That's "Hanover," not "Hangover," though I have felt hungover here many a time while chasing leather-lunged leg-shavers back in the Nineties.
I don’t care what the calendar says — yesterday was the first day of fall. It was mostly cool and overcast until late in the day, when summer made something of a comeback. Nice change from the 90-plus weather we’ve been enjoying lately.
Naturally, I didn’t get out for a ride. It’s been heavy lifting around here, what with breaking in a new dog, working the VN.com site by myself on weekends, and deadlines for Velo the magazine (Monday) and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (Wednesday).
The BRAIN column was a real bitch to write. The turmoil at Velo and VeloNews.com has been much on my mind, as has my friend Charles Pelkey’s cancer, and of course the never-ending mad-hattery in the nation’s capital, where the League of Small Hat Sizes holds sway. So I’ve been oscillating between rage and despair, neither of which is exactly fertile ground for bicycle comedy.
Nevertheless I prevailed — I shat out something, words in a row, and beat the clock with minutes to spare. And today I fled the office and the Innertubes for a fat-burning 50-miler that really flushed out the old headgear.
I’ve been contemplating a short bicycle tour, but finding a safe, pleasurable route out of Bibleburg has proven problematic. I’ve never liked riding Highway 24 west — too easy to get picked off by an 18-wheeler or RV between Manitou Springs and Cascade. North lies Jesus country and then Denver; no, thanks. And nobody in his right mind goes east. We’re Westerners, goddamnit.
That leaves south. But Highway 115 is under construction through October at both ends — Fort Carson and Penrose — and after a short recon by Subaru the other day I crossed that formerly delightful highway off my list, too. Single-lane climbs, gravel trucks and commuting prison guards give me the heebie-jeebies.
Thus the mainline out of Bibleburg is Interstate 25 — not exactly the sort of bucolic backroad one sees chronicled in Adventure Cyclist magazine. Still, you tour with the road you have, not the road you might want or wish to have at a later time. So today’s outing was something of a recon on two wheels, and it proved very illuminating indeed.
I wanted to avoid as much of the interstate as possible and so took Las Vegas Street to Highway 85/87, and portions of both roads sucked very much indeed, as in crumbling 55-mph two-laners with little or no shoulder. Nonetheless I survived and picked up I-25 at the Fountain exit. Hoo-boy, was that ever a barrel of laughs. At least the endless parade of tractor-trailer rigs blunted the headwind until I pulled off at the defunct Pikes Peak International Raceway, 22 miles south of the DogHaus.
Coming back was excellent. I not only had a tailwind, I skipped the interstate in favor of Old Pueblo Road, which is a staple of the leg-shavers’ Saturday ride out of Acacia Park downtown. It’s a winding two-laner that heads back to Fountain, and traffic was light, practically non-existent.
At Fountain I briefly considered revisiting the 85/87-to-Las Vegas route and then said screw it, instead picking up the Fountain Creek Regional Trail, which leads to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail and home. Fat city, especially with a tailwind. More miles, but more smiles.
This, incidentally, is how Brian Gravestock of Old Town Bike Shop and the Bike Clinic Too gets out of Dodge when he has a hankering for some Mexican food in Pueblo, 45 miles south of here. He rides the trail to Fountain, picks up Old Pueblo, and then takes the frontage road where it’s available and the interstate where it’s not.
Sure beats sweltering in the office, awaiting evil tidings.