Friday, September 27, 2013

End Of Season Ride - Colorado Springs to Deckers

The weather has taken a dramatic turn for the cold here today.  I've been looking forward to a trip into the mountains since last Friday when I picked up the bike.  I was off Saturday but I wanted to run to Denver to pick up a new helmet while we still had the funds.  I used that as an opportunity to check out the city driving characteristics of the bike compared to the '02.  I figured a week of commuting would give me time to get to know the bike before taking it up into the twisties.  I've been to Deckers several times in the past and it is always a fun ride.  Needless to say I was like a kid on the night before Christmas pretty much all week long.

The big day finally arrived and of course I had a chore to do.  I borrowed my brother-in-law's trailer last week to pick up the bike and that had to be returned to Denver.  So I got up early and headed to Denver with the long distance commuters.  It was sunny with clear skies in the Springs and the temperature was about 57 degrees.  Not balmy, but with the sun out good enough for a light jacket, plus it was suppose to warm up into the high 60's.  I got to Denver (which was sunk in a deep, chilling fog) and back with no issues.  After a few more adult responsibilities I had the gear on and was headed for Woodland Park.  Once there I filled up (this bike is a gas hog) and headed up SR 67.  There were huge gray clouds building up in front of me so I decided to stop and put on the rainsuit.  Not only was it getting cloudy but the change in altitude and the cloud cover brought a drop in the temperature.  I used the opportunity to get a picture of the bike.  Gotta have plenty of those in case I forget what it looks like.

The misty mountains
SR 67 starts out fairly unremarkable.  It's got some bends in it and it's pretty scenic with all the trees and such but it's not any more scenic than any other road in Colorado, which is to say it's mostly beautiful.  There's a certain point when you start going up hill for a little bit and reach the burn scar from an old forest fire that the road starts to become interesting.  I should throw out there that I never speed, at least beyond my skills.  What I mean by that is you'll never catch me winding the bike out to 100 mph on a short narrow stretch of road.  There are however several corners on 67 that advise 30 or even 25 mph but something a little higher than that is possible.  I've found that you don't have to go in excess to lean the bike way down and get get rid of the chicken strips.  It was a few years and a few accidents that taught me that.  This road is good for a little prudent speed on a Friday afternoon (especially a crappy, cold Friday like this).  There is very little traffic on a Friday but Saturday is a different story.

I got to Deckers expecting to see at least a few bikes parked in the lot of the shopping center at the crossroads of 67 and 126.  There were two cars and a Coors truck making deliveries.  I started to just turn around but decided to stop and get a picture.

...and here it is.

As I headed back I passed another hearty soul on an older bike headed towards Deckers.  The ride back toward Woodland Park is a completely different animal than when headed north.  It's mostly uphill so I always feel confident carrying more speed through the turns.  The trip back always seems to be so much faster.  I did take time to stop for another picture though.

I stopped at Starbucks and had a cliched latte and read a little.  I had a massage appointment with our therapist and had some time to kill.  It worked out nicely to have a massage at the end of the ride.  When I pulled into Starbucks there were two Goldwings parked with the riders outside having a little warm-up beverage.  Woodland Park was in sunshine with heavy clouds all around.  It kind of struck me then that this was probably one of the last rides of the season.  Colorado is a place where you can sneak a ride in all through the year but this day felt like fall.  When I left the Springs it had been warm and sunny, I came back to a much colder, blustery town.  Even though I'll probably keep commuting to work on the bike for as long as I can, I'm glad I got this ride in.

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