Ahhhh, the time of year when Spring finally runs out of bewildering Winter surprises. Normally a time to set our sights on exploring Lovely Ouray's surround of High-Country. But these are not "normal" times. In the aftermath of a record-setting 700% above normal snowpack, it'll be a while before we can go off-road without snowshoes. Nevertheless, we haven't been idle...
It could be well into July before County road crews can clear the record-setting number of avalanches and associated debris from county back-roads. Thus, my first bike ride up Camp Bird Road was delayed this year...until yesterday.
I'd be lying if I told you I didn't feel any physical repercussions in the wake of yesterday's ride. There's an audible old-man-grunt when I attempt to stand up out of my chair, as well as an noticeable old-man-limp for the first few steps. This is the "some day you'll be sorry" pay-back my dearly departed mom warned be about all through my rough-house years. I can almost hear her now, I told you so.
With winter extending its rage in the high country, Camp Bird Road was off limits. So Bobbie and I have been staying in shape by riding Ouray County's back-roads to Ridgway and beyond and hiking Lovely Ouray's Perimeter Trail. Knowing the summer bike race series up Log Hill and Camp Bird Road with Leon is drawing nye, I have plenty of motivation. Last year we added a race up to Camp Bird Mine, where Leon runs and I bike. Knowing Leon has had better training weather opportunities down in Montrose, I bumped my rides from around 30 miles to over 50. The crazy things testosterone and endorphins drives some Man-Children to do, eh? What can I say, it's my Geezer Dope. A good workout and good IPA and I don't have any problem sleeping at night. Oh, speaking of "good IPA," a new Colorado Boy Brewery just opened up on Main Street! Little ole Lovely Ouray now sports four, count-em, FOUR breweries!!!
|Beyond Ridgway, Bobbie rides the Uncompaghre Riverway bike path|
|Views back toward Ouray from our County Road bike rides|
Anyway, back to yesterday's ride...
I read in this week's Ouray County Plaindealer that the county dozer crew was getting close to having the Jeep road plowed to Yankee Boy Basin. Maybe, if I was having a good day, I could ride all the way up. Being my first ride at "elevation," a "good day" wasn't likely. When nudging up against 70, aging one year is equivalent to aging one decade. Who knows if I can still make the 2,000 foot grind to Camp Bird Mine, let alone 3,000 feet to Yankee Boy. I've never made it beyond Camp Bird Mine on a first ride of the season because, well, the only way to train for the ride up Camp Bird Road to Camp Bird Mine or Yankee Boy, is to ride Camp Bird Road to Camp Bird Mine or Yankee Boy.
With a caffeine tingle from two hand-pressed cups of expresso coursing through my veins, I set my new Gaia hiking/biking iPhone App to "Record" and flew down the driveway...the only downhill I would see for well over an hour. This is what it takes to out-train ole Leon, I told myself as I hit the uphill through town.
|Evidence of avalanche near Camp Bird Mine|
I'll spare you the motivational, albeit obscenity-laced details regarding what it took to pedal my ass up 2,200 feet of loose gravel to Camp Bird Mine. Let's just say it was a Fire and Brimstone Sermon-on-the-Mount.
Once there (one hour and 18 minutes...3 minutes shy of a P. B.) I literally fell off my bike trying to dismount. Sipping a Gatorade, I walked-off hamstrings on the verge of knotting up and quads that had had enough.
Aspen trees were just beginning to leaf out at Camp Bird Mine. Weather-wise it was a Jekyll/Hyde kind of day, with friendly blue skies to the south, and ominous dark clouds to the north behind Potosi Mountain. Sure enough, and me without a jacket, large wind-born drops of rain begin to pelt my helmet. Suddenly it felt more like winter than June 7th. I needed to get moving to warm up. Unfortunately, it was all downhill back to town. I'll just go on up a short distance to warm...
|Above and Below: This avalanche run took out the power lines|
|I found a wind-break on the road down to Camp Bird Mine|
Surprisingly, after finishing off the Gatorade and walking around a few minutes, I felt somewhat refreshed and pedaled on up toward Yankee Boy just to see how far I could go on a "first-ride."
|Ice water rained down one the right half of the road. It felt good, so I stayed in it.|
|Road 869 to Imogene Pass had yet to be plowed...|
|Finally, the road to Yankee Boy Basin. It was plowed, at least for a ways, so I felt obligated to keep on churning.|
The roads up in the melting snow-zone were flowing like creeks. As I zoomed down I could feel my backside being splattered with slung sand and mud from the rear tire, while my front tire did in my chest and face. A Jeeper gal gave me a thumbs-up. I shot her a Peace Sign.
I let it rip going down...almost 30 mph according to my App.
Bicycle ride to Yankee boy basin Road
6/7/19, 8:53:51 AM MDT
7,660.2 ft, 10,710.7 ft
6/7/19, 8:53:54 AM MDT - (38.03083, -107.67512)
6/7/19, 11:51:59 AM MDT - (38.03046, -107.67526)
Just another day in paradise...