Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Colorado MS 150 (or 200 in my case)

First, confessions. I am about four hours of work short this week. The big miss was Friday. My flight was very late getting back to Denver Thursday night so I got to bed about 1:30. That left me trashed all day Friday and with the weekend rides planned I had to take the day off.

Colorado MS 150


This would be a good time to make a shameless plea for money. If you have a spare $10, $20, $50 or $100 go to my MS 150 website and make a pledge. With the economy so bad people who have MS, and always need help, are really in trouble now.


The ride this year went from Westminster to Ft. Collin and back. Same route more or less as last year with two big changes. The century loop up Hwy 7 in Lyons was not an option because of a festival in Lyons. And the route along Carter Lake had to be eliminated because our bike-unfriendly sheriff in Larimer County decided it would interfere with the boaters too much.

That presented me with the problem of finding my own century route first day.

Of course this is a charity event with the main objective getting contributions. To that end over the last few years the chapter has made a lot of changes to make the route better for less enthusiastic rides like me. Still the route in Colorado is tough for a lot of people. But the ride sold out at 3000 riders.

Because of the route changes the first day route was only planned at 72 miles. To make it a century I went left at Masonville up CR-27 known to the locals as Buckhorn Road. It ate my lunch. It was 14 miles of steep climbs broken up with really steep climbs. Here is the warning sign for trucks going down the climb I had just finished. Believe me bikes are in their low gear coming up. It took two hours to climb the 14 miles then I turned around and coasted back to Masonville and rejoined the tour. Exactly 100 miles and 4, 300 feet of climbs.

12% Grade on Buckhorn Rd

The second day was much better planned. There was a century route planned and it was spectacular. The climb up Rist Canyon was very pretty and not particularly steep--absolutely nothing like Buckhorn Rd and Rist Canyon on the west side. Near the top we looped back and rode along Horsetooth Lake. I was very surprised to find some real climbs along the lake where the mountains had been dammed.

Horsetooth Lake looking SE

Most of the big climbs were in the first 30 miles but there were plenty of climbs for those not doing the century route. All told, a very good ride of 99 miles and 3,910 feet of climbs.

By the way, almost everyone is on the ride to have fun and they don't take the actual ride too seriously. Rest areas are every 10-12 miles so A LOT of riders consider it 6 short rides between rest/snak/lunch areas. For me it is helpful because I don't have to carry as much food and drink.


For me, however, it was more serious than fun. Back to back centuries with about 4,000 feet of climbs each day is getting close to what I will have to sustain for 26 days. Overall the pace was a little slow and I needed to push out another hour or two. But the ride startes in ten weeks and my confidence is increasing.

Totals for the week: 253 miles, 15:40 hours in the saddle, 8,210 feet climbs and 8143 calories.

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