Berthoud Pass

IDAHO SPRINGS, COLORADO
DAY 7 (UNOFFICIAL) – RIDE THE ROCKIES
Today was supposed to be my redo of Ride the Rockies Day 1. Bradley Allen picked me up at my hotel and we drove out to Idaho Springs for our start. The RTR ride started in Boulder but the Colorado State Patrol closed Boulder Canyon to vehicular traffic on Sunday. We would not have that luxury and best to keep it a safe ride and not ride through there.
Idaho Springs

On Sunday the riders rolled out in good weather with no idea what was ahead. Severely dropping temperatures, wind, rain and snow. Few riders made it over the 11,000 foot Berthoud Pass to Winter Park. Many made the climb but were not permitted to attempt the dangerous descent. And perhaps the majority were stopped at Empire and were told the course was closed. We had no such problem with the weather today

Barry and Brad

Twelve days ago I rode with a group of cancer riders in Pennsylvania. The one rider I rode with on both days was Jamie Roberts. I really liked her. We had stopped in at my sister, Betsy’s, house for ice and a bathroom break. I learned this morning Jamie was killed after being struck by a pickup truck in Kentucky yesterday. This hit me hard. Real hard.

Riding for Jamie
Last night while we were at dinner I was reliving my first couple of days with Team Portland and riding in Pennsylvania. I showed Brad a picture on my phone of the riders when they stopped at Betsy’s place.

Jamie Roberts, Betsy Sherry, Barry Sherry, Dan Johnson

Just as I was going to bed I checked Facebook and saw a couple of posts suggesting something horrific happened to one of the cancer riders. I messaged Trish Kallis but got no response. I went to bed wondering what happened.

In the morning it became clear when Sarah Eddy posted an article from the Baltimore Sun that a rider had been killed. And it was Jamie. I was crushed.

Jamie Roberts
Credit: Jamie’s Facebook Page

Bradley arrived and texted that he was at the hotel waiting. Through tears I was inside sharing the article on Facebook about Jamie. And when I came out of the hotel he asked if I was OK. Clearly I wasn’t.

I don’t think Bradley realized she was my friend when he was given a name but when I didn’t come out of the hotel immediately and he checked my status update, he knew for sure.

Bradley brought a Sharpie and we both wrote Jamie’s name on our calves. After parking in Idaho Springs (7,526′) we found a couple of cyclists to take our picture. I had been to Idaho Springs once before, if you don’t count yesterday. That was in 2007 when I rented a bike at a small store and rode up Mt. Evans. The store is gone, replaced by a Kum & Go.

One of the riders told us to forget our cue sheets and to follow US 40. He was wrong. We started out of Idaho Springs and saw that 40 merged into I-70. It was probably legal to ride on the shoulder but certainly no fun. And not real safe. The RTR directions were still marked on the road making it easy to follow.

The “Original” Hard Rock Cafe
Empire, Colorado
I wasn’t prepared for the amount of climbing to Empire and to the base of the climb to Berthoud Pass. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for the wind. It was wicked at times and always in our face.
Last General Store
It was Closed

My mind was consumed completely with Jamie. This was truly a day dedicated to her memory. Riding wasn’t fun today. I was consumed with sadness

Crossing Berthoud Pass

The climb was long but not especially difficulty, especially going as slow as I was. Up ahead Bradley had to wait for me. Often. The temperature dropped on the climb.

Looking back towards Empire
At the summit we took a picture being sure to show our dedication to Jamie’s memory. We also discovered we were at the Continental Divide which was a bit confusing to me. I crossed it at Rabbit Ears Pass and thought I crossed back at Loveland Pass. I’m thinking I crossed it one more time at I am unaware of.
Jamie on our minds and legs

Having “lost” the race to the summit I cautioned Bradley not to follow me down the mountain if I do something stupid. And off we went. His ultra-skinny body had its advantage in climbing but I roll faster downhill. I took off and eventually waited for him then we rode the lower slopes together.

Berthoud Pass – 11,307′

Arriving Winter Park we picked up my rental car which I had driven here on Sunday, went to lunch, then drove to the Loveland Pass ski area. We had hoped to ride to Idaho Springs from the ski area for an additional ride and more miles but it turned cold (55) and looked stormy. We hadn’t brought cold or foul weather riding gear.

Looking towards Winter Park

I climbed some big passes and tough climbs during Ride the Rockies. But today’s ride was the toughest.

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