Monday, May 28, 2012

R2G2: Scouting Leg 1

We're getting down to the wire on DK. By this time next week I'll be back here, the race will be over and I'll be on to other things. Ironically the race it self doesn't seem like it's as big a deal anymore. My training has been going so well that I although I know 200 miles in the heat will be an endurance challenge, I know it's well within my range. I suppose something else that reduces my enthusiasm for DK is my excitement about other things. I was beginning to get a little burned out on the long distance gravel. This scouting mission was just the ticket to bring that back. Since I wanted to do very little riding I left the bike at home to avoid temptation.

I had planned to drive down through Woodland Park Saturday check out the town, get some details about resources etc, then drive the first half before camping and driving the second half on Memorial Day. Well, since I didn't get my CV joint fixed last week I was only able to do a day of driving - I didn't like the sounds I was hearing and I didn't want to risk needing to call for a tow way out there. I was able to get some good info on our start location.

The first leg up Rampart Range Road (RRR) is pretty awesome. There is just a bit of pavement for the first 5 miles or so and an initial climb accompanies this. Up on the ridge there are many miles of scenic views, rocky crags, and quaking aspens. This is gonna be pretty darn cool in late September when the leaves are beginning to change.

RRR is very well maintained. There are a few lengthy sections of washboard, but it always looked as though a bike could find a smooth path. There were also several sections that were a bit more rough, but they never lasted very long and a cross bike still seemed plenty adequate. It's hard to tell exactly what shape the road will be in over the next four months. I've seen a road near Mead go from loose fresh gravel with washboard to concrete hard and smooth in the span of a month.

Coming down towards the Platte River I found that The Sprucewood tavern should still be open from 11am-8pm when we're racing. You'll only hit it around the 40 mile mark, but it's nice to know it's there in case something happens. Going down Pine Creek Road is an interesting affair. There's a half mile section that pitches down at a 15% grade with a cliff to fall off on the left and rock walls on the right. It's over quick and you're rewarded with a very gentle grade in the amazingly gorgeous Platte River Canyon. The current plan is to go through Foxton to Buffalo Creek, which is rather nice, if paved. However, I'm working on contacting some private land owners to see if they'll allow us to roll on their road. It'll will take us past the Bucksnort Saloon on one of the most amazing jaw dropping roads out anywhere.

For now enjoy the images and some damn good reasons to be excited about the backroads here.

The steep bit on Pine Cr Rd. 

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