What Happened To Winter?
The last several weeks have been very, very, mild. Sub-zero temps in November have slowly given way to upper 50s and 60s. I don't particularly like this because I'm convinced we'll pay for it this spring. Nonetheless, Snowcatcher and I have been trying to take advantage of the situation the best we can. Following are some photos from the fourth week of January. I spent several rides playing in Deer Creek Canyon, and in SHORTS mind you.
Above is the portal to Deer Creek Canyon. Easy riding ends here. Beyond lies several climb options. Day one will be a 2,925-foot climb to the Pleasant Valley Grange.
The canyon bottom was still in winter mode.
The climb went fairly well. I didn't have any cramps, an empirical indicator of my current conditioning. The grange sits at an elevation of 8,450 feet. Pleasant Park Grange (old school house) is the usual rest stop following the climb up out of Deer Creek Canyon.
There are lots of nice homes buried away up here.
The above shot is the approximate middle of High Grade Road. Lots of loose sand to watch for. At this point, slope is about 6 or 7 percent. Right behind me it ramps up to 12 to 15 percent for a way. You're not going fast to begin with, yet it's still like hitting a wall.
Deer Creek Canyon opens up to the Great Plains.
The second day, Wednesday, was National Wind Day. Can you say horrific wind? I can - horrific wind! Aeolus was working overtime trying to knock me off the bike. Between the sand and ice, the odds were in favor of Aeolus.
Time to make a decision. Take a left and you have about 3 miles of sustained 10 percent grade climbing. Head behind me and you have about 7.5 miles of variable climbing, including short segments of 12 and 15 percent grade. At this intersection, you've already been climbing for 6 miles. By the way, the lower sign used to say High Grade Road. They're always trying to confuse me.
Back into the ice box. In one day, the road had actually dried a lot from the previous day.
My favorite curves enjoying the sun. A whole handful of sharp curves precede these. Yet, at 35 mph, they just have the right feel to them.
Despite gobs and gobs of loose sand and wet asphalt, the descent eventually entered perpetual sun. Another ride come and gone.