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Old 2006-08-07, 11:58 PM   #1
aspenmike
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Da Bell's

It was time to get my lazy butt away from the vacuum cleaner, on a beautful early Saturday afternoon, so I repaired by airseat and decided to hit the pavement. From my house there are so many classic uni rides, that I was struggling on which one to choose. I finally opted for a Coker ride, right from my house. I am lucky enough to live at the Gateway to the Maroon Bells Wilderness area, an area that is surrounded by world class beautry, nature style.
The road that travels up to the base of the Maroon Bells is closed to traffic during daylight hours, which makes for an even more enjoyable ride. There are buses that take hikers, and sight see'ers up to the parking lot, approximately 9 miles from my house, every 40 minutes, so besides the occasional camper vehicle, the buses are the only other motorized transportation on the road. The pavement was freshly laid last year, so the riding is smooth. This road is also great for rollerblading as well.
This whole route is sublime-pure and simple! Maroon Creek, which you cross in the first mile is clear, and tumbles down the valley creating a distinct roar the whole way up. Sometimes, is appears like you are riding in the water, as the roar is loud and thundering.After a few roller coaster hills, the 14,018' tall Pyramid Peak captures your attention, as it sits like a volcano rising out of the middle of the valley. You ride to the base of this monster, so your perception of how far you have to go is obvious.
The valley really starts to close in around you, as you pedal higher into the Maroon Creek Valley. There is only enough room for you and the river, as the road begins to climb in earnest. Aspen tree's quake in the wind, marmot's squeak there song, and the occasional biker coming down the road at a high rate of speed, are the sounds that make up this ride. Today, I was treated to two red tail hawks soaring above me, riding the thermals up, up, and finally out of sight. They were having a wonderful time, as there song echoed amongst the narrow cliffs in the valley.
The majestic Maroon Bells, two peaks at around 14,156' high, with there snowfields and vibrant green high mountain meadows come into view. I always know when this will occur, but everytime I turn that one corner and see them, I get goosebumps. The climbing at this point is continous, and at a fair pitch, about 9% grade. For the last two miles, this view is what keeps the adrenilene flowing. Altitude is around 9800' high, so the O2 does get harder to find. I continue to pass many a bike rider, mostly tourist that are struggling, but still working hard to get to the top.
I reach the parking lot with a smile on my face, as the Bells are staring me up close and personnel. You are treated to surreal view of the upper Maroon Creek valley; Maroon Lake nestled in the bottom, surrounded by 14,000' jagged mountain peaks. This view has to be one of the most photographed areas in the world, you see it everywhere. I stop to take a few pictures and enjoy this pure mountain splendor. The beauty here is unbelievable, and I am so grateful; this is my backyard! The daily afternoon rain shower starts to sprinkle light drops of rain on me, so I pack up and start the awesome, fast, descent down Maroon Creek Valley. I really like the downhills with no brakes and long cranks. The view is still top notch going down, so it is easy to daydream while looking around at the mountains. I make it back home safely, and still, a smile on my face. I still have the rest of the afternoon to play in the Rockies.
This is not a long ride, but is a MUST ride for anyone in the area, a classic Colorado ride.

9 miles
2500' vertical gained, mostly in the last 5 miles
riding time today 52 minutes
Cheers!
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Old 2006-08-08, 12:01 AM   #2
aspenmike
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I guess, if you took that first sentence wrong, it might sound wrong. I was just doing my house chores.
The first picture is from Maroon Lake, where it becomes wilderness, so no MUni.
This picture is from the ride up, before the real climbing, but you can see how the valley is closing in.
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Old 2006-08-08, 12:10 AM   #3
Geeta
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That's beautiful! So green too, what a delight. Thanks!
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Old 2006-08-08, 12:44 AM   #4
zachjowi
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I wish I lived there. Oh how I love to ski, kayak, bike, uni, etc but no where is good around here
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Old 2006-08-08, 02:36 AM   #5
alpine_uni
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That must be a favorite trail to ride when it's that beautiful!
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Old 2006-08-08, 11:44 AM   #6
mango
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That first picture is rediculous!
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Old 2006-08-08, 12:02 PM   #7
steveyo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mango
That first picture is rediculous!
It's actually just Mike standing in front of a scenery painting.
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- a few uni race write-ups
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Old 2006-08-08, 12:20 PM   #8
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That's B E A utiful!
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Old 2006-08-08, 05:53 PM   #9
zachjowi
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that road looks like where a BMW photo shoot would be
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