Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Ride to Pikes Peak but no ride to the top

Pikes Peak was opened all the way to the top yesterday, Friday May 28.  I thought to myself, cool, time to take Natasha up to the top on Saturday, today.

After a few chores around the house, I left just before 9:00 AM and made my way south by way of CO83 which takes one through the towns of Parker and Franktown and then it's just two lane highway all the way to Colorado Springs.  It was very windy, I was fighting a headwind all the way down and at times was barely able to make 45 mph as one steadily gains altitude on the way to the Springs.

 Pikes Peak from the scenic overlook alongside I-25, just south of the Air Force Academy
Natasha's ignition module overheated apparently, had to spray it down with water after removing the plastic cover, then it started right up.

I got to the Springs and using the Interquest Highway, made my way to I-25 which I got on for a few miles of slab riding to the Cimarron Street exit which is also the exit for US24.  That's when things started falling apart.  There was a line to get off the slab and it was slow stop and go traffic for  quite a while until I finally cleared the boundaries of Colorado Springs and passed by Manitou Springs.

Some canyon highway riding saw me go past the Cave of the Winds tourist attraction and finally I turned off onto the road that leads one to the Pikes Peak Highway.  I was approaching the tollbooth station and had my hopes crushed when I saw the handwritten sign by the window:  "Pikes Peak Road is open 15 of the 19 roads to the top, high wind warning!"

Well, I wasn't going to pay the $12 to only go up 15 of the 19 miles up to the top of Pikes Peak so I u-turned and spent about an hour exploring the hill roads of Manitou Springs unsuccessfully trying to find roads leading up into the hills surrounding Manitou Springs.

I did swing by the Cave of the Winds attraction to get the shot below, didn't do the tour.

Near the Cave of the Winds Tourist Attraction

I stopped to call the Pikes Peak Ranger station again and now the recording said that they'd closed the road at the 13 mile point!  Apparently the winds had gotten worse.  Natasha chose that moment to refuse to start up again, more spraying of water on the really hot ignition module and she started once again.  These ignition modules have known issues with heat and the day sure was a warm one.  I guess Urals prefer cold weather!

At this point it was almost 1:00PM and I still had a chore to do at home so I headed back.  I basically reversed my route outbound.  Oh, and the headwind I'd battled all the way south, it apparently reversed itself and I battled it all the way north as well!  Still, it kept me in my riding gear nice and cool in spite of the warm weather and sunny conditions.

Made it home with no further incident, not sure what to do about Natasha's propensity to not start when it's hot outside, guess I'll ride without the plastic cover and just spray the module down if it overheats!  Annoying.


SonjaM said...

What a brilliant day. Warm weather, sunny conditions (Sunny? What's that?). And some lovely Natasha pics. it never ceases to amaze me how you deal with her little indispositions.

Oz said...

Sorry you did not get to go up Pikes Peak, but I am sure the ride was nice. Great pics.
Look forward to reading about you next attempt to go up.

RichardM said...

Is the ignition module attached to a heat sink? If so, maybe the thermal grease between the module and the heat sink has dried up. I just pulled mine off today and all that was left of the thermal paste was yellowish-white powder. Plus the screw that attached the aluminum heat sink to the frame was loose. I'm surprised that I haven't had too many problems so far. Maybe the temperatures have been cool enough.

redlegsrides said...

Sonja, yeah...natasha can sometimes make a ride more interesting than usual. Still she's a lot of fun to ride around.

Motoroz, thanks, it'll get done before long.

RichardM: your advice would be dead-on with an airhead beemer (and yes, I recently renewed the paste on mine). However, the ignition module on a Ural is called called the Silver Hockey puck, is attacked to front of engine and is connected to the timing gears. I think most of the heat comes from its acting as a heat sink for the engine!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Do you remember when the comedian Bill Cosby said he used to walk 11 miles back and fourth to school, uphill — both ways. That's what I imaged your headwind to be like.

I have just dealt with a mechanical issue myself this week. It may or may not have been heat related. Has the ignition module issue confronted you before? How did you know to spray water on it?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...


you being a K-bike rider with what you K-bike riders call a "proper engine cooling system" are missing out on all the perks of riding air-cooled boxer engine motorcycles!

I could go into a highly technical diatribe about how you must have four things to make an internal combustion engine run but I would be remiss.....not to mention also probably putting you to sleep. Suffice to say, the sucker was really hot to the touch! I had gas, I had air, no cracks in the case so I had compression....that left spark.

I water it down to cool it, the engine cranks AND starts! Ergo, it was the ignition module, aka the silver hockey puck of doom amongst the Ural cognoscenti.