Hot time in the old town

Fountain Creek Trail

In the trees at the southern end of the Fountain Creek Trail.

We missed a temperature record today, but not by much — the official high was 89, just a few degrees short of 2003’s record of 93. I can hear Patrick chuckling (“You call that hot?”) all the way from Arizona.

Naturally, being a sluggard and a knucklehead, this mad dog was out in the noonday sun with the Englishmen, riding the Voodoo Nakisi down and back along the Fountain Creek Trail. One of these days I’ll start rolling out of the sack bright and early, like Herself, who is up and at ’em at the crack of dawn.

Yeah, right.

The recent heavy weather has done something of a number on the trail surface in spots. Ordinarily it’s no big thing to ride a cyclo-cross bike on the Fountain Creek Trail — hell, most days you could handle the 37-mile round trip on a road bike — but the recent rains have scoured it pretty good in places, stripping the trail down to hardpan gullies here and piling sand up there. Happily, I was riding 700×43 Bruce Gordon Rock N’ Roads, which could smooth out the bumps on the highway to Hell.

And the greenery! You never see Colorado this green, not this time of year. The far end of the trail, where it peters out near some dude’s hayburner hotel just west of Fountain, was strangled half to death with the same weeds that have been clogging snotlockers here at Chez Dog. The irrigation ditch at trailside by Fountain Creek Regional Park was running high, too, the water nearly level with the trail.

Up north, meanwhile, the big boys were riding the Tour of the Northern Colorado Ski Ghettos, but I wasn’t paying attention. I dislike ski towns so much I won’t even visit one to ski, much less to watch someone else ride their bikes.

It’s a shame the race won’t visit some lesser hamlets, burgs and whistle stops that could really do with a tourism bump, but then the organizers don’t put these things on out of the goodness of their hearts, eh? Them that’s got shall get, as the old song goes.

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33 Responses to “Hot time in the old town”

  1. John in GJ Says:

    Too bad you’re not watching the Tour of Towns With Lots of Cash, you would have seen Zoome-Froome OTB on the last climb of yesterday’s stage, a 1km long Cat 4. No doubt he was headed back to the team car to ask his manager if that appearance fee check has cleared yet so he can climb off and go fishing. The guy is so blatantly phoning-it-in that it’s an insult to the rest of us who regularly phone-it-in.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, despite all the game-face chatter from the bunch (especially the Yanks) this is basically a training race for the remaining WorldTour events and worlds. It’s nice that folks are getting a chance to see the big dogs up close and personal, but the Tour this ain’t. It ain’t even the Vuelta.

  2. Larry T. Says:

    We’re back to the ol’ 90-90 (degrees F and humidity %) type weather here in Ioway, where it’s always pretty green – except when everything is frozen and brown. I agree with you about manufactured ski towns for the most part, while a place like Bormio or even better, Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy ARE ski towns but weren’t manufactured as such. Hard to get excited about the former Toasted Sandwich Classic….and seems the skeleton who won Le Beeg Shew is having the same problem?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ioway summers — hoo boy. I remember them dudes from when I was a sprout. We used to drive up from San Antone to visit my maternal granny in Sioux City. It was your basic Festival of Heat and Humidity all the way there and all the way back, to a soundtrack of “Don’t make me stop this car and come back there.”

  3. md anderson Says:

    There is one problem with trying to put on a bike race in Bumfart, CO, where they all gonna sleep?? Are the local citizens of Hotchkiss or Walden, or Meeker, or Rifle La Junta going to put all the teams, officials, journalists and other camp followers up their spare bedrooms? The last time I did one of those big Colorado tours (2004) Walden couldn’t house everyone even with the majority of riders camping on the football field. The motel types had to get bused back to Steamboat where we had started that morning. So what was the point of that? And really,

    In other news, RIP Elmore Leonard. He created some of the best characters ever to grace the page. There is a reason so many of his books were adapted to the screen.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aye, there’s the rub, MD. I think the California tour asks for 80 free hotel rooms, plus a bunch of money, and I’ll bet there aren’t 80 rooms to be had in places like Walsenburg, Weirdcliffe or Walden. Money is likewise scarce.

      And yeah, Elmore Leonard. The man had one helluva run, though, didn’t he? I had forgotten he wrote “Hombre,” one of my all-time favorite Paul Newman flicks. The man was a writing machine.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Hombre was a good one! That was partially filmed on the West side of the Santa Rita mountains at an old mine and town site. All that remains of it now is a foundation and a couple of walls and part of an old cemetery. The new Rosemont Copper mine is just over the mountains on the East side. The state highway 83 scenic drive from Sonoita to I-10 won’t be as scenic when the mine opens. Many films were shot at the Empire Ranch about 4 miles North of Sonoita on hwy 83. We ride mountain bikes there a few times a year. Neat place to visit and picnic. No fee, and you self tour the house which is very interesting.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Hey MD, how was the tour?

      • md anderson Says:

        Amazing. 31 days, just over 3400 miles. Still processing.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Details. We require details.

      • md anderson Says:

        Don’t want to bogart your blog here POG. The Transcon was both harder and easier than I expected. Harder mentally, we were all ready for it to be over about a week before the finish. But physically I didn’t suffer as much as I feared. I guess I trained right.
        Hottest day: Day 3 going into Grand Coulee, WA. pushing 100 deg.
        Coldest day: Day 21 (July 27) in Wisconsin. 60 deg
        Rainiest day: Day 25 into Coldwater, Michigan.
        Favorite state: Montana, West Virginia a close second
        Worst state: Michigan (rain may have colored my perception, but the roads SUCK!)
        Single hardest day: Climbing over the Big Horn Mtns in WY. 25 miles of uphill, most at 10-14% grade. 123 miles and about 9 K of climbing for the day
        Longest day: 148 miles, Rapid City to Murdo, SD
        Shortest day: 2.5, the day we took the SS Badger across Lake Michigan. Got to get to the hotel somehow.
        Favorite day: day 30 West Virginia into Virginia. 106 miles., 10,000 ft of climbing. 9 rated climbs. profile looked like the alps.
        Total weight loss: 8 lbs on a 5 ft 1 in frame.

        So when we doing the Durango to Silverton ride y’all were talking about in the spring??

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Thanks MD. That was a nice summary! Congrats on an epic ride! If Patrick would allow me to hijack the post just a minute longer, I have two questions. What bike did you ride? Who was the oldest rider in your group?

      • md anderson Says:

        I rode my 2001 Gunnar Roadie with the triple crank. Not the lightest bike around but stable and completely reliable. Ran 25 mm Continental Hardshells and had zero flats.

        The oldest rider was 73. This was his 6th or 7th transcon with PAC Tour. The youngest had just turned 16 the day before we started. His dad was on the tour too.

        I figure the average age of the group was between 50 and 55.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Thanks. I guess at 64 there is still hope for me. I use to run Conti Gatorskins. I need to check out the Hardshells.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Its been a little dryer than July down this way, but we had a good gullywasher and light show at the Bomb Factory yesterday. I hid out in my office for an extra half hour before pedaling my ass home. Native sunflowers have been fantastic. One would think you could stage the Tour de France here.

  5. Debby Says:

    100 here in Wrongmont yesterday. But it was a dry heat.

  6. bromasi Says:

    Here on the north coast of ca when it gets around 70 we start praying to the fog gods to come back.Today they came back, think you fog god.

    • Larry T. Says:

      I know your type – a gorgeous, sunny, 75 degree day in Italy and you whine “oh, it’s sooooo hot!”…and I say, “let me guess, you’re from NorCal, right?” Then you get to the hotel and complain when the A/C won’t cool your room down to “hanging meat” temperature. 🙂

  7. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Well, Patrick, it has been a bit warm down here. Tucson hit triple digits for the 59th day this year. A new record, with a few more days of it coming before it ends, I think. We have approached record heat every day for the last two weeks. I hate winter more than most folks, but a move a little further North might be in order. I will just avoid global warming temps by slowing going, by moving about every 3 years, to Canada in 300 mile increments.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I remember those triple-digit days from my Tucson days. The commute from Orange Grove Road to The Arizona Daily Star was not pleasant in a 1973 Datsun pickup sans air conditioning, especially since the workday commenced at 3 p.m.

    • Khal Spencer Says:

      I wonder if my cousin Lori still thinks moving to Tucson was a great idea. She used to live in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY. She traded single digits for triple digits, I guess.

  8. khal spencer Says:

    DEER TRAIL, Colo. (AP) — This tiny plains town an hour east of Denver doesn’t have much to offer visitors — a gas station, a bar and a small-time rodeo one weekend a year.

    But Deer Trail, population 500, is considering a proposal to make itself a national attraction for gun enthusiasts and people skeptical of government surveillance. Citizens on Oct. 8 will vote on whether to issue permits to hunt drones.

    Yes, those drones. Shoot ‘em down for $25. With a $100 bounty reward for shooters who bring in debris from an unmanned aircraft “known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.”

    The initiative’s architect insists it’s a symbolic stand against government surveillance.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      If you want to hunt drones, Sierra Vista is a “target rich environment.” Secure the border don’t you know. Good thing I don’t have any PTSD issues. Got a Huey flying over the place 3 or 4 times a day. Add in the local medivac choppers, if you get a hangnail here you have to go to Tucson to get it fixed, and you would think I live under a damn heliport.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve lived on base, in military towns or next to the railroad tracks most of my life. On the rare occasion when I didn’t, I had trouble sleeping. No Hueys, F-16s or Burlington Northern locomotives? Puh-leeze! How’s a fella supposed to get hisself some shuteye?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ah, northeastern Colorado, the gift that keeps on giving. Drone hunting (will they eat what they kill?), seceding from the state — those folks make Bibleburg look positively sane, politically speaking. Some smart person should start selling tinfoil Stetsons crafted to fit their pointy little heads.

  9. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    After looking at your local rag on line in the last hour, I hope the O’Grady clan is home safe and above water. What a mess.

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