From our patio, I could see an orange glow in the distance, signaling a fire on top of the mountain. Now, a couple days later, I heard the fire was under control but at the base of the mountain, first saw the above sign. It quickly changed to all trails were closed but the road was open. Yeah.
I've always ridden the 26 mile route at a pace to burn calories and enjoy......
...views. Today was to be different. I was going to ride as hard as I could for the 21 mile continuous climb and improve on what was an embarrassing PR on Strava. First thing that was different was I was passing people. Previously very rare. At the "7 Cataracts" parking area at mile 9, I paused to combine fluids from 3 to 2 bottles. I texted a friend and said if I had not set a new PR on the opening 9 miles, it was never going to happen. I resumed and...
...eventually topped out at the 21 mile summit above the Palisades Gift Shop, descended 2 miles, ascended 1 mile, rolled a bit and stopped in Summerhaven where I had lunch. Then I rode up to Ski Valley and saw the snow was almost gone. A man came up to me and said, "All you bikers riding up the road. You're all so skinny." I didn't know how to reply so just said "Yep". His point was valid, you don't see fat people on bikes up here.
A different view of Summerhaven. The "Aspen Fire" was way back in 2003 yet evidence of its devastation is everywhere. The coast down takes me about 45 minutes. That's a long time to just sit on the bike but it is a marvelous descent.
I saw these guys making snowballs and throwing them at each other so I stopped to take a pic. As I got going, one of them looked at me and I said, "Think it but don't do it." We all got a good laugh. Finished with 62 miles and 6450' of climbing and did improve on my previous best time so that was good.
On the way down, I was passed by the fire fighting crew, having finished putting out the fire. I had seen no evidence of the fire so it must have been higher up, near the observatory.