Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Soup & a Ride, are good for what ails ya.....

I've been fighting, and mostly losing, a battle with some virus I believe I picked up while working at the airport and having to walk amongst the clueless crowds amidst my taskings.

The symptoms are flu-like but thankfully little to no fever. Lots of nasal drainage, irritation of the throat and vocal chords (couldn't really speak Tuesday or Wednesday), sinus headache...the works. I am sure I was a joy to be around but there was work to be done. I did however, forgo the customary sloppy kisses exchanged by the happy folks at the airlines. Right.

So, against that background, my daily commute riding was the only moments of pain free experience as I concentrated instead on surviving the commute. Here's where wearing a flip-up helmet comes in handy boys and girls, when your about to cough up a nasty clot of phlegm just flip the front part of your helmet up, turn to the right, expectorate forcefully and watch that nasty bit of slime be whisked away in the airstream; return helmet to riding position and continue.

Oh, make sure you don't have a cager behind you when you do this, they might be annoyed.

So, to the title of my post. I missed riding on Wednesday, just too sick, and the day was slipping away today as I looked up from the computer and realized that sunset was approaching. After heating up some chicken soup, my loving wife and sons were away at a neighborhood concert event (thinking they'd give me some peace and quiet) so I geared up and rode off towards the east after some nice chicken soup.

The sun was still a bit high in the sky so I just rode around a bit, enjoying the cool breeze at 78°F of the evening. Traffic was only bad around the Southlands Malls area and I did not linger long there anyways. Soon enough, I was back at the same spot I shot the previous sunset pictures of Brigitta by:

I really like how this one turned out, really must remember to take the side cases off for the shot

I like how Brigitta's outline is hinted at....

So, to those who follow the advice of making a little chicken soup for someone who's ailing....might a recommend also the addition of a short ride on ones motorcycle of choice? Works for me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Milestones in one Day

Today, my wife sent my oldest son Patrick, for his first day of middle school. No more elementary school stuff for this young lad of 12. I hear he did great, my wife dropped him off a couple of blocks from the school; and after a small wave he just ran all the way to school!

Now that's a good haircut! Ranger!

After school, he was very positive and seemingly happy so I guess it's a good start for him.

The second milestone, not as significant as Patrick's first day at middle school, was that Brigitta made it over 80,000 miles on her odometer! This means that I've put 18,465 of my own riding miles on her since I bought her in July of last year. Not bad.

Brigitta's odometer as I reached work today

I figure if I work harder at it, I can break 100,000 by next summer.

So a happy day both in my family life and in my motorcycling life. What more could I ask for? Two good sons, a loving wife who encourages me to ride, two beemers in the garage. Well, there's some thoughts and machinations going on for a URAL sidecar rig for winter riding but that's just in the "wishful thinking" stage. First, I have to find work after the present contract with UAL runs out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Riding Two Up with Miles

On a whim, this morning I tried putting my spare helmet on Miles, my recently turned 10 year old son. It fit him pretty good, I was surprised to find, and so the idea of a short ride with my son developed speed.

Pretty soon he had my spare summer mesh riding jacket on, a bit long but the armor was in the right spots. Jeans with scooter kneepads and summer gloves completed his ATGATT ensemble.

I got my own gear on and off we went. Miles started off riding by holding onto my waist. We went along a few miles like this and all was going well.

I made a stop and asked if he wanted to try using the grab bars....he did and off we went again, with him apparently leaning back onto the topcase. We took the long way home and I called ahead to my wife as we got near the house. She was outside, ready with the camera as I entered the cul-de-sac and circled around a few times.

So, Miles' first ride was a success even though the temperatures were a bit warm. Both of us were slight sweaty from the heat but big smiles were all around.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Ride to the Hardware Store

After dinner tonight, I set off for the hardware store to pick up a couple of items. I decided to take a small detour down past the mall and headed east on East County Line Road to see what I could see.

Temperatures were in the mid 80s and not much in the way of clouds. The rolling plains to the east of the Denver Metro Area were nicely green and you could see farm animals and even what looked like antelope grazing in the distances.

I turned around as usual shortly after hitting the end of the paved road. Now the sun was in my eyes but it was also lighting things up in a golden color to the east, behind me.

I stopped Brigitta on top of a rise and give you this shot of the eastern plains:

Looking east along East County Line Road

A few more miles westward, I stopped and posed Brigitta by this big cluster of sun flowers that I'd spotted on the way out:

The sun had been going down as I did all this riding and as I got closer to my home neighborhoods it was painting a very nice picture of the mountains and Denver:

I next went into sunset shooting mode, trying to silouette Brigitta against the sunset. Many pictures later, at varying exposures and shutter speeds; along with some retouching from, this was the best one of the bunch:

I finally made it to the hardware store, got my stuff, heading home in the twilight. The sky to the was a dark red as the sun finally deigned to dip behind the mountains.

Hope you got some riding in!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A taste of a Moto Referee's Work

This evening, I attended a clinic of sorts for motorcyclists who wished to get a feel for what the duties of a moto referee are within the context of a bicycle race.

We met at the Colorado State Patrol's training track on top of South Tabletop Mountain, near the NREL or National Renewable Energy Lab. There were four of us motorcyclists and Andrew Rosen on his red Honda VFR Sport Tourer. My fellow trainees were Joe with his F800GS Beemer, Tom and his Yamaha R1 Cruiser, Doug with his two year old R1200RT. All very nice motorcycles, I must say. I was riding Maria, my 2004 R1150RT.

There were many bicycle racers newbies there, called Cat4's or Category Four Riders who are just getting into the sport and trying to qualify in terms of points for races and moving up in category. Cat1 riders are national caliber/team members for amateur races. The training for the riders this evening was in the form of Criterium Racing, or closed course racing.

He gave us a briefing on what we'd do, what to look for, the roles of moto referees and safety instructions. This was after he'd allowed us several laps of the training course on our motorcycles to "get a feel" for the track. That was fun!

He led us off as the first training race got underway, showed us correct positioning when in different roles. For instance, one moto referee will be designated to stay with the lead rider and by doing so, designate the lead rider to the judges and chief referee for scoring purposes. This moto referee's job is to ride around 50-150 feet in front of the lead bicyclist racer.

Here's Joe on his F800GS, leading the racers, note his position relative to the lead riders

Another motor referee role is to ride about 100 ft to the rear and outside of the peloton. What's a peloton? Well, it's the main group of riders comprising a bicycle race. I found out, there's actual physical advantages to staying within the peloton until you decide to make your "attack" on the race leaders. Within the peloton, you get to draft off the racers in front of you, and the vacuum created by the racers in front of you aid in letting you keep up while not expending as much effort as the guys on the forward edge of the peloton. I was told the difference can be as much as 40% less effort expended by the racers to the rear of the peloton than what's being expended by the guys at the front of the peloton! As you might imagine, the faster bicyclists in the breakaway group in front of the peloton are working even harder.

Here's Tom "riding herd" on the Peloton

Moto Referees enforce rules such as not crossing the yellow line or illegal actions by bicyclist to gain unfair advantage off other riders, or actions which create dangerous situations. Riders who break the rules, can get disqualified and are taken out of the running for points.

In short, motorcyclists are used to control traffic, ferry photographers at National Level Races, carry Moto Referees who enforce the rules and other roles as mentioned in the examiner article.

At one point, I stood by the side of the raceway and you can definitely feel a strong draft as the peloton whizzes by you. Lots of strategy and physics involved in bicycle racing, I just got a small taste of that while talking with my fellow motorcyclists.

We, the motorcycle riders, took turns either leading or trailing the bicycle riders. It's actually quite interesting and fun doing this. Usually, I'd avoid bicyclists as much as possible when riding around Colorado; today I was riding with them! It almost felt like riding herd on a bunch of really fast moving deer. You really have to pay attention and keep track of where the bicyclists are. Specially when you're leading the leaders, their bikes can corner better than motorcycles usually and if you don't watch it, they're suddenly right behind you and drafting off of you!

The ACA will be conducting a formal clinic for motorcyclists who think they might want to obtain a license as a Moto Referee this fall. I'll put out information on this as I get it from the ACA and Andrew Rosen. He mentioned that moto referees are paid for the mileage on their motorycles in support of bike races plus about $70 for a full day or 8 hrs of race support riding; $50 for a half day of five hours work.

I was the only one of the four motorcyclists who didn't have actual bicycle racing experience and training, the other three had done it or still did it. Now they're exploring doing the referee job on their motorcycles as well in order to help their sport.

So, you're not going to make a living from this, but if doing such things to help ensure safe bike racing for bicyclist while getting to ride your motorcycle interests you; you should contact Andrew Rosen. Email LINK. The ACA can always use the help if you qualify.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saint Mary's Glacier and CO 103 Vistas

Another beautiful day for riding here in Colorado. Temperatures would climb into the low 80s down in the Front Range but I would be riding most of the day in the high 50s and low 60s. My destination was the small town of Saint Mary who's claim to fame is the Saint Mary Glacier apparently.

I'd seen the sign for Fall River Road and St. Marys many times while transiting I-70 westbound to Loveland Pass and points beyond. The exit is located just west of the last exit for Idaho Springs and can be easy to miss if you're not in the right lane once you pass the town limits for Idaho Springs.

Fall River Road, follows a mildly winding path along the river with thick pine forests on both sides. Soon you come upon a few hairpin turns taking you further up in elevation. The road is nicely paved up till you end up at Silver Lake at which point it turns to packed dirt and gravel.

I cruised on past Silver Lake and explored the dirt roads which led away from the lake. Found myself next to Lake Quivara and posed Brigitta accordingly:

Lake Quivara

Here's the view at the end of a trail called St. Mary's Court. It's about as close as I could get until the terrain got GS-worthy and not something for Brigitta.

Near the end of St. Mary's Court Rd

Further exploration of the roads proved fruitless as they tended to dead end into dirt cul-de-sacs. I rode back towards Silver Lake and posed Brigitta next to the water crossing one must go through. The crossing is part of the drainage for the lake apparently; not too deep closer to the lake, a few inches perhaps.

Brigitta's first water crossing

I rode Brigitta across the water crossing twice, with no issues. Kind of fun in a way but I am sure it'd be less fun if the water proved deep enough to either get in her air intakes or up her exhaust pipes! This isn't the first time I've had to cross water on Brigitta but flood zones in low lying areas in the city don't count.

Here's another view of the mountains containing St. Mary's Glacier, which apparently is just a perennial snow field and technically not a glacier as it does not flow according to the entry in Wikipedia.

I elected not to park at the trailhead for the base of the St. Marys Glacier, it was a 3/4 mile walk and being in motorcycle boots, I just did not see it being much fun.

I rode back towards the Interstate on Fall River Road, taking a detour down Rainbow Road to see how far I could get. The road starts off easy enough, just packed dirt and small rocks.

Riding down Rainbow Road, I think that's Parry Peak in the distance but it also could be Mt. Eva

A couple of miles down the road though, it got rockier and rockier. Steeper and steeper it got and finally I stopped and turned myself around when all I could see in front of me were large rock outcroppings with barely any dirt between them! Definitely a road I'll have to ride on a GS someday.

Back on Fall River Road, I made my way past the hairpin turns that remained past Rainbow Road and got on I-70 heading east.

I got off at the CO103 exit at Idaho Springs to ride that lovely loop of paved road which takes one past Echo Lake and the entrance to the Mount Evans Road. Traffic was light and the sun made the high 50s temperatures bearable.

You'll recall it was on this road where Brigitta lost her input spline gear and I was forced to get a tow truck for her. I am happy to report no such issues today with the replacement transmission.

After going past Echo Lake, I came upon a nice distant vista of mountains along CO 103. I took many shots and these two came out the best. Yep, they're of the same stop but one is a closeup and the other tries to give you a feel for the bigger picture:

this is the best shot of the day, in my opinion

Finally, before leaving this scene, I give you a panoramic shot: warning, big file.

I continued on CO103 and shortly after Juniper Pass came upon this view of distant peaks:

I continued riding down the mountain on CO103, enjoying its twists and turns as usual. I got caught behind several slow moving cagers but it was still enjoyable to feel Brigitta respond to my steering inputs; its as if she was showing the road that she wasn't afraid of it or what had happened to her transmission the last time we were on this road!

I cruised through Bergen Park and Evergreen, and took CO74 through Idledale, Kittredge and Morrison. Headed south from Morrison to US285 which I took northbound into the Denver metro area. The rest of the ride was just city riding back to my home neighborhoods.

184 miles today, about six hours or so in the saddle. Not too bad. Some really interesting dirt roads to be ridden in the St. Marys Glacier area, someday. Still, I am really happy with how Brigitta did on these roads before I turned back.

Hope you got some riding in today.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beemer Commercial

I was perusing my usual list of blog sites, and this entry in Mike Werner's "Bikes in the Fast Lane" blog struck a chord with me, check it out: Old Vespa Commercial

Now, the content of the commercial per se is not what struck a chord. It instead popped a thought into by head that caused me to go to youtube and searched for BMW Motorcycle Commercials. Here's what I found.

Click the picture above to view the commercial on youtube

The above commercial struck me as well made, with good segues using the iconic images of Beemer jugs, and while the motorcycle being sold is a R1200C I still liked the movie as a whole. That last song, where the guy is "free wheeling" is the exact enjoyment I get from most of my motorcycle riding.

I hope you like it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Killing time in Thornton, CO

So this past Sunday I had about four hours to kill before the Civilian Top Gun Precision Riding demonstration I wrote about before. I'd managed to confuse the start time and now had time to kill.

As I rode away from topgunmotorsports, I saw my reflection in a store front mirror....decided to pose myself accordingly. I always wondered how "friendly" an image I project.

The eye-catching Avaya building's centerpiece, located on 120th and Huron

Next, tiring of the city, I headed west on 120th, taking US36 West when I could, into the town of Boulder. I tried getting a decent picture of the Flat Irons, the rock formations that Boulder is famous for, but traffic and lighting were against me. I moved further south along Broadway and found Table Mesa Road.

The views on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder.

Forget Baseline Road, much better views of the rock formations and Flat Irons from this road. It's a bit further south than Baseline Rd but still gets you nice views.

Back in Thornton, near Pecos and 52nd I think, one of the bigger silo complexes I've seen. It's near the Union Pacific's North Rail Yard Complex.

Visible from the rail yards, Qwests/AT&T's Communications Tower

By the time I got done taking all the above pictures, it was time to mosey on over to Top Gun Motorsports and do my examiner thing. It sometimes pays off to do a little wandering around if you've some time to kill.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Watching Precision Riders make their Harleys dance

On Sunday, August 9th, I was at Top Gun Motorsports watching an amazing display of skill and training put on by Marc Ward and Pam Redfern of the Civilian Top Gun Precision Riders Team.

Previously, I'd witnessed last year's Blue Knight competition where motorcycle police officers from all over the surrounding area compete to see who is best at slow speed maneuvers while negotiating tight obstacle courses. LINK. I remember thinking at the time, that those police officers were incredibly skilled with their big Harleys and BMW patrol motorcycles.

Well, on Sunday I witnessed the same level of skill put on by two "civilians". Both Marc and Pam are graduates of T3RG Motorcycle School's Top Gun Rider Training course. Heck, Pam had just recently graduated this June and she was out there wowing the Harley Davidson bikers who'd gathered for the demonstration.

While Marc has over 40 years of riding experience, he told me that it was not till he tried to complete the practice courses two years ago for the first annual Civilian Top Gun Competition that he realized he needed more formal training.

That training under his belt, he competed the first year and came within 1/10th of a second from winning first prize! He has placed in the top three positions in the last two Civilian Top Gun Competitions.

Pam has been riding since only 2005, and yet demonstrated the same wonderful slow speed maneuvering skills as Marc. Both riders were on Harley Davidson Road Kings by the way, which differ from police motorcycles mostly in that they lack the full fairings and of course some of the police equipment. They're large motorcycles, quite heavy and yet both Pam and Marc made them dance.

Don Gunn, a veteran of 16 years of training Police Motorcycle Officers, a former motorcycle officer, runs the Top Gun Rider Training course for T3RG Motorcycle Schools. The classes are small I am told which allows personal coaching and attention by Don to ensure students get what they need to learn precision riding.

Here's Pam at the start of the demo, addressing the bar crowd at Top Gun Motorsports. They were a bit loud and somewhat inattentive as bar crowds tend to be. That would soon change....

The demonstration starts out with Marc going through the cone obstacle course, acting as your typical untrained rider, duck-walking his motorcycle, rough shifting of gears, lots of stopping and backing up in order to get around some obstacle, unable to make a u-turn without putting his feet down. You get the idea. The looks, smiles and head nodding I saw in the audience said they'd seen such antics themselves from actual riding buddies.

Next, Marc got serious and did the same course several times, at speed and making his big Harley-Davidson Road King motorcycle seemingly dance around the cones!



As you can see in the above pictures, both Marc and Pam aren't afraid to really lean their motorcycles over, with full steering lock, carving out tight turns in a really smooth manner. The once rowdy audience watching from the bar had turned quite silent as they watched the impressive performances.

Next came a short talk by Pam about precision riding and riders who ride two-up. To back up her words, she then got on the back of Marc's motorcycle and they both proceeded to smoothly and quickly do a few runs through the course. This to show two things, demonstrate the proper attitude by the pillion rider and that precision riding is quite possible even when riding two-up.

Two-Up and heeled over

Each time Marc or Pam finished a demonstration run, the applause was quite strong. The owner of Top Gun Motorsports, Todd, remarked to T3RG's Colleen Boyle that the applause the Precision Riders were getting was louder than what the music bands he usually booked for his customers got!

Next, both Pam and Marc played a game of "Follow the Leader". Both of them rode the cone obstacle course several times, Pam closely followed by Marc. So, not only is each rider having to execute their own slow speed maneuvering around cones but also stay within five to seven feet of each other! Not much margin for error but not only did they do it well, they made it look so easy.

Follow the Leader

The talks by both Marc and Pam emphasized that the skills they were demonstrating were not something only achievable through extensive police training but were skills teachable to anyone that is an experienced rider. I could see some thoughtful looks come over several of the watching crowd. I know I'd like to gain such skills and I am sure some of the patrons were having the same thoughts I was having.

Now, T3RG is not saying you'll be able to give a trained and seasoned police motor officer a run for his money after their precision course but with practice I'd say you'd at least impress said officer with your own skills. Not to mention, the looks on your riding buddy's face when you execute that tight 24ft radius U-turn in front of him like it was nothing!

To finish off the demonstration, Pam "challenged" Marc to execute the course but while riding "side saddle". I missed how that got selected, probably something along the lines of "can you do it while riding like a girl", like back in the day when women rode horses side saddle.

Well, let me tell you, Marc not only did the course several times without error but he also did it while standing up with both legs over on the right side of the motorcycle! Pretty impressive stuff and the audience loved it!

Marc doing the "side saddle" challenge

Side saddle and standing

Several of the biker patrons came by T3RG's table to talk to Colleen and to pick up information materials for not only the Top Gun Rider Training course but the other course offered by T3RG. I am thinking this demonstration put on by the Precision Riders might inspire some folks to get that advanced training to not only make them better at slow speed parking lot maneuvers but help keep them safer out on the road.

Informally, Marc and Pam have shown their precision riding skills within their own H.O.G (Harley Owners Group) chapter: Colorado Chapter Thornton. They've inspired several of their fellow riders to take the T3RG training and in the last competition, they placed 7 of the top 10 spots in the Cruiser/Bagger class competition! You really can't argue with results like that.

The course layout used by T3RG is the same as the Blue Knight Top Gun competition uses. If I didn't make it clear, neither Marc nor Pam are motorcycle police officers or undergone that extensive training. Marc is in guitar sales and Pam is in accounts payable for a nationwide restaurant chain, they just had the willingness and motivation to take the training and practice for many, many hours to hone their skill. Being trained by the same expert trainer that teaches the actual police officers is a bonus. In fact, such skills are taught to most T3RG instructors and they even have a motorcycle drill team!

I also found out that the Blue Knight competition and the civilian top gun competitions regularly exchange judges to help out at each event. This says a lot about what the police officers think of the training undergone by T3RG instructors and the high regard they have for Don Gunn, the senior trainer.

Here's T3RG Motorcycle Schools website: LINK Go on over there and see if they offer training that interests you! Training, continuing training, is a good thing. Folks who don't take training on a regular basis, can get complacent and forget stuff. Don't be one of those. I recently underwent the Experienced Rider Course after racking up over 60,000 miles since the Basic Rider Course and I was surprised at how much I'd forgotten or grown complacent about.

Now, to get myself motivated to attend the Top Gun Rider Training.....

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The sights along the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway

Today's ride was to rack up a couple more passes under my belt near the town of Leadville, CO. The town's claim to fame these days being the highest incorporated town in the USA in terms of elevation. The area has quite the colorful historical events, some of these may be the subject of future rides: Leadville History

I got a late start, leaving sometime around 09:30 AM. To make up for such a late start, I used the I-225/25 superslabs to get to I-70 which I took westbound into the mountains. I reached Frisco shortly before Noon and tanked up. Speaking of tanking up, I am happy to report US6 over Loveland Pass is once again open after a fuel tanker overturned on it earlier this week!

I got back on I-70 westbound for a short sprint to Copper Mountain where I exited onto CO 91 southbound heading for Leadville. I've ridden this road before but I must say it's really a nice road to ride. Majestic mountains lay in the distance while you cruise along nice smooth pavement with thick pine forests on both sides.

On CO 91 looking East, where Clinton Creek has been dammed I think. That is Wheeler Mountain in the distance.

Further along on CO 91, near Climax, CO

Historical Marker, the nation's highest Masonic Lodge's location

I turned northwards onto US 24 just as I entered the town limits of Leadville. Not too long afterwards, I cruised by a sign that said "East Tennessee Pass". Since one of the passes I wanted to ride was Tennessee Pass, I thought that might be it. I turned around and got on the road. It was mostly paved with stretches of gravel and dirt. Not too bad, I passed several campsites but the road stopped just before some railroad tracks. I could see the road continuing beyond the tracks but no way I was going to go across those rails!

Where the road ended for me on East Tennessee Pass Road

I turned back towards US 24, picking up a little speed on the dirt road since I was more familiar with it now. Once more I headed north on US 24 and soon enough came upon Tennessee Pass proper.

Enroute to Tennessee Pass

Turns out, the 10th Mountain Division Memorial site is at Tennessee Pass.

I walked over to gaze at all the names of fallen soldiers who'd fought with the 10th Mountain Division.

I rendered hand salutes and got back on Brigitta, now seeking to find the site of Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain formed and trained during WWII.

The site was just a few more miles north on US24. You really can't miss it as its situated in a narrow valley with Mount Powell to the west and Pearl Peak on the East. I turned off at the entrance and got these pictures.

The camp structures are all gone with the exception of the concrete structures above which must have formed the supports for one of the larger buildings on post.

The "streets" of the camp were now packed dirt, perhaps they had always been packed dirt. I could almost picture formations of marching men, singing cadence and making their way to training. Kind of spooky, actually.

I motored on down to the east end of the valley and turned south along East Fork Eagle road to see what I could see. I went down quite a ways, the road was not too bad; you just had to watch where you were going and slow down where appropriate. Lots of quad ATVs roaming about but we gave each other room.

Sheep Mountain, I believe

Right after taking this picture, the road turned a bit more "GS worthy" shall we say. Still doable by Brigitta, just more dodging of rock outcroppings, holes and what not.

I ended up turning around after a few miles when the trail started looking like it was going up the mountain. No time for that today, some other day when I've a GS. Looking at a map, I would have eventually run into Chalk Mountain Reservoir.

Here's a couple of pics of the rock climbing training area used by the 10th Mountain's soldiers:

In the background, there's a shot of what the camp looked like when active

I believe the picture of the soldier traversing that line was shot through the cleft in the rocks just above and to the left of where Brigitta is located.

I got back on US 24 northbound and soon came upon this view of the red-colored cliff near the small town of Red Cliff. I ate my lunch while gazing at this cliff.

click here for a look at the same cliff, back in 1920

After a quick snack, I rode across the bridge over Eagle River and turned right on the road to Red Cliff. It's a very small town with some "quaint" structures. Lots of slow moving cagers gawking about.

Click here for a look at this church back in 1933

The "town hall" has seen better days.

I left the town and turned right at a sign that said: "Shrine Pass". How could I resist?

The road turned almost immediately into packed dirt with gravel, not bad at all really after the stuff at Camp Hale's southern end of the valley. I cruised along at perhaps 15-20 mph.

At one point I saw a GS coming up fast behind me, I slowed and pulled over to the right. He rode past, gave a wave and soon left me looking at his dust trail. He was moving!

Not much to report about Shrine Pass, never saw a sign for it so no pictures. I lost count of the miles but I soon came upon this sign:

I parked Brigitta at the trailhead to the overlook. It was only a 1/4 mile walk and a nice wheelchair accessible trail. Yes, I was thinking I could have ridden Brigitta down the trail but I didn't. See I do have some self-control.

There's a wooden observation platform at the overlook but its center portion had collapsed. There was "caution" tape preventing one from walking onto it and possibly getting hurt.

Still, you could see Mount Holy Cross in the far distance. It was very hazy today though and this view is the best I could get:

So what made this mountain so famous? Back in 1892 William Henry Jackson captured this picture of snow on the mountain, in the form of a crucifix: LINK

I walked back to Brigitta and resumed my riding on Shrine Pass Road. The road, by the way, apparently goes by Shrine Mountain, hence the name.

Soon after the overlook, I came upon the trailhead for Shrine Ridge. There were a gaggle of hikers there and a small parking lot. I stopped here to pose Brigitta for these shots:

Back on the road again, I soon came upon Vail Pass. This was where Shrine Pass Road ended up at I-70 at exit 190. I turned east on I-70 and found that it put me just a few miles further west of where I had turned south onto CO 91 early in the day!

It was after 4 PM by now and I had to be home to watch the boys since it was "girls night out" for my wife and her friends. The rest of the ride was uneventful superslab riding in medium to heavy traffic.

The temperatures which had ranged from the high 50s to low 60s all day in the mountains steadily climbed as I rode closer to Denver. By the time I got to the C-470 slab, the temperature was in the mid 80s!

My route today

I got home just before 6 PM. Dinner was ready and my wife was actually taking the boys over to play for a while at a friends house! So I had the house to myself for a bit anyways. 307 miles covered today, perhaps 8 hours in the saddle. Plenty of dirt roads, superslabs and two lane mountain roads. A good day of riding.