Saturday, December 13

TR - 30 Mile Tour De Aurora

I got out early this morning and did a 30 mile ride. I rode Alameda to the Highline Canal Trail just past Havana, went north on the HL to the Tollgate Creek Trail and then south on the Tollgate Creek Trail to Dartmouth, Dartmouth west to Chambers and then up a bit to the Cherry Creek Spillway, and then west ot the Cherry Creek Trail proper which brought me back home.

I've had colder rides, but my feet were frozen when I got home.

The ride was good. I did a similar loop a couple weeks ago just before we all got sick which was more like a 20 mile ride and involved the Westerly Creek Trail instead of the Tollgate Creek Trail.

Here is the map:



It was cold. I expected the sun to come out early into the ride, but the clouds kept it from warming me on my ride, though I could see clear blue skies to the west. When I got to Cherry Creek Dam I got a fantastic view to the west of the snowy foothills and some peeks of the bigger peaks between cold looking winter cloud banks. There is a cold Canadian airmass pushing our way bringing snow and frigid air.

The Mount Evans Massif was completely obscured by one such fluffy cloud bank.

The trails were in pretty good shape considering. Most were dry with only a few patches of ice and/or snow in predictable places.

Cherry Creek seemed to be the worst. I had two close calls. The first was along Chambers. The snow I saw ahead wasn't flat snow that had fallen, it was actually leftover from the snow thrown onto hte sidewalk by a snowplow and it was irregular and frozen solid. Almost threw me into the (thankfully empty) street.

The other close call was an icy curve before a bridge on the CCT proper. Most patches I had encountered had been short and in straight sections of trail. This one in particular covered a 100' section of trail through a curve just before a bridge over the creek. I had slowed anticipating the ice, but as I saw that I was going to have to turn I realized I was going too fast and I had not gotten my feet free of the pedals.

I eeked through the first patch and managed to bleed a little more speed off in a small dry patch in the middle of the bigger sheet of ice and came within in millimeters of going off the trail on the outside of the curve.

It wouldn't have been a bad wreck if I had, but I would have hit the ground for sure since my feet were attached to the pedals.

I learned a few things about icy bike paths:

1) Don't ever try to brake ON THE ICE with skinny tires. Roll over it and take your chances.

2) No turning on the ice. It ain't gonna happend on rubber skis.

3) Don't count on the snow or ice being smooth and be ready to ride out the bumps.

4) If the skinny tire tracks through the snow ahead are deep, they are probably frozen solid. BEWARE!

5) BOTH feet free of the pedals if you see you are approaching snow or ice.

6) As you cross a patch of ice your tires will accumulate ice. After you are through only the centers of the tires will dry out quickly but a nice slick coating will remain on the sides. DON'T BANK INTO A CURVE immediately after crossing snow or ice.

Hope these tips help keep you upright.

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