Last Sunday afternoon, my friend Eric and I had planned on making an epic ride on some dirt roads out behind Pikes Peak. With the weather forecast only showing a 20% chance for rain in the mountains, it was looking like a great day to ride.
However, as is usually the case with Colorado in the Spring, the weather couldn’t make up it’s mind. In fact, I would argue that the weather turned into a mix between a moody adolescent teenager and a restless psychopath. You’ll soon learn why!
We headed out after church. This picture sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: “So a KTM and a V-Strom decide to go for a ride….
The weather was a little overcast and cool in the Springs, and we dodged some small rain clouds as we headed up to Woodland Park. Just outside of Divide, CO we ran into some light rain, but it didn’t last long.
We headed south on CO 67 and enjoyed a great break in the weather. In fact, the sun was shining and it was gorgeous when we stopped at the overlook just above Cripple Creek!
This was Eric’s first time visiting the Heritage Center. If you’re in the area, I would highly recommend taking 30-45 minutes to take a look through the extensive information here! The lady at the visitor’s desk was super friendly and helped us with some maps for the dirt roads.
This is a scale model of the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine which is truly impressive. Its main shaft goes down over 1,000 feet into the earth. That’s the equivalent of more than the Empire State Building height. Oh, you can go down in the mine on a tour if you’re up for it.
Now, we were only in the Center for about 30 minutes or so. Long enough to pay the water bill, and look around. So we step outside to gear up, and see this…
What in the world! That is what “20% chance of rain” looks like? Must be nice to have a job and not worry about only being 20% correct!
We checked the radar on our phones. At this point, we realize that plans are about to change.
What you don’t see is the MASSIVE red blobs to the south of Canon City that were headed our way. Or rather, we were headed their way. Or both. Anyhoo, we decided that common sense won over valor, so we decided to head back north and look for food.
Before we left the parking lot, there were two big bolts of lightning on the hills behind us! We quickly donned our rain gear and sped out of there. We made it about a mile down the road before the rain started. Then it got heavier. In quantity and mass. HAIL! We were getting pelted by hail! 30 minutes ago it was 65F and sunny!
We slowed down, and then watched with slight wonder as the hail turned to snow along the backside of Pikes Peak! After about 20 minutes of this indecisiveness, the hail/snow turned back to rain as we descended down into Woodland Park.
Wanting to get out of the rain and quiet our rioting stomachs, we decided on the Hungry Bear! I had a massive breakfast burrito with green chili, and Eric had a burger, guacamole, melt thingy. It was pretty good!
After getting some food in our bellies, we promptly stretched out on the floor and took a nap. Okay not really, but we felt like it! As we looked out of the window while eating, we had noticed that LOTS of RV’s were heading back to the Springs and were clogging up Hwy 24. Not wanting to get stuck in that mess, in the rain, at 20mph, for the next hour….Eric suggested we head north and ride back on dirt…Mt. Herman Road! That turned out to be an AWESOME suggestion!
Now, there was one *minor* incident where someone took an unplanned ejection from their bike on a soft corner. I won’t name names, but he rides a KTM.
Fortunately it wasn’t a big deal at all and the wreck only caused $1000 worth of improvements to the look of the KTM. Just kidding! Had to throw a KTM jab in there while I could. In all fairness, that bike absolutely smokes the V-Strom on those back roads. It really is completely in it’s element up there and is extremely capable. Still, Stallion did pretty good up there too!
In the end, our route looked like this – we left from Black Forest, made it to Cripple Creek, headed back to Woodland Park, then headed home by way of Mt. Herman Road!
It was a great adventure, filled with a little crazy weather, good food, one non-injury-sort-of-cool-looking crash, and lots of great conversation with a friend.
I can’t wait for the next ride already!