Heading out of town, past Lyons gives us an awesome view. We're heading for Cater Lake, Big Thompson Canyon, and up to Estes Park. We took the day off and planned an easy day to Estes for the last big ride before the Fleche.
We got to Big Thompson in a little under two hours and refueled at the RV park. Good place to get water and food and use the very clean bathrooms. They don't seem to mind and we always buy something to support their kindness.
When you see this, you know you're about to get onto the Big Thompson Canyon road.
Big Thompson is my favorite way to Estes Park. An easy grade and always something to look at. It also has a great shoulder to ride the whole way up. I never seem to notice the traffic, although it can have a lot of it on the summer weekends.
A quick stop top take a photo along the way. Great places to fish, too.
When you get to Estes you have your pick of several places to sit down eat or grab a bite at the local Safeway. If I'm in a hurry, I stop at the first gas station I see. This day, I was in a hurry to keep moving. I wanted to see how fast we could do the ride in.
The only tailwind of the day was out of Estes on 36. The 2 mile hill was so easy it just didn't seem right. Without pedaling too much our average on the climb was about 14/15 without effort. Then we only had a mild headwind back down to Lyons.
Once in Lyons I asked Steve what are avg pace was and he told me it was about 17.8. Well, I always like a challenge. Sorry Steve. I know I said it'd be an easy day but, well, let's get the avg over 18.
So ride hard we did for the last 25 miles. Every time we got the avg up on more 10th, I'd say, "Ok, now we have to go faster. Again, lucky the headwind back to Boulder was only mild. We kept upping the ante. The closer we got the less distance we'd have to creep the avg higher.
A few times my quads started to cramp and I'd have to let up a bit.
Finally into Boulder and just as we pulled into the end of the ride, Steve yelled we had 18.5. Yeah!
We did a 5.5 hour century. Actually 102 miles. Not bad for all of the time I had to take off over the winter. Now I know we'll be ready for the Fleche.