Monday, July 25, 2011
Carter Lake Ride
Nora, Deirdre, and J at Carter Lake
With their century ride coming up, J, Nora, and Deirdre were looking for a challenging training ride, and it's hard to beat the classic Masonville-Carter Lake Loop. This loop begins with great climbs past Horsetooth, a tougher climb to Carter Lake, and some rural cruising in between, but has sufficient shoulders and driver awareness to make it safer and less intimidating than some of the canyons. I've enjoyed this loop very much in the past, but hadn't ridden it this year, and was very pleased to be able to ride it with my wife and friends.
We met early at Spring Canyon Park, which makes for a 50 mile loop. By riding from our house, we would go above 60. After having ridden the dams the previous week, the girls were ready for the first climb, and soon settled into a steady grind up the hill. We regrouped after the first few climbs, and then on the first fast descent, I was happily surprised to see Deirdre come flying by, eventually catching up with another pack of riders! She's an aggressive and confident descender, so I lazily and unapologetically drafted behind her on the next downhill.
Finally we hit the Masonville turn, which was a new and enjoyable route for some of them. The girls mostly chatted, and I was happy enough to ride out for any support, but as it turns out we pretty much rotated so I had a chance to talk with them as well. Soon enough, it was starting to get warm out, we were already at 30 miles, and the Carter climb was in sight.
They weren't too happy with the sight of the climb, which I had warned them about, but (with one quick break) it took 13 or 14 minutes. Then we hit the best part of the ride: as soon as you crest the hill, the reservoir comes into view, the temperature drops noticeably, and the smell of pine trees is in the air. I don't think any of them had been to Carter Lake before, but it wouldn't have been nearly the same experience when driving there. We filled up on water and took some pictures around the lake, enjoying a slightly cooler breeze, before blasting downhill.
We wound our way back through country rodes, and Nora and I worked on some pacing again. Since a headwind picked up just a bit, this made a noticeable difference, but we'd end up pulling away from the others. We headed up Taft, making great time with no mechanicals, and finally hit the last few hills (which always seem bigger) after Coyote Ridge.
We hit Spring Canyon again with 56 on J's odometer -- a great ride! We ran a few errands by bike and then got some well-deserved Wahoo's for lunch. 62M/100k when we got back to our condo, J's farthest ride ever. The girls are looking great for the century ride, one more longer ride and they'll be set for sure!