It has been a crazy spring and summer all over the country for weather. Idaho had a miserably cold and wet spring. Colorado has had a ton of snow and rain. For the past week and a half here in Denver we have had a storm every afternoon. It has been fantastic. It starts with really cool clouds that build into the flatland from the mountains and then produce some serious downpours with plenty of thunder and lightning. It has been very enjoyable and made for some unbelievable sunsets and sunrises. My girl and I went for a drive the other night and saw this sunset over the Flatirons of Boulder. Her comment was, "It's so pretty it hurts!"
That was the segue into riding. I just needed to illustrate it's been raining a ton. I also work a ton. 18 hour shift on Sunday. That doesn't leave a lot of time to ride. So, when I have the energy, I'm going whether the weather's cooperating or not!
I finished a short 12 hour shift on Thursday of last week. I needed to ride and forget about the previous 12 hours. Sunuvabitch. It's raining. I still don't have my good gear and it still isn't going to stop me. I geared up in my mesh and cotton and headed South. I was on I-25 and doing the time calculations in my head for when I might get home. Hmmm.... It's 7:15 now, three hour-ish loop...yep, it's gonna be dark. Maybe this isn't my best decision of all time, but I need a ride.
I had a close call on the Interstate with an idiot that decided he needed to exit NOW! Emergency maneuver, ADV rider salute, and we continue. The Tiger is pretty damn agile and I'm safe.
It took longer than I thought to get to Monument, CO. The rain is already penetrating into my cotton work clothes. It is a warm rain tonight and actually feels good.
I say sunuvabitch about the rain, but the truth is that I actually have this weird affinity for riding in it. Maybe I just learned to like it when a motorcycle was my only vehicle back in college. I was just thankful to able to get somewhere. I did have to ride in the snow a few times on my 1993 Katana 750, and that wasn't very fun. I didn't miss class though!
I start heading for Mt. Herman Rd and can't find a gas station except for the ten I passed right when I got off the interstate. I had no choice but to turn around, wait for a train at the tracks I just crossed, and go back to get gas. While I was filling up, my room mate texted me to ask if I was ok on my bike.
"Cause they had to rescue a few people from I-25 in a flash flood!"
"Oh. I went South. It's only a moderate downpour here. :)"
I probably should check the weather before I head off piste.
No red. All good.
Gassed up and light fading, I head out on my evening ride into the unknown. These dirt roads are all new to me and I can only guess by what the atlas looks like as to how long it will take to get home. My best estimate is I'm 80 miles from home.
The plan is pretty simple. Mt. Herman Rd. to Rampart Range Rd. to 67. Sign says 13 miles to Rampart Range Rd from town. Ok, I know how far that section is at least. It's 7:55 when I get to dirt.
As I get closer to the mountains, the rain lets up.
It is shaping up to be a fun ride. Traction is good and my spirits are up.
As I climb I see these tracks around every turn. I really hope I don't meet some teenager in a WRX going sideways around one of these corners!
I am getting to the top of the ridge now and seeing some very cool rock formations. This is such a cool corner of the world.
I did see that it was a Jeep making those tracks. I passed him doing doughnuts on a side road. Sweet.
I finally made it to Rampart Range Rd. 63 miles to Denver and 8:34. Yeah, it's gonna be a late night.
Rampart is a wide open gravel road, so going is quick. I am still trying to stop and take pictures with my crappy old 3Gs iPhone while I have light. The sun even poked it's head out for a minute.
This is a very popular area for OHV and camping so there are just a ton of offshoot trails that I'll come back to get lost on.
I am doing more time and distance calculations in my head when,
OH SHIT RABBIT!!!
Dammit Hobbes! Oh well. Tigers will be Tigers. Hobbes has his first kill.
We continued on our way and the fog started to set in and the rain started again. Then, I came to this:
Fresh snow on July 7!!! Can't say it's the first time I've seen it, but it's rare.
That was one hell of a storm that rolled though. There are all sorts of tree branches and leaves scattered all over the road. The temp has come back up and the fog is getting thick and the rain harder. The headlight on the Tiger is fantastic! I still could have used some HIDs hanging off the side though.
That's the last picture.
I continued my ride and the road is starting to lose altitude now. Every turn I get a little lower, the temp gets a little higher, and it rains a little harder. I made it off the dirt and back to the pavement of 67. It is almost 930 and completely dark.
85 brings me back into Denver and I'm having a really hard time seeing. Like I said in the start, maybe not my best decision ever, but man, do I feel good! I needed that. I just have to make it home.
It is raining really hard and there is standing water all over the place. I took the trade off between not being able to see very well due to the road spray of the semi tires and the safety of the puddle-less road they provide. I follow this semi til I get on I-25 North for just a few miles before I'm home. I briefly flipped my visor up and braved the stinging of the pellets on my face to see exactly where the on-ramp was. It was perfect timing to notice the 2 foot plus puddle just to my left. Would have taken me out for sure. With that last obstacle avoided by sheer dumb luck, I'm home. Relaxed and SOAKED!!!