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Into Thin Air

By June 14, 2009March 22nd, 20175 Comments

Jon Krakauer had something when he wrote his book. I didn’t even get high enough to be half the elevation of Everest, but getting there! Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest continuous road in the United States, with a good portion of it between 11,000 and 12,300′! When riding up that high, the altitude must be treated with respect. Weather can turn in the blink of an eye from a bluebird sunny day to an utter nightmare with lightning, snow, hail, and hypothermia. Fortunately, today was nice for the most part.


Mr. Kerkove got me out of bed at 6 AM (again) today and we headed out to Estes Park (via car). I was admittedly a bit cooked from the high altitude suffering the day before, but still more than willing to get on the saddle and go! I had been up on this road once in a car, and was excited to make the voyage on my bike. There were no words to describe the views.

Jeff rode with me for the first hour, and then had a mission to accomplish and headed up the road. I met him at the car 4.5 hours later.

Then it was just me and the quiet, patient giants.

I actually do ride my road bike sometimes. 🙂

My legs started to feel just fine after about 1.5 hours. Amazingly, the altitude wasn’t really bothering me as far as breathing. I didn’t feel short of breath, but I did feel like I couldn’t push. The summit was 12,300′ and it was incredibly windy. I was jerked around by the wind and had to go pretty slow on the DH to make sure I didn’t get blown off my bike. I could feel myself get a bit panic-y about it, but was able to chill. It was also about 40-45F up there!


Before getting to treeline. The ride started at about 8000′.


The snow wall was pretty tall in some spots.


Pano. Watch out with your computer volume – the wind is loud.

I went up and over the summit, and down the other side toward Grand Lake. Once the road flattened out a teeny bit, I decided to turn and go back up.

And finally head back down…

Ride stats – 4 hours, 53 miles, ~6000′ of climbing. It was a good day, and I even put in a few short efforts. I did stop to take a lot of pics though, and the rest can be found here.

Tomorrow is Monday… and yes, I have a feeling I will again have a case of the Mondays. (Office Space, one of the greatest movies ever)


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