Conquering the Divide

[singlepic id=118 w=320 h=240 float=left]It was a perfect fall day in the Colorado Rocky Mountains to do an epic MTB ride.  Five crazy guys decided to ride their bikes from Gilpin County over Rollings Pass Road, down to Winter Park, then turn around and come back over.

The group was made of some strong riders, Ben Welnak, Ken Boyer , good friend Jon Davis, and Michael Scott.  These guys are no slouches, and keep the pace moving quickly all day long.

I’ve heard of many people riding this route one way, but not both in a single day.  We started at the top of Hwy 119 and Hwy 46, and hit a county dirt road to get us over to Rollinsville.   We started off with one of the steeper climbs of the day, good thing we were fresh.   In little less then an hour, we were in Rollinsville and on our way up Rollins Pass road, a long low grade climb.  It’s fast spinning and we were at the base of Old Rollins Pass road, a 15mile 2-3% grade climb to the continental divide .   We started up the climb, and it is anything but easy, rocks and pot holes along the whole road.  The best line is at either side of the road, right on the edge.  We made it to the tunnel in 3hrs into the ride.

We rode pretty fast down the west side.  About 1/2 the way down, we found a Forest Service trail that look like it could be fun.  None of us have ridden this area before, but the trail pointed down, so we thought it was good.  It was a fun single track, used by motos and ATV’s,   At the bottom, we made a wrong turn, but shortly after that, we made a U-turn and were back on course.

Near the bottom of the road, we found a nice campground with fresh water.  We all decided we didn’t need to head into town for food, so we headed back the way we came, without the single track.  it was about 14 miles back up to the top.  This way was a bit easier, only because it was smoother, but the grade was the same, 2-3%. We took a break at the top to refuel, then headed over and back down to Rollinsville.

cd7 We all needed a little extra food to get us home,  8 mile ride on the Peak to Peak Hwy.  After the short break we were on our way back.  About 1k climbing left, but it was asphalt, so easy compared to what we were doing.

We finished the ride with 95miles, 9k climbing with riding time of just under 7hrs, total ride time was 10:15.

I wasn’t sure how I’d do with this ride,  I know I was fit enough, but I only had 4 hours sleep the night before.  Additionally, when I was gathering my fuel for the day, I had a hodgepodge of stuff,  that didn’t really make me comfortable for all day in the saddle.  I felt good for most of the day, but after the stop in Rollinsville, I was slow and tired. probably because of all the food I ate.

The next week and a half will be prepping for 24hrs of Moab 4 man team.  We are competing for the National Championship, Mens 35+

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cwilhelm

Head Coach for mtbcoach.com. USAC Certified Cycling Coach.

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