Shelf Road Ride
Fellow MDA'er Bob Prouhet clued me in to the Air Force Academy's excellent "Outdoor Adventure Program". This weekend's outing was a 27-mile ride from Cripple Creek (in the Colorado high country, one of the biggest gold rush boom towns in the west) down to Cañon City -- an elevation decrease of more than 3,600' (from nearly 9,500' above sea level to about 6,800').
The Outdoor Rec crew (led by Bill Coble, an excellent guide and triathlete, along with Smitty and Millie -- celebrating their 50th anniversary!) tuned our bikes before loading them onto the roof of the 15-pax van. My Moab really needed that, with Bill counseling me to avoid any serious air on account of my 10-year-old back rim....
The scenery was stunning -- as were the precipices on our left.... Cripple Creek ultimately flows into the Arkansas River, then into the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.
The bighorn sheep thought we were nuts, since they knew a spell o' weather was comin' in....
So we paused regularly on the ride -- but only took shelter in the van when lightning was spotted on two sides of our group.
Cripple Creek in summer, with wild roses on the bank.
After reaching Cañon City, we shared a six-pack of Breckenridge Brewing Company's Avalanche Ale. Bob also introduced me to "Geo-Caching" earlier in the ride, with my first discovery in a pile of boulders not far off our trail:
Next month, I may join Bill and the crew for the Pikes Peak Descent. 7,000 vertical feet of momentum!