So I have ulterior motives with riding the Triple Bypass. I knew that in preparing for it that I would necessarily have to do some amazing rides. I knew long before I headed west from Bergen Park early in the morning of July 11th that I'd have gotten some feathers for my cycling cap.
And I have...Deer Creek - Bear Creek Loop, Genesee Mountain from Denver, Guanella Pass, Squaw Mountain...and now Berthoud Pass from Idaho Springs.
6:24am I left the public parking lot behind Beau Jo's in downtown Idaho Springs. I wanted to ride all the way to the summit of Colorado Mines Peak, a 12er east of Berthoud. But I wasn't sure if I'd even make the pass. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and my original plan had been to do the Mount Evans century, but due to possible inclement weather and a lack of confidence on my part left me looking for another ride for today.
And there was only one...Berthoud Pass with Colorado Mines Peak beyond.
I pedaled out of Idaho Springs and cruised along Clear Creek west. Whitewater serenade put a goofy grin on my face and kept my legs pumping.
7:24am I passed through the sleepy burg of Dumont. 8:00 put me in Empire. I felt like I was making phenomenal time compared to my Squaw Mountain ride this past week. I felt good and strong.
At 9:00 I was just east of Berthoud Falls and stopped for a short break at a FS picnic area. The pass was not much farther in miles, but I was gonna start having to pull down the elevation.
Beyond Berthoud Falls was the real meat of the climb. But after making the first switchback curve I found myself three gears up from the lowest pedaling free and clear. What was up with that?
A couple of times I had to gear down, but for the most part I kept a few gears up and maintained a steady clip. I could see Mines ahead of me and it looked so close. I could see the dirt road that switchbacked up the west slopes. I wanted it bad...but my water (all 100 oz.) was mostly gone and the ghost of an altitude headache was coming on.
And then, almost before I knew it I could see the pass ahead.
At 9:50am I rolled to a stop at the pass.
I looked around for water...nothing. Then I decided I'd make a go at Mines anyway. But a few hundred yards up the road I decided the snow and soft alpine soil were not conducive to upward progress.
And then I let gravity have me. It was a nice coast back to Idaho Springs with only a few slow sections where it was flat or slightly uphill. My legs were finally tired, but I managed a strong finish and after loading up the bike headed home.
23 miles up in 3.5 hours, 3,678' of climbing...5 hours total.
Mount Evans will be next...