Monthly Archives: October 2016

Lakes and Peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park

Let the exploration begins ! Since we moved to Colorado, I have been to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) EVERY weekend! After cycling Trail Ridge Road last weekend, my legs were calling for a long run.

Last Saturday, after looking at my maps and books, I decided on several adventures. My first run consisted on reaching Black Lake & Blue Lake.

GPS Track available here (12 miles, +- 2,600 ft elevation gain/loss)

Afterwards, I headed to Hallett Peak.
hallett-peak

GPS Track available here (9.8 miles, +- 3,400 ft elevation gain/loss)

I had a great day being in the mountains, at altitude, with such beautiful views and exposed to the different elements. I realized how lucky I am to be so close to a unique place like RMNP. Good adventures ahead with lots of lakes and peaks!

 

How-to: Pack an Ice Axe for traveling

When we packed our belongings to be moved to Colorado, I had to find a solution to pack my ice axe so that it would not get damaged but mainly not damage anything around it. As I don’t have ice axe protector protector caps, I came up with my own solution to cover the sharp parts.

Below is a “cheap trick” you can use when you need your ice axe to travel. It also works when in a checked-in luggage ! To do this, you will need :
– 3 used cans
– Tape

 

 

Trail Ridge Road

One of the first adventure I went on upon moving into our new home was to go to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), my new playground as it is only about 1h from home.

I had heard about Trail Ridge Road when reading a cycling magazine but mainly from my former neighbor Dennis in Portland (who is a born and raised Coloradoan). At that time, he recommended it to me and described it as a beautiful and scenic road but warned me it would be dangerous and intimidating just riding in a car! I was intrigued as it sounded like a perfect challenge…
I attempted to cycle Trail Ridge Road on 09/24 but an unexpected night snowfall forced the Rangers to close the road within 8 miles of the Park entrance. I still rode as far as I could (until there was too much ice to cycle safely) and hoped to return with my bike soon as I knew  would have only a couple of opportunities to do this ride with the snow coming very soon.
As I watched the RMNP webcams during the week, it looked like the snow had melted fast and that another attempt would be possible the following weekend.

A quick call to the Trail Ridge Road status line on Friday night confirmed it was open. Off I was on saturday morning !

My ride on Trail Ridge Road

 I started from the Beaver Meadows entrance (8,200 ft) and rode to Grand Lake, CO. The ride was really nice, offering breathtaking views of the mountains including Long’s Peak. It is never really steep (the average grade is 4.2%) but it is long, sustained (20 miles with 4,400 ft of elevation gain to the alpine center) and at high altitude.
Having only been in CO for 2 weeks, I was still breathing from a straw. To explain better what I was feeling, I made a graph below showing the different % of my VO2Max I was exercising at for the different elevation sections of the ride. According to Tim Noakes’ book, Lore of Running“, one’s VO2Max decreases for every 1,000 meters (3,300ft) above 1,200 meters (about 4,000ft) by about 10 % !!!!!


A very nice ride in one of my favorite local place so far.

Beaver Meadows Entrance to Alpine Center : 2h
Alpine Center to Grand Lake, CO : 1h15

Sorry Dennis, it was not as hard and scary as you depicted but thank you for the recommendation, I enjoyed the ride !

GPS Track available here (42.6 miles, +4,390 ft / –4,120 ft elevation gain/loss)