Ride to OR Day 3: Estes Park to Boulder 55 miles
Today was really supposed to be a 65-mile day. The night before we came to find out a town that we were going to ride through wanted to charge us a bunch of money to go through so Iconic Adventures, our guides, decided to re-route us. With the help from some of the Smartwool staff that is based out of the Boulder office, a new route was established. I don’t know if anyone was really upset about doing 10 miles less since they also took out a 1,000ft of elevation gain.
I was feeling pretty over uphills and of course, the route started with an uphill on the Peak-to-Peak Highway out of Estes Park. There was no time for the legs to warm up because the first 7 or so miles were up. At least we were surrounded by more beautiful views on our ascent.
The fun started around mile 8 when gravity took over and helped us. There were a couple of short rollers that were an absolute blast to ride. In fact, I hit my highest ever speed, 49.4 mph, going down one of them. That was a rush! I was having issues shifting the front derailleur and couldn’t get into the big ring. This made me wonder if I could have gone even faster. At the rest stop our mechanic, Sean, took a look and found my crank was loose. That could have turned out way worse for me, but he fixed it and I was ready to continue.
Right after the rest stop, we were in for a treat. Almost 20 miles of downhill through South St. Vrain Canyon! We rode along a river with hordes of cyclists on the other side of the road heading up the canyon. I was very happy to be going down this and not having any more long climbs. The only downfall was the lower we went the hotter the temperature got. We were heading out to the Front Range and back into the 90s.
From St. Vrain Canyon we rode through the small towns of Lyons and Hygiene. In Hygiene our rest stop was at The Mountian Fountain. This place gets so many cyclists stopping by on the weekend that they have multiple bike racks out front and a Port-A-Potty to accommodate everyone. From there it was on to Boulder and getting back to reality. Once we left the mountains behind you could sense the ride portion of the trip was almost over. For some riders, it was over. They had to head to Denver and do set up for the OR Show or attend meetings so they wouldn’t be joining us on Day 4.
Being in Boulder did mean I got to see my cousin and a friend from high school. The Smartwool Boulder office also hosted a party to benefit The Nature Conservancy at the Rayback Collective. Not only that, but there were folks from the Connecticut Nature Conservancy that were out in Colorado for training. It was like a little slice of home tucked into Boulder. There was one more day of riding to go before I had to switch back into work mode for the Outdoor Retailer trade show.
Day 4 here!