Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mt. Thorodin Duathlon - the Easy Way

16-pound, carbon road bike, 23mm tires, smooth, paved roads. No pack, no crashing, no babyheads, no unrideable obstacles. Indeed, this is the easy way to do the Mt. Thorodin Duathlon.

My road racing mentor, Eric Coppock, asked me about the Longs Peak Duathlon earlier this week. While anything is doable the conditions on the North Face are still a bit dicey for a ropeless ascent/descent, so I told him about my plan to go back to Mt. Thorodin, this time via the roads - my original plan before Stefan turned it into a monster.

We started from my house just a bit after 5 a.m. It was Father's Day and we both needed to get back early so that our kids could take a few seconds to say "Happy Father's Day!" Just kidding. My boys got me a great Broncos shirt and took me out to breakfast (more like lunch) after this little adventure. We both wanted to spend the majority of the day with our families, so it was a Dawn Patrol ride.

Eric, ever the hardman and signed up for his first 100-mile run this September, elected to do this adventure on his mountain bike! He might not have opted for that choice if his road bike was functional, but I'd give him extra credit for it anyway. He certainly gets extra credit for riding a bike that weighed nearly double mine. Not having ridden at all wasn't a consideration either. Eric just wanted to suffer and he much care how. I tried to oblige.

We climbed up the Wall on McCaslin and then down Indiana to the new Candelas development, which is mostly houseless still, but the roads are wide, smooth, and deserted. We hit highway 72 and headed west, climbing into a headwind towards Coal Creek Canyon. Six miles up the canyon we took a left onto the relentlessly steep Twin Spruce Road. That merged with Gap road and continued to climb until it turned to dirt as we entered Golden Gate State Park.

I had been worried about the heat and wondered if just three bottles would be enough for the 50+ mile adventure. I needn't have worried. For the first two hours of this ride, despite climbing almost the entire time, I was cold. My feet and hands were painful cold. I built a little gap on Eric on the steep section and took that time to sit in the sun and try to warm my feet and hands. This worked nicely wasn't a problem the rest of the day, though I still did the entire roundtrip on just two bottles of liquid.

Once on the dirt road, it rolled a bit and climbed another 500 feet to where we'd ditch the bikes and hike up the final 1100 feet to the summit. We went in at a slightly different point, along a closed, dirt service road. That ended and we picked up an old service road that we followed until we found a bunch if cairns. We followed those a bit too long, as they led up to the same wrong summit that Stefan and I tagged last week. I was watching my GPS, but didn't go far enough right, reluctant to deviate so strongly from the cairns. We still had to descend a bit to the saddle between the summits. I guess maybe I'll get it right on my third try...

We summited after 3h40m of effort. After 5 minutes of resting, some eating and photos, we then just reversed the entire route back home. It is pretty much all downhill until we re-joined with Indiana and had to climb again. We got back home about 5.5 hours after leaving it. The total adventure was 53.5 miles (3 miles of hiking) and 6550 vertical feet.

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