Sunday, July 28, 2013

Biking in Glenwood Canyon

It’s rather appropriate that I spent my last day in Colorado doing my new favorite sport, biking!  I’d wanted to rent another hybrid road bike and was hoping for a different brand so I could try one with different features, however, none of the bike rental places in Glenwood Springs offered hybrid road bikes for rent.  (We did happen into a bike store last night and I got to test ride a purple Giant brand bike which was considerably more affordable than the Specialized one I’d ridden in Frisco!)  I ended up with a “comfort” bike that was similar to the bike I want, but not really.  It was much heavier and had “turny” gears instead of the “clicky” gears that I’ve decided I like.  It was a nicer bike to ride than Mom’s, but not what I’m hoping to buy. 

When we got up this morning it was rainy and cold.  We’d made a reservation for a bike rental and shuttle to the top of the canyon at Canyon Bikes, but we hadn’t paid anything so we debated not going, but decided that we didn’t have anything else to do, and usually the weather changed in a few hours and we thought it would be worth the risk.  We were the only folks who had signed up for the 10:15 shuttle to show up! 

On the way up the shuttle driver told us things to look out for and he also told us that in all his 30 some years in Colorado, it had never rained *all* day!  The sun even started poking out of the clouds just before we arrived at the trailhead!

The shuttle took us 16 miles up the canyon from Glenwood Springs and we’d get to ride down!  The trail, like the Vail Pass trail, went right along I-70! Along the way there were several rest areas, that were also I-70 rest areas, with trails and stuff!  I wish other states would build a recreation network within their rest areas, it would be really nice to be able to pull off for lunch and take a 2-3 mile hike or ride my bike!

When we arrived at the trailhead it was cloudy and not raining!  We headed off down the trail and quickly realized that it wasn’t nearly as steep as Vail Pass and we actually had to pedal!  The path ran right between The Colorado River and I-70.  It was impossible to forget that I-70 was there, as promised, we were constantly either under it or next to it.  It was kinda freaking riding next to it because we were going opposite the traffic yet we just had a fence separating us from the cars, trucks and large RVs zooming by!  The canyon was lovely though!  Big steep rock walls! I never would have been able to see it all driving! And the river was neat too…we got to watch rafters and kayakers make their way down!

We wanted to stop and hike to Hanging Lake, however when we got to the trailhead it was raining and then when we tried to eat lunch the harder rain came! We decided to just ride and forget the hike! 

There’s a Hot Spring pool in Glenwood Springs and we were thinking that it would be nice to soak on a cold rainy day.  We had to ride past the campground to get back to Glenwood Springs so we stopped to get our bathing suits and towels, and to eat lunch.  While we were eating the clouds parted and the sun came out!  Our shuttle driver was right! 


Almost back to Glenwood Springs – view of where we were kayaking yesterday

We rode down into Glenwood Springs and decided that it was way too hot for the hot springs (and it wasn’t cheap to get in!) so we’d just keep riding the bikes.  We rode over to the park we’d taken the kayak out at last night and that’s how we discovered the Rio Grande Bike Path that went to Aspen! 


The Colorado River near where we took the kayak out yesterday and the beginning of the Rio Grande Bike Path

We decided to head down that for a little while.  We ended up riding out 5 miles towards Cannondale & Aspen and then we turned around.  This bike path was built on an old railroad bed and had a very gentle grade!  It was also right beside the road but this was just a 2 lane road and you had views of the mountains! One of the mountains looked like it had ski runs on it so I’m guessing that was Aspen!  We rode back and took the road right through downtown Glenwood Springs and discovered an outdoor store that we had to check out!  Then it was back to the rental place to return my bike. 

Dad, who’d been riding his own bike, decided to ride uphill back to the campground while Mom and I went to the grocery store to stock my van for the trip east. 

It was another “high” mileage day – we rode 28 miles together and then Dad got an extra 3 coming back to the campground!  28 miles!  And I still don’t really “feel” it…I’m not overly tired and I don’t feel like I put in that much effort!  When I get home I’m going to be checking out bike stores (turns out there is one about 3 miles from my house! I can walk there!) and figuring out which bike, bike rack, helmet, etc to purchase!

After dinner the rain started again!  Hopefully it will cool things off for my last night in Colorado! I’ve loved the chilly nights and they will likely be few and far between as I head east.   Tomorrow night I’ll be somewhere in the middle of Kansas!

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