Vernon Smith, Paul Foley, and I head out to pre-ride the High Country route on June 27.
Here is a smattering of photos and impressions.
Plenty photos of us, but when you ride it, you'll have photos of yourself and friends on passes, in canyons, and in other memorable locations!
Blueberry puff pastry at Vern's in LaPorte, first control.
Paul and Vernon had other fruit fillings.
Paul and Vernon sweeping up Poudre Canyon
on a sunny morning!
Vernon glad to reach Cameron Pass, 10,276 ft.
Always wondering how best to get the sign in the picture ...
Descent from Cameron Pass starts dramatically ...
Pat has succulent sliced cantaloupe waiting at the Walden Transit control.
Plenty of info on the Beaver Creek wildfire northwest of Walden.
Much of the efforts have been from the air,
as pine beetle kill made the pine trees apt to fall on firefighters.
After initial haze and amber sunlight heading into Walden,
we're soon into clear air thanks to a NE wind direction.
A view from a big ranch in Wyoming.
Pat points out something to Paul at her water stop.
While Walden to Saratoga, is a net descent, there's quite a lot of climbing, possibly into wind, so we are aiming to have a water stop for riders.
Coming through Riverside, the wind dies down, and we actually get a tailwind for the final segment.
It's a serene approach to Saratoga near sunset!
Vernon looks back contentedly on a good first day.
The Snowy Range Road starts out with some rollers through ranch country.
After shallow to moderate climbs, we surmount the western high point, and are met with the dramatic mountains of the Snowy Range.
Unlike some ranges you can see for miles ahead, these mountains only come into view as you round a final bend.
This road is closed in winter, and even in July, there's plenty of snow left.
The trails are just now freeing up for hiking, still snowpacked mid-June.
Paul and JLE note the highest point on the High Country.
Enjoying a flaky ham and cheese croissant.
After passing through Laramie and the Big Hollow,
we're heading back SW towards Walden.
Time for a hydration stop at historic Woods Landing,
at the base of a six-mile stiff climb.
Our first moose sighting - towards evening on Rabbit Ears Pass.
After an early start from Steamboat Springs for Day 3,
a breakfast break in Yampa.
They're only just setting out the pre-cooked convenience store food,
but there's enough for a good bite or two.
The Gore Pass climb (or really two climbs) may be the most serene and charming of the entire route.
The Grand Lake spur bodes us some spotty showers,
and the only nautical scenes of the High Country.
Willow Creek - the final pass of the day,
looking forward to breezing into Walden.
Alas, blustery, blowing rain made it more of an effort and trial than anticipated,
but the cyclists are all smiles,
perhaps looking forward to triple cheeseburgers that Pat has in store for us.
Heading to Cameron Pass in the pre-dawn pinkness east of Walden.
A colorful sunrise over the Continental Divide.
Vernon and Paul enjoying the 57-mile descent of Poudre Canyon.
A snack on Vern's patio in LaPorte, the penultimate checkpoint.
And a smiling finish, with a big thanks to Pat Heller!
We hope you have as much fun as we had!