20 March 2013

First ride of 2013!!

We've had a few days in the last couple of months where I could get the bike out for a short ride, and if it wasn't actively snowing or icy, I have ridden to work. But St. Patrick's Day was the end of a beautiful week, and on the Tuesday before, I sent a text message to a bunch of friends saying let's ride!

I got messages back almost immediately from everyone, and it looked like six people were up for riding that day. There would be three dual sports, two street bikes, and one cruiser. Come Sunday, we were down to four riders. We had an 1150GS, a 650 V-Strom, a 650GS, and a Suzuki GS500. Weather reports called for partly cloudy, windy, and 50-57 degrees depending on where we would be. Everyone met at my house, we made a stop to get gassed up, and we headed west into the mountains.

Getting ready to head out. What, you want to join next time? No problem, my driveway is large enough to be a staging ground for a dozen bikes.
We rode through Golden to Golden Gate Canyon Road (one of our usual twisty foothill runs) and headed to 119 with me leading. About six or seven miles before reaching 119, Ian and I are chatting away on our Senas, and I say, "What the...!?! Is it snowing?" Ian assured me that it was not, telling me I was just experiencing drifting dandruff from the back riders. In case I haven't mentioned this before, my friends and I are super classy.
By the time we got to 119, it was actually snowing, not just flurries. We all pulled over to discuss what to do. We could head back through Blackhawk, grab a cup of coffee and go home, or we could keep going. We decided to keep going--if it got worse, we would ride more slowly. So onward we went to Nederland, home of the Frozen Dead Guy Days. (If you don't know what that is, look it up. The video, "Granpa's in the Tuff Shed" is worth a view!)
Our first stop to determine what we were going to do--continue on or go home. You can't tell, but its snowing at this point.

We made it to Nederland through a little more snow and on wet roads, but nothing scary. We stopped briefly to take stock once again. We looked in the general direction we were headed and all concurred that it didn't look bad and we should keep on going. If it got bad, we would just ride more slowly.

Heading out of Nederland, it was briefly windy--as it always is in that town--but then the sun came out. It felt warm on our bodies and definitely warmed my spirits. I don't like riding in the snow and generally do everything I can to avoid doing it. I stay plenty warm with my gear, the heated grips, and my Gerbings electric gloves, but I would just prefer to not ride in the snow. Call me crazy--go ahead.

A couple miles outside of Nederland, the sun went away, and the snow came back. And then more snow came. We slowed down, and though the roads were wet, I could still easily feel the road through my tires, knowing I was making good contact. Then we came around a curve and the patches of snow, left by the plows, on the side of the road and the middle of the road went all the way across. There was nothing to do but ride through it. I am sure many people would say, " No big deal, I ride through that all the time." But I don't ride through it all the time and it freaked me out!

So I held on, stood up on my pegs a little (not sure why, it's just what I do on loose dirt so I thought it might apply here...) and rode through it. Okay, that wasn't so bad. It had been warm enough the week before that it was just slushy. Tire still made contact, and at that point nothing new was accumulating. A few miles on, the snow would get heavier and start accumulating on the road itself. We were behind two cars who were driving at slower speeds, and we just stayed in their tire tracks. The three of us who could talk via the Sena headsets all said we were riding with our masks up so we could see through the snow and not fog up.

Dennis, Ian, and Josh in front of the Oskar Blues bus.

When we got to highway 7, we turned right and headed towards Lyons. The original plan had been to go left and go to Estes, but as the clouds appeared dark in that direction, the choice was made to drop elevation and get out of the snow. We had all been there before, it's not like we were going someplace new and fascinating. And to be honest, a pint at Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons sounded fascinating to me.

Me, Dennis, and Ian in Lyons at the Oskar Blues Brewery.

We pulled up and parked and had the only bikes that were not cruisers. There were easily 20 of them lined up, and the brewery was filled with men and women in jeans and leathers, enjoying the day. I hoped they weren't heading to where we had come from--they wouldn't have liked it.

When we left Lyons, Josh was leading and we rode out to Boulder and down 93 to Golden. (Does this sound familiar?? I swear I wind up on that road more often than not!) Josh and I talked about ideas for lunch, and then I went back to music and he and Ian talked about lunch. Eventually Josh came back to me and we realized poor Dennis was really just along for the ride. The three of us could all chat and Dennis was just hanging out with no idea where we were headed. To be honest, although we occasionally discuss wildlife or future trips, we mostly just listened to music.

The ride to Boulder was windy. Heading through town on Broadway, we were able to see the way college students were celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Inebriated young men and women in skimpy bright green clothing, skipping down the street. They looked like they were having a great time, but I'm pretty sure Monday was going to hurt.

We made our way down 93 to Golden, picking up a Gold Wing at the back of our pack. It was windy. It was actually windier than I had ever experienced on that road. Everything was fine until a place in the highway when the passing lane on our side was ending. A woman driving a convertible Jaguar came flying up on our left so fast, not one of us ever saw her coming. She managed to get behind Josh (who was leading) and wedge herself next to Ian and in front of Dennis and me. When she realized she was going to run people off the road--I can only assume that's what was going through her head--she moved into the center of the undivided highway, and sped around a car in front of us. She was driving like an asshole, and we were all relieved when she turned off the highway and we could continue in windy peace.

We cruised into Golden and stopped at Woody's for lunch. Ian, Dennis, and I had a Killian's Stout in honor of St. Patrick's Day--and the first ride of the year--and Josh had herbal tea. Don't judge. Well, go ahead. We did. After some riding in circles around town, Ian headed out his own way and Dennis, Josh and I came back into town via 32nd Ave.

Killian's Stout--on tap for St. Patrick's Day--brewed at our own Coors Brewery.

I had planned a 200 mile ride. We only put about 125 miles on that day, but it was great to get out and RIDE! Now I just have to figure out where I'm going next weekend....