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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pike's Peak or Bust Run

What a dazzling day to ride the Peak! Sigh, you roll your eyes…it’s just another mountain in Colorado!

Yes, it is, however, Pike’s Peak isn’t paved all the way to the top. The hairpin turns are there along with switchbacks and a few don’t go to close to the edge because it’s straight down stretches of roads.

I put the word out that I wanted to do this run and two of my friends decided that it was the ride to do for that day—so our little group was three. No one else wanted to do the dirt portion! Well, I can certainly understand…….

If you didn’t know, the song America the Beautiful was penned back in 1893 by Katharine Lee Bates on her journey up Pike’s Peak. I’m almost sure that her trip, by wagon, took quite a bit longer than our ride! We had about 150 motorcycles show up for this run!

Registration, gabbing with the other folks and breakfast made up our early morning…and we mounted for the mountain (LOL) right before 11:00 am. The ride up is always fun; Highway 24 is one of my favorite “local” rides to do.

Goofin' at registration

There were several scheduled stops—one of which included the souvenir shop at Crystal Lake. You know we all want the pin and patch….well, I rode the Peak last year and already have the pin, so I wanted the patch for this year!

My friends and I are pretty far back in the pack—as a matter of fact we are in the back so when we get to the parking lot (which happens to be fine gravel over hard-packed dirt) there’s very little room. I am trying to maneuver in, turn and slow all at the same time—in a shallow hole while on this not too agreeable surface. It doesn’t work.

One thing about a motorcycle is that it’s not as maneuverable when it is not rolling. As I pull in, I have to stop—there is no room for me to go. Unfortunately, gravity takes over and I am hanging on for dear life to stay upright. At a “funny” (read, not level) angle with all the conditions makes a prime situation for a drop.

Fortunately, my feet are planted and I am able to stay upright. I correct all the issues—get out of the hole, turned and parked with the rest of the pack. It was just rotten timing that gets me stopped at that particular spot.

I need a break to recover my nerves!

We have a bit of a break, shop a bit (did you know that shopping cures most ills??), and then head back up. I’m pretty okay at this point so it back up the mountain. I’m grateful that the road is still pavement at this point so I can get back in the groove!

Of course, the pavement ends and we have a few pull out. One being a custom chopper. I don’t blame him. The road from that point forward is hard packed dirt and I’d be crying if something happened. Heck, I was almost crying from my near-drop!

The temps had been steadily dropping and the clouds were moving in. At this time during the day any cloud cover manages to accumulate on the mountain and this was no exception. One of my friends had noticed that a couple coming down had their rain gear on. Are we going to see rain??

We did not see any rain, but the clouds were low lying and we rode through it. It was pretty interesting to see the cloud cover roll over the road! Doesn’t really “feel” like anything; it is more or less like watching thick patches of fog drift over the road.

We also get to see quite a bit of wildlife—the bighorn sheep were all over the mountain!!

Finally, the summit! We get in and get parked. I yell at my girlfriend—I’ve got to get the bike and the sign…for the scavenger hunt. We are competing pretty hard so she pulls out behind me and away we go!

Part of the Group with Karla and Me
Scavenger Hunt Image--25 points!!!

Well, the rest of the group gets together for the group shot…so my pic of my motorcycle and the Pike’s Peak Summit sign includes 100+ of my newest friends!! LOL….

Group Shot--but not everyone!

What can I say *grins*??

The three Brave MSR ladies

We visit for a while and do more shopping!

Then it is time to head down. Really, the ride down is pretty uneventful. First and second gear and letting gravity do the work. There were a couple of “pucker factor” spots in our little group, but for the most part it was fine! There were no drops, crashes or breakdowns!!

We headed out to the after ride party and chilled for a bit….

It was a good day in motorcycle land for this girl!!

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

P.S….I should have my pics up fairly soon….


Biker Betty said...

Sounded like a great ride. Sorry I missed it, but I had other motorcycle adventures going on at that time. Hopefully next year.

Glad it all went well, Betty :)

Mustang said...

wow, that sounds like a neat ride. do upload the pictures, would be great to see them..


Biker Betty said...

This is even better now, with the pictures!!! I'm glad everyone had so much fun.

Betty :)

Beaker said...

I remember seeing a video a few years back of a rally car driving up to the top of Pikes Peak, filmed from a helicopter. The guy was really gunning it up the dirt and man some of the drop offs looked pretty scary!!

Another place I would love to ride - looks like it was a god day.

Question - have you ever ridden and not shopped??

Christine said...

Yes, I have ridden and not shopped....LOL...

Have you??