I know I said before that I was lamenting using one of the last good weekend days to hike, but, as it turns out, Colorado has offered a few good ones since then. And with the lapse of daylight savings time, I now really only have weekends for road biking. Last weekend was beautiful so I headed to the Dams Road ride both days. The Dams Road (also known as CR23) skirts along the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir. I had done the first big climb past Horsetooth Dam (right on the map linked before) many times, but never the full ride on the ridge road. Saturday I cut out at Dixon Reservoir and headed back to Fort Collins. Sunday I headed back out to do the full ride.
My route first took me west over Bingham Hill then I headed south towards the dams. A short jaunt found me at the bottom of the toughest climb of the day. It’s not terribly long, but it’s steep. I dropped to my lowest gear to grind up the hill at 5-6 mph (sometimes sub-5). From there it was a combination of quick descents and short, mild climbs (blips, really).
It looks much less intimidating from this angle.
The views along the ridge are quite spectacular. To the east, the landscape quickly drops into Fort Collins sprawl while the Reservoir and mountains sit to the west. With the temperature around 75, I slowed down to take in the scenery and watch others out to enjoy the day.
I soon found myself at the bottom of the second big climb (Centennial climb, I believe the cool kids call it). Looking at the steep road ahead, I had bailed out here the day before. This day, I gear down, preparing myself to settle in and grind away. I soon found, though, my perception of the hill was worse than the reality. In fact, I was able to gear up and quickly ascend up the climb. Another ridge and a descent and I was at the road heading back to Fort Collins. There, 20 yards from the T in the road, my back tire flatted.
Roadie, temporarily out of commission.
I have to say, though, that there are much worse places to flat than on a ridge overlooking glittering water with a mountainous background.