right as i left the visitor center feeling all tough, i looked out at the road and this is what i saw.


very steep uphill, no shoulder, and it started raining again really hard and the wind was just out of control. i had forgotten that the visitor center is not the highest point on the road. it was some 400 feet higher just east of me [the direction i was heading] . it wasn’t just 400 feet, it was climb 200 feet, drop 200 feet, climb…etc.

i actually didn’t mind the climbs too much, because it was keeping me warm. on every descent, i had a very hard time of it. there was no shoulder and the traffic was coming on strong. i couldn’t keep a straight line because of the wind gusts. i finally just had to dismount my bike and walk down hill. i was getting colder by the minute… really cold. the wind and rain were both getting more intense. because i was walking i was getting no where. it was so depressing, after every climb i would look over the bend and only see more descent followed by more climbing. each next climb seemed higher than the previous. at this point i was really worried the something was going to happen to me. i couldn’t stop shivering, and my hands were getting too numb to do anything. one weird thing was that my hands could not do anything, but squeeze the brakes.

at one point i had to wait for a construction traffic light and there was no protection from the wind and rain. i had to sit there in front of all these car, pretending like i was ok. i thought my uncontrollable violent shivering might have given me away… but it didn’t. when the signal waiting was over the traffic guard told me to go first. i went ahead and tried sprinting across, so i wouldn’t hold back the drivers. i was “sprinting” into a direct headwind with rain/ice pounding my face and glasses. i couldn’t see anything but a blur of the other construction signal. right after i got to the other side i pulled over and tried to rest, while the traffic passed me by.

i little while after i stopped i found a place to hide from the wind. here is a picture looking down.


this is what i looked like at that moment.


more of trail ridge looking down.


this road seemed to never have any relief. the only thing that kept me going, was the fact that i could live to tell about it. when i finally got to tree line, things didn’t get too much better. the road is completely shady and the rain seems to be going strong. i could not warm up.


i was very happy when i got to the top. i ran into a few people that had seen me riding up. they were pretty impressed with my accomplishment… and so was it. i asked one of them if they could take this picture, so i could have something to show for my pain.

i was pretty happy… “mission accomplished!” i put on my new hat, and pulled my jacket sleeves over my hands/gloves and headed out of the parking lot. it was going to be an easy cruse down trail ridge road…. or so i thought.


there is the visitor center. it finally stopped raining hard.


i don’t know how many miles i’ve been in the saddle so far but i do know that i have 2 miles to go.


right now i can hear the thunder all around me. it’s almost every thirty seconds apart. remember those beautiful peaks in my last post? well they are echoing the thunder all around me. every time lightning strikes the sound circles 360 degrees around me. it’s quite disturbing.


can you see the visitor center? it won’t be long now before i get to tree line. it’s raining really good right now. in the picture just below, you can see a white minivan. nothing special, just i thought it was inspiring to see someone actually at the end.


the rain turned to hail, and it’s not feeling very good. i guess the good part is that i am not getting wet :) the lightning kind of stopped and i am starting to see tree line. i was going to stop and wait under a tree till the lightning stopped, but since it stopped i can keep going.

i got about a half mile into tree line and the thunder and lightning started! now i’m scared no where to hide… crap! i pulled over to the side of the road near the embankment hoping to get a little shelter from the lightning. there was no where to really sit down unless i felt like sitting on tundra… which i didn’t. so there i was standing over my bike in a ditch next to the road [sorry no picture].

one couple passed by and the guy asked if everything was alright dude… yeah i’m fine. while i was there i thought that i would get some food. remember it’s pouring rain at this point. i pull out my burrito from this morning and carefully remove the soggy paper that it’s wrapped in. this is not easy, because it is very fragile and breaking into very small pieces. i manage to pull it back about an inch or so and take a bite. not sure if i got all the paper off. so i don’t want to hold the burrito in the rain while i am chewing, so i bit off as much as i can before i get to the start of the paper.

ok, so do you have a good picture: it’s raining/hailing very hard, there is lightning every thirty to forty seconds, i am standing in a ditch over my bike, eating a cold taco bell burrito… with my mouth full. at this point some lady drives by and asks if i’m ok. i can’t speak, because my mouth is so full… i don’t know what my face looks like at this point, but i just nodded my head. i probably looked really sick at this point, she had this kind of scared look on her face. she said, “are you sure?”….”i have a bike rack in the back…” i really wanted a ride but, i was so close. i thanked her for the offer, but turned her down. i wonder if she even understood what i said, my mouth was so full. by the way that cold burrito was so good, i can’t believe how much better it was that the one i ate down in estes.

it felt like the lightning slowed down a bit, so i packed up and continued my quest.