Friday, July 17, 2009
Another epic on pavement
If you’ve ever driven along I-70 between Frisco and Grand Junction, you’ve probably noticed a bike path that parallels the interstate. I’ve always been kind curious about the path and thought that it’d be kinda cool to check it out. So today, Andy and I hit the path towards Vail. Andy had to turn around after about 45 minutes because he had to catch a plane to Iowa. He’ll be working like a dog all of next week wrenching bikes for the Rassy camp at RAGBRAI. I continued on the bike path to Vail, and in the process, had a few close calls with other riders on the path. It seems to be really popular with slow moving retired folk. It also contained a few people that seemed to enjoy nipping the apex of some of the blind corners at high speeds on the wrong side of the path, despite warnings from signs. I actually felt safer on the highway! I rode through Vail and then hit highway 24 for Leadville. Highway 24 took me over two mountain passes, Battle Mountain Pass and Tennessee Pass. I noticed a set of railroad tracks that ran along the highway. At one time, they were supposed to be the highest mainline mountain pass tracks in the nation. My computer told me that the last train to use the tracks was back in 1997.
A sweet bridge on the south side of Battle Mountain Pass with train tracks running below.
I continued on to Leadville and then headed north on Highway 91 back towards Copper Mountain. Highway 91 took me by several mining operations, most of which are defunct, and one in particular, Climax Mine that is temporarily out of operation due to the low value of the mineral being mined. They mine something up there called molybdenum, an alloy that is used in the production of very hard steel. If you live downstream, I wouldn’t drink the water.
After passing over Fremont Pass, the real fun began. Part of Highway 91 is so steep, that my coasting speed got up 55 mph. It was a pretty windy day and the wind was pushing me from one side of the shoulder to the other. I’m really glad that I didn’t crash as it probably would have hurt worse than my crash in Durango.
At the end of the day, I logged about 108 miles and around 6,600 feet of vertical. All in all, a pretty sweet ride!
Fremont Pass and Climax Mine off to the right.
This sign means that you're fixin' to haul some serious booty.