Yeah, get your head out of the gutter. Come on! I know what you're thinking you naughty reader. It was a euphoric experience and I did have something between my legs....it was my bike.
This morning I got a transport up to Leadville, CO. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,430 ft. above sea level. It is also home to the famous Leadville 100 Ultramarathon and the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. I was not fortunate enough to see the beautiful downtown historic section of Leadville with it's Victorian era buildings. I was fortunate enough to get dropped off at a Shell gas station on the edge of town that had a clean bathroom. Yahoo!!!
Leadville, CO. 10,430 ft. above sea level.
It was in the 50's when I left Breckenridge but up in Leadville I was wishing I had my leg warmers on and was very glad I had my super-duper awesome Terry thermal arm warmer bolero on. It was windy at the top and I had goose bumps. I also realized that it was time to shave my legs, ack! With my sun block on and my jersey pockets stuffed with gels, a camera, a pump, and other necessities, it was time to tackle Fremont Pass.
Just outside of town...
On the way out of Leadville there is a nice gradual downhill but the wind was making it difficult to coast on the road. I had to pedal all the time to make headway. I stopped for a few pictures of the mountains along the way. On the way up, I had seen a large group of backpackers hiking on the side of the road and I wondered where I would see them along the road. There were a few dumb drivers who thought it was alright to drive a little too close to me on the shoulder when they actually had two lanes to drive in and no other drivers around them. Why is it these cars are always SUV's?
The start of the climbing...
Things had started to climb around mile 5 and I found that I was having to work. I am starting to get used to pedaling at 10-12 mph. I saw a few cyclists coming from the other direction and we gave each other the finger wave off the handle bars. It is a nice "Good on ya!" that you offer to each other for tackling these climbs. Around mile 7.5 or so, I saw a sign that told me I had 4 more miles to the summit of Fremont Pass. Ugh! At 7-9 mph, that could be another 30-40 minutes of hard work. And I had seen the nasty hill that I had to climb on the last push. It is a climb that will definitely get your attention.
The last push up to Fremont Pass!
Around mile 9, I pulled over to have a gel and some water and I was dying for a bush to take a pit stop. No such luck, the back packers were just off the road and on a trail near me. I am sure those boys would have loved for me to drop my shorts, but I was not in the mood to give them a thrill. I looked at the road ahead and saw the climb from hell just ahead of me. The picture does this climb no justice at all. I had to give myself the internal pep-talk and encouragement to get it done. 2 to 2 1/2 miles. I could do it. Just think happy thoughts. Don't think of the two other small climbs that I still had to look forward to.
Look closer at the cropped pic from above. Notice in the right side of the picture you can see the road starting it's way up just behind the green road sign. Follow the tree line up to the upper left of the picture and you will see one of the buildings for the strip mine. That is near the top. Oh yeah!
I nudged my trusty steed back onto the road and set off. As I climbed I kept telling myself that it was not as steep as it looked. My blazing speed up the climb was 6 mph. I passed the 10 mile marker. Then I passed the 11 mile marker. I looked up and saw an edge to the road where cars were coming over. That might be the top! I can do this!!! At the top of summit is a strip mine and I pulled over into the driveway to take a few pictures. As I looked across the road, I saw something that I could not pass up....Port-o-cans.
With business taken care of, I saw the sign that gave way to the title of this blog post...
I also got a picture proving that both I and my bike made it to the top of Fremont Pass at the same time.
I went back to get a few pictures of the climb from hell...
I think that picture says it all...
And then it was all downhill from there baby! Well, there were two small inclines but for the most part it was downhill to Copper Mountain ski resort. I took things cautiously on the downhills but at one point I was up to 38 mph while feathering the breaks. There were beautiful lakes that were created by a system of dams that I got to see on the way down. I also got to see a dead elk cow in the shoulder of the road. That thing was huge and smelly. There was a stretch of 4 miles that was at a 7% grade downhill and it was not until the last 1/2 mile at the bottom did the traffic behind a Safeway tractor trailer semi catch up with me and try to run me off the road. I was glad that they did not encounter me on the section of rough road that put me out in the right wheel path of traffic.
I had a Quizno's sandwich for lunch in Copper Mountain and then it was time to hit the bike trail for the last 15 miles back into Breckenridge. It is pretty much down hill for 9 miles, but the last 6 miles are a false flat. You think you should be going faster, but you are really climbing. The bike path was full of other people, many who were tourists because they were pedaling their mountain bikes in the smallest gear they could find and they were not making much headway on the trail.
Well, another exciting bike adventure is in the books. More excitement to come...