As I look at 5 inches of snow that fell last night and into this morning on the deck of the townhouse I share with my Dad, I can’t help but think about my ride yesterday and how much I needed to get out of the house and on the rec path. For the first mountain bike ride of the year, it was amazing, and there were a lot of people out on the rec path enjoying the near 50-degree weather with me. Safely isolated and passing with wide births.
Amidst this crazy time of COVID 19, social distancing, facemasks, job losses, and reassignments, It’s comforting to know that the rec path and the locals up here, including myself, remain active within a new set of rules. This Pandemic has changed the landscape completely. I no longer find myself frequenting City Market, our local grocery store, for odds and ends I need to have in the moment. I have changed my approach to most things where public gatherings are unavoidable. I make lists and go there once every two weeks, and I go without things that I think I want in the moment, like crackers and sweets. I even picked up powdered cream for my coffee because I figured that would last longer. I may have to rethink my position on that! With shops closed, I looked online for other things and picked up some Gue Octane in preparation for longer rides as the snow melts when I return from work. I can’t wait for local shops to open so I can support them in any way I can. I have a deep desire to help local shops, now more than ever. I would like to hear which shops you support and the services/things they provide. Perhaps we can all come together in the same way to get our local shops thriving again when rules can be relaxed enough to allow them to reopen.
As I made my way down Tiger Road from my house, I needed to plan my route. Being cooped up so long, I didn’t think people were out at all. I decided the first person I saw would determine the direction I went on the rec path. If I didn’t see anyone, then I would head north to the Dillon Reservoir and let the flow of the trail and my legs determine the length of my ride. As I happened to cross highway 9, I looked right and left on the Rec path and saw a few walkers to my left and absolutely none to my right. I turned Right to Breckenridge, and the first part of my route began.
As I crossed Coyne Valley Road, I realized I had good legs, and the Gondola Parking lot would be too short for a turnaround. I didn’t have an extension route planned until I got to City Market. This winter, I used French street, Wellington, High Point, Moonstone, and 503 to bypass Main Street and get to Boreas Pass road. I knew High Point and Moonstone were quite steep, and I wanted to try them out on my bike. I enjoy climbing and testing myself on steep grades. I do not know how steep they measure in gradient, but I decided to go for it.
Turning off the rec path just south of the City Market parking lot right before the North Gondola lot gave me a few minutes rest at the stoplight as I waited to cross highway 9. That was a good thing because I had not quite realized the difficulty level of the climb. French street offered a quick shortcut to Wellington road where I turned right after the 3rd stop sign onto Royal Tiger Road. From there, I was set in my climb as Royal Tiger Road climbs up to High Point Drive at a right turn and intersects with Moonstone at another right turn. From there, the climbing pitches up, way up, as you work your way through the residential neighborhoods. At the steepest part of Moonstone Drive, there is a right-hander that takes you to 503. I had no choice but to take the far-right side and the steepest part of the corner to maintain my line on the narrow, somewhat busy road. Once I was on 503, there was just a few hundred yards to Boreas Pass road and my finish line.
Sometimes climbs take you, and other times you take them. And this was a climb where I felt good through the whole thing, except for the last to 503. When I got to Boreas Pass road, I had a choice; I could turn right and descend back into the south side of Breck or I could turn left and extend my climb up Boreas Pass road, albeit at a gentler grade. The runner I saw to the left running up Boreas Pass road decided for me again.
Turning left, I went through a quick route adjustment and decided to climb to Illinois Gulch Road, where I would then descend to Boreas Pass Road and back into town. I made some time up Boreas pass road and encountered another runner at the intersection to Illinois Gulch road. Sometimes when you are out and about on a ride with no plan, It’s the little things that you see that remind you most about why you are out. The runners I saw on the road let me know I was in the right place at the right time. The views of the peaks along the way added a rustic beauty to my adventure, and before I know it, I was on the binders going downhill quick.
It was nice to descend on a road well within my comfort zone and not have to risk becoming part of the problem, or even so pegged that any misstep would end in one less hospital bed reserved for someone who needed it. Such are the new thought patterns that run through my head. Fun can still be had out there within the comfort zones of adrenaline.
Sometimes Mainstreet through town is exciting to ride when things are busy. Most of the time, It’s best to avoid that section in town during an activity, especially when Strava is involved! I turned off on South French Street and almost immediately saw other people out walking. Down the road a bit, I saw some Fat Bikers sitting at a park and ride bench.
I turned left on Lincoln, crossed Main Street, and turned back onto the Rec path. The rec path was busy back down to Tiger Road but offered incredible views of the Blue River, and the 10-mile range with their snow-capped peaks. In a few days, it’s back to work for me, and I will be leaving with anticipation of more great rides to come when I return in just over two weeks. Stay safe out there, stay clean, practice social distancing, and until next time, enjoy life and the amazing benefits it brings through this incredible sport.