Exploring Trail Ridge Road
A couple of weeks ago, I ventured up Trail Ridge Road which goes above the tree line to 3600 metres above sea level(!!!).
For those of you in Melbourne, take two Mount Buller’s (and a little bit more), put them on top of each other, and you get the same height above sea level on Trail Ridge Road. Averaging 4% for 35km and getting steeper towards the top, it took me just under two hours of climbing to reach the summit. The ride started in green paddocks and favourable conditions in the low 20’s. However, by the time I reached the top I was riding alongside snow walls at least a couple of metres high, temperatures had dropped to barely above zero, and black clouds rolled in. Well, it doesn’t rain at 3600m, it hails, and hail hurts! …so I didn’t hang around for long and started descending ASAP.
ONLY two days earlier, conditions were like this and the road was closed. I’d have been blown of the road, and likely turned into a white walker…
This was one of the most memorable training rides I’ve done to date, (up there with the first time I decided to climb up Mt Hotham and bonked)… I’m sure riding something like the Stelvio in Italy lined with snow would trump this, but I’ve never had to opportunity to ride it. There’s an information visitors centre at the top, which I’m guessing serves a great hot chocolate, but unfortunately I couldn’t hang around for long. If you’re after a ~300km epic, you can also descend down the other side and loop around via Grand Lake.
Maybe next time…
The descent was long and cold, and I had to slow down pretty quickly to avoid a few herds of Elk. (Are they called herds?). After climbing for pretty much for 4 hours and over 70km, the hard work was done and it was mostly all downhill back home, for a round trip of just under 7 hours and 190km. Oh, and a stop at the Bakery of course. Photo’s don’t do it justice, but here’s a few extra photo’s from the day!
And if you want to check it out, here’s a link to the strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/592501528/overview
Thanks for reading, BC