It was a beautiful morning as I rolled out. I parked in Loveland and decided to head up US 34 towards Estes Park. I knew the Texas 4000 was there and headed to Fort Collins but knew nothing else. If I ran into them I would say hello.
US 34 is not a good cycling road. There usually is a small shoulder but at times that disappears. I had gone about six miles when I entered Big Thompson Canyon. It is very beautiful and while narrow, cars have to go slow through there too so it wasn’t bad at all. While in the canyon.
I came to a roadside monument to 144* people who lost their lives on July 31, 1976, when rains inundated the river and canyon. My thoughts went to the names of rose people and their ages. The 9 year old would now be 48.
The road climbed. Period. I came to an intersection and both directions had a mileage sign for Estes Park. However, in one direction it warned cyclists against using that road. Hard to believe I was on the better route.
Nearing Estes Park I saw what I thought was a fox cross the road and scamper into the hill hillside. But it was larger than a fox. I’m thinking now it must have been a coyote.
Not much of a shoulder
As I reached Estes Park I saw no signs of the Texas 4000. I looked at a welcome map and plotted my turnaround point in town. I had gone 200 meters farther when three women of the Texas 4000 went rolling by. I turned around and followed. I introduced myself and all we’re welcoming.
After riding six miles I turned around and went back towards Estes Park until the next group went by. I turned around and jumped in.
The only negative of the day was a country deputy sheriff decided to harass some cyclists. Other than his county his laws, he was wrong on so many counts. But best to play along so I did.
Barney Fife had mentioned he had seen the Texas 4000 yesterday and I suspected that he was out to send them a message. But I wasn’t the college coed he was expecting. He asked for ID, told me that they believe in “sharing the road and all that but not when there’s traffic.” He then told me I had a challenge to catch up to them, as if flying through his 35 mph road would be OK. What a jerk.
I apparently almost caught them at their rest break. I met some riders, especially Olivia and Landon, and was interviewed for their documentary. I did not mention douchebag cops.
We rolled out, this time I was with the third group, until we got to Loveland. I wished them well and rode back for the fourth group. I also rode with them until Loveland, wished them Godspeed then went on my way.
US 34 is a beautiful ride but somewhat scary headed up to Estes Park. Unless they controlled traffic during an event like Ride the Rockies, it is not one that I will likely return to.
*Since updated to 143 because one of the victims that was missing and presumed drowned was living in Oklahoma