Yes, it’s still ski season here, but the riding is getting really good close by. So… I played hookey from work, I’m the boss so it wasnt hard, and drove a couple of hours towards the desert, west from here. I hooked up with a buddy who was on his mountain bike, more exercise for him. We rode the Rim Rock Drive, which there is no other in Colorado like it. It was part of Red Zinger bike race, which became the Coors Classic, and the route appears in “American Flyer”. I have spent time hiking in up there and have always wanted to Coker it. It has been nicknamed “Tour of the Moon” because of the sandstone cliffs and formations along the route. It has earthened tunnels, insane dropoffs and many narrow sections. The climbing was awesome, my heartrate was maxed out for quite some time. The weather was excellent for riding, around 15 degrees C. Colorado blue skies with a few afternoon cumulus clouds to cool things off. This is a ride you don’t do in the summer, it can be 35+C. We rode about 6km in some rolling hills until we hit the Monument entrance. From there the climbing began in earnest. Half a dozen switchbacks into the ride I came across the first tunnel. I kept my sunglasses on and it was riding blind at that point, a strange floating feeling until I came out the other side. We rode midweek so the traffic would be minimal, and it was. The warm color of the sandstone and the rock walls immersed in the blue sky was very appealing as I climbed and climbed. I reached the high point of the climb and shouted with glee. This was the first big climb of the season for me, and I had survived. I waited on top for my friend, and we rode across the top of the monument talking about how good life can be. That and how lucky we were to be riding in such a beautiful spot.
We took a couple of breaks for pictures, as the scenery was outstanding. On the way down to the west entrance the drop offs are crazy, 300 meters to the valley floor and the road is barely 1 1/2 lanes wide. The corners become tight again and more tunnels are ridden through. We cruize our way down the switchbacks to the Grand Valley, where the Colorado river runs through it. A short 7 mile section is ridden back to where we parked our car. The ride was excellent, long sustained climbs with good elevation gain. Hardly any car traffic and perfect weather made for my first EPIC ride of the season. Yahoooo
Distance : 62 kilometers
Total time: 4hr 30min
Riding time: 3hr 20min
Average Speed 16.7 km/hr 10.4 mph
Fastest Speed : 26.4 km/hr 16.4 mph
Total Elevation gained : 2100 meters
Average Heart Rate : 148 bpm
That looks like such an amazing place to ride. Heck, almost anything in the Rockies would be an amazing place to ride.
I’m going to have to give some serious thought to planning a Coker ride over there in the days before the 2006 Moab Muni Fest. Maybe even ride the Rim Rock Drive. I might as well take advantage of being in the area for Moab. It’s not going to happen this year. I’ll have to work to make it happen next year.
John, This ride is only 1 1/2 hrs from Moab, so it’s close. This ride is just like being in southeast Utah. There is a sweet Coker ride just outside of Moab as well, which I still have to do someday. Maybe next year with you. Cheers.