truck and had to be airlifted out. We waited for 30 minutes for the road to reopen.
Ate a 2 tamale lunch at the Paonia Park which was the little town's idea of a festival.
Ride time 5:50, climb (from profile) 5600, 90 miles.
Wednesday, June 26, Paonia to Crested Butte
A real surprising ride. The ride was supposed to have two options; a 47 miles ride with lots of dirt road and a 110 mile pavement road. But the BTC was not going to support the pavement ride (mostly along Hwy 50) so that really wasn't an option.
The 47 mile ride had 24 miles of dirt road. 21 of those times were on the climb. And the climb was steep to Kebler Pass (unmarked). The dirt was hard but had washboards and gouges so it was pretty rough. But the views were terrific and the meadows full of wild flowers. Very pretty.
Ride time 4:25, climb 4670', and 47 miles.
Thursday, June 27, day off in Crested Butte
Staying at the Inn at Crested Butte. Nice enough but no air conditioning and a cold breakfast. Fortunately I bought a breakfast pass so I went over and had a second breakfast more to be sure I knew the way for Friday morning.