We started on Sat AM in Louisville. From there went into the wind for the next 120 miles. All the while wishing we were the group from Wyoming coming south the whole ride (little did we know that that group had only one rider that was willing to ride into a snow storm-and well, we also all know that you cannot go as a group of one).
So, off we go towards Ft Collins, meandering our way through the rollers of Boulder County and Larimer, and some of Weld County. Every time we hit a section of road that heads east, we all wonder about the direction of the first half of our Fleche. At least there were these short 1/4 and 1/2 mile sections of no pedaling tailwind riding. At least.... Isn't that what you say as a hopeful rider about to ride 240 miles?
Into the headwinds and off we go past Carter Lake and onto the small farming roads towards Masonville. From there up we go to Stove Prairie.
Never been there before. Absolutely beautiful.
Here is where I finally realized that having a compact crank set would be a good thing. So much for saying "never"! Steve said he'd trade his compact for a triple. hhhmmmm. At the top we waited for our tandem team. Got too cold, though.
From the top of Stove Prairie we headed down to the Poudre River. That canyon is also very beautiful and I had never been there before this ride.
Here is where the weather decided to turn even worse.
A blizzard began and we had to stop and put on every bit of clothing we had. Good thing we brought all but the kitchen sink. I put on full length nylon rain pants, three jackets (one with a hood), and thankfully I already had my panty hose knee high on to keep my feet warm.
Once out of the canyon we headed to out control at Vern's in Laporte.
I had the best breakfast burrito I've ever had.
From Laporte we headed into more headwinds to get to Wellington. That would be our most northern point and thankfully allow us to get away from the headwind. Well, that's what we thought.
We zig zagged south and east and back west and then south again. Mostly the wind was quieting down and we only had slight headwinds and side winds from time to time. We rode past towns called Severence, Windsor, and Milliken.
When we got to our "dinner" spot, Johnsons Corner, we all decided that we would rather keep riding while we had another hour and a bit of daylight instead of sitting down for dinner. We all grabbed sandwiches, stashed them on the bike for later, and headed for Plattville. On the way to Plattville we turned on lights, put all vests on and changed sunglasses to clear lenses.
After the Plattville control we were happily riding in calmer winds and then all of a sudden one of the tandems pedal flew off. Luckily we found the pedal and ace mechanic Steve was able to piece it back together and secure it onto the spindle. Not sure how long it would hold up but maybe until the hotel room/control.
We made our way to Longmont, the southern end of town, only to realize the hotel was at the north end of town. Oh well, a few more miles. the hotel was a welcome relief, if only for a couple of hours.
At about 3 am we headed for Lafayette to our next control. We were approached by some pretty "high" teenagers that wondered if we were bike cops. Hee hee.
After Lafayette we headed back around Longmont and out to Lyons. The sky was starting to light up now and we could see that it had snowed quite a bit in the mountains. A great backdrop but also a memory of the cold day before.
After the quick breakfast of egg sandwiches in Lyons we were on the last 28 miles or so of our Fleche and we headed around Boulder and over to the Superior/our finish. We arrived with about 8 minutes to spare and waited in the parking lot to cross the "finish line" a 8:00 AM.
A great 240 mile "day" and many thanks to Catherine for a great route and to RMCC for sanctioning our ride.
Cannot wait to do it again next year.