Vacationing in the ski town of Telluride, Colorado with good friends Howard and Sophie in October has become a treasured time. This year we came out a week later than usual and the whole region is dead quiet. The free gondola that runs between the town of Telluride and the homes up on the mountain is even shut down (for a month of annual maintenance). Shops and resturants have handwritten signs up in their doors or windows letting potential patrons know that they are closed and will return for the start of the ski season (in mid to late November). For me, it is the perfect time to be here!
The house (more like a lodge!) we stay in is at 9700 ft so I generally start out the week with a short ride. I go more by time than by distance. Today I took an hour ride out towards Lizard Head Pass. I have ridden this before as part of a Bicycle Tour of Colorado and have fond memories of the route. It is a gorgeous ride. Immediately I could tell I was at elevation, but it didn’t affect me as much as I expected it to. Mostly, I could feel my resting heart rate racing a bit and I got winded a bit more quickly when exerting than I do at home. Mountain Village dumps onto route 145 just short of the top of the steep climb out of Telluride. So, after a nice, chilly (45 degrees or so) downhill from the house, I found myself climbing a 6%-7% grade without any real warmup. Boy does that get your attention. I kept it slow in order to avoid pulling anything! It didn’t take long to find my rythym and the slope started undulating which gave me plenty of recovery time.
I brought my camera along but forgot to check to see that it had a memory card loaded. It didn’t. UGH! So, I took photos the next day when we drove the car up the same route. The day I biked up the pass, it was much clearer and also warmer. Weather in the mountains can, and did, change very quickly. Within a few hours of finishing my ride, I was watching snow fall and pile up on the picnic table on the porch of the mountain house. Will make for an interesting entry tomorrow!