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2nd Session- Ride the Fall Colors of Carbondale Colorado

September 28th to October 5th

Ride Director: Huey Hurst
Ride Co-Director: Barb Rudolph
Report by: Charles Windisch

The ride officially kicked off with a meet and greet, general 
information meeting at 4:30pm on September 28 at the Carbondale CO
Comfort Inn. The ride leaders introduced themselves; we then went around
the room introducing ourselves with basic information such as name,
hometown and occupation. Happy hour beverages and snacks were provided,
as was the norm for all the other daily group meetings held in the late
afternoon. The Comfort Inn would serve as our home base for the next week.
Some rides started right from the Inn; others involved a remote start - 
generally a short ride to a neighboring town/location.

The ride leaders were more than qualified for their assignments. Huey
has lived in the Carbondale area for many years, and as a former UPS driver
knows all the roads and routes as well as anyone. Barb has lead several other
BAC trips, so is well acquainted with the role of ride leader.

All rides were available through the ride with gps (ridewgps) website prior to
the start. By downloading the rides to a cellphone, one could navigate
any of the rides anytime. There was something for everyone - short, medium and 
long mileage rides each day. The naming convention started with a number followed
by a description of the ride. For instance, 3.0 indicated a ride for the third day
(Friday). The mileage and elevation gain was included.

A couple of words on the rides. The trip was rated as 2B, which meant an average
daily mileage of 30-50 and an elevation gain of 1500-2500 feet. Some rides were 
actually more than 2B; some less, but the average was 2B. The elevation of
Carbondale is about 6100 feet. This bothered several of the riders (myself included)
that were used to riding at sea level. It does take some time to acclimate to
the higher elevation. Coming earlier does have some benefit. At the daily late 
afternoon meeting, the suggested options for the next day were discussed. These
were merely suggested options, but riders could also basically do whatever route 
they wanted to, or not ride at all. As an example, my wife and I (along with two
other couples) had decided that on Friday we were going to Aspen Highlands to hike
to see the Maroon Bells. So on that particular day we hiked instead of biking
(Note: Highly recommended!). For the most part, the rides were a bit challenging
but fair. We actually brought three bikes with us - a tandem and two gravel bikes.
The first day we rode the tandem, but after that decided that the rest of the rides
would work better on the gravel bikes.

Key to success is being flexible. For instance, Wednesday started out with rain in the
morning, but radar indicated clearing after noontime. We waited, and by 1pm the sun
was starting to poke out. We headed out on the Rio Grande bike path for an out and 
back ride of about 30 miles. (The Rio Grande is a paved bike path that runs right 
through Carbondale; heading north leads you to Glenwood Springs (12 miles) while 
heading south leads to Aspen (roughly 30 miles)).

Thursday was a remote start day, just outside of Basalt (a neighboring town). The ride 
followed a river through a picturesque gorge, leading to the Ruedi Dam. There was an
option to continue futher (hilly!) or turn around and enjoy the downhill back to the
cars. We opted to head back at the dam and have lunch in Basalt. Total mileage: 26.
Saturday was a start from the Comfort Inn. Heading out on the bike path, we turned 
and headed up the "Missouri Heights" hills. Challenging, but the roads were mostly 
quiet and the reward was a mostly downhill 6.5 mile stretch towards the end. Total
mileage for us was 36.

Sunday brought us another remote start - this time just outside of Aspen. Parking
at the middle school, we headed up the "Frying Pan" past the ghost town of Ashcroft.
The views of the mountains at the turn around point were quite impressive.
Monday, our final day of riding, started from the Inn. Heading south on the bike path,
we turned off on the Woody Creek road. After snacks and water, it was back to the Inn.
The tr3:37 PM 10/26/2021ip featured three group dinners (all very good, including one at a Japanese 
Restaurant) and all breakfasts. Due to Covid concerns, there was some doubt early
on if breakfast would be supplied. As the virus eased up somewhat, we were able to
eat breakfast at the Inn.

Some miscellaneous notes: The fall colors were quite pretty. The aspen trees turn a 
very brilliant yellow - almost glowing. Mount Sopris (due south) at almost 13000 feet
had some early snow on the summit. Very beautiful. Carbondale is not the easiest to
get to via air. Most (if not all) made the drive by car. Driving solves another problem
in that you can take your bike(s). Renting bikes from the local shops is not easy - 
many are gearing up for the winter season and are in the process of selling the 
summer season rentals. As for dress, layering is the name of the game. Mornings 
started out quite chilly, but the days warmed up by afternoon. Bring a pack and
shed the layers as the temps warm up. And finally, you get to meet some really great 
people, from all parts of the U.S.. At the end, everyone feels like "family". After 
breakfast on Tuesday, it was time to say goodbye and wish everyone safe travels on
their next adventure.


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PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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