Enjoying God's creation (people and places) ........ and fulfilling our desire to conquer and explore.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011 Big Dog Ride - Day 3

Saturday morning was a little lazy and started off slow.  Even by 7:30 am, there were few riders up and moving.  Call it old bones and tissue..... or whatever you want, but all the Dogs at the event were dealing with stiffness from the hard riding the day before.

By 9am Dr. Greg Frazier conducted the morning rider meeting and John from the Christian Motorcycle Association blessed us with a prayer for safety, protection and wisdom.  Yep, that is me in the green camp hat.

Today I would lead the A Group Ride.  I wanted some adventure and the experience of trails that I had not ridden, so I stepped up to lead.  After gearing up, we departed Dillon, rode up through Montezuma, around and on top of Radical Hill.  Then we dropped down to Webster Pass and exited the National Forest by way of the North Fork of the South Platte River.  Finally we would do lunch and head back toward our base camp, over Georgia Pass.

Riding up the jeep trail to the top of Radical Hill.

On top of Radical Hill.  Far in the background, the zig-zag road tops out at Webster Pass.

On top of Radical Hill, Terry encountered a sharp rock and "snake bit" his tube, causing a flat tire that had to be patched.  That gave us about 45 minutes on top of the Hill to relax and take in the sights.

Radical Hill came by its name for honest reasons.  This is nasty, steep, scary stuff. 

I was able to ride my bike down, but guys on the bigger bikes had to walk their bikes down the really steep grades.

Click on this pic.  I took this photo from Webster Pass, looking up on Radical Hill.  On the large photo, you can see the road coming off the top.

Webster Pass.

For lunch, we stopped at the Coney Island Boardwalk.  We laughed about Big Dogs..... eating at the Big Dog.

Above Georgia Pass, I broke off from the A Group and rode up Glacier Peak.  Terry took this pic of me making the steep climb.

Back at the base camp in Dillon, Doc Frazier had the BBQ grills stoked and we celebrated our accomplishments with a grilled TBone Steak.

This year's Big Dog Ride was really different in regard to the attendees, but it was a good one and very rewarding, personally...... in regard to the passes and peaks that I was able to conquer.  Great memories were made and friendships were grown.

2011 Big Dog Ride - Day 2

Our morning started off early, as Terry and I awoke at 5:30am (to the breaking dawn light).  We packed up our camp, left no trace and mounted the bikes for the ride in to BMW of Denver.

Arriving at the dealership (one of the founding sponsors of the event), I met old acquaintances from the past two years.  The bikes were diverse, including the Harley that has been rebuilt to be a dirt bike.

After the rider meeting, we departed on our bikes, riding out of Denver and heading straight for the Rampart Range.  This year the Group A and Group B rides would start out together.  The A Group is the rough and tough riders that want the most abuse.  Just the ticket for me.

We had to ride about 100 miles of dirt roads before we would reach any of the challenging stuff, but the scenery was outstanding.

This is where it got interesting.  After a stop in Bailey, CO for gas and a restroom stop, the groups got split up because of a premature departure.  I was one of the ones that were left behind.  At that point, it was a game of catching up.  Before I reached the A Group that was at the front, we came up to this sign and one of the B Group riders waiting on his bike.  I asked him....which way did the A Riders go.  He said....to Red Cone.  I turned and looked at Terry and asked, "Are you up for this?"  He said "yes" and off I led.  As far as we knew, we were chasing about 5-6 top riders and we would have to ride hard and fast to catch them before the riding challenge got too tough.

Well, this was the result of the first mile.  Terry gave up and turned around.... and in my hard-headedness, I picked up the bike and kept going.  I was now solo, chasing the lead group up over Red Cone.

It didn't get any easier.  Matter of fact, this was the hardest and toughest riding I have ever done in my life. 

Once arriving at the top of Red Cone, nearly 13,000 feet..... there were no riders in sight.  They must have beat me to the top and already headed down.  Fact of the matter was, I was riding on bad information and chasing ghosts.  The A Group actually took the Webster Pass route (much easier)..... and I ended up being the lone rider of Red Cone.

Once back at camp, I showered..... settled into my chair for a cold beer and began to cook the evening dinner.  I treated all the fellas to smoked, pulled pork sandwiches..... Audra's Cole Slaw and Costco cookies.   yum!

2011 Big Dog Ride - Day 1

For the third year, I was invited back and attended the Big Dog Ride.  This year was a special treat, as my close friend, Terry Davis, also received an invite and attended with me.

Click here for the Event Website

On Thursday evening, Terry and I left Colorado Springs in our Pickups, hauling the bikes up to Dillon, CO, the location for our basecamp.  Normally, I always ride to the event, but this year I had to take my pickup and haul the food and cooking equipment, as I was responsible to provide the Friday evening dinner.

Once we arrived at the Dillon Inn, we parked our vehicles, unloaded the bikes, packed them up and departed. This was my third year to ride the Big Dog and my third bike. The Honda would prove to be the best yet.

The starting point of the 2011 Big Dog was BMW of Denver. Terry and I had decided to ride the bikes with our camping gear to a camp location as close to the Denver city limits as possible.

We ended up finding a spot on Rampart Range, just 30 miles from the BMW Motorcycle Dealership.

2011 Rocky Mountain Adventure Ride - Saturday

After a good nights sleep, everyone was ready for another day of great riding.  I had hoped to lay low and take my family on a ride, but a big collection of riders wanted me to lead again.  Today Bryce and Sean (Cassi's boyfriend) would join us on our ride.  Sean would be riding Audra's little Honda XR250.

Once again the morning would start off with the rider meeting.

Here's the group I led, with the help of Matt McCabe (orange bike on the right).

Here's a pic of me on my big Honda 650, talking to Sean and Bryce.

After about 3 hours of riding, the group tops out between Antora Peak and Windy Point, just over 12,000 feet elevation.  Tyler and Bryce made it to the top of some very challenging climbs on their big VStroms.  I am very proud of the boys riding skills.

Just below Antoro Peak, we encountered a gold and silver miner.  He talked to Sean and Bryce about his successes.  Apparently, the month before.... he hit a vein and collected just over 40 oz of gold.  At $2k an ounce.....it was a quick $80,000.

And Sean was the recipient of the only flat tire of the day.  Terry and Bryce lend their expertise in patching the tube.

At one point in the ride, we were completely lost and I took advice from this wild critter up in the woods.  Thankfully, he knew the country like the back of his hand.

And once back at base camp, the food prep began for the famous, Ribeye Steak Dinner.  Folks are always impressed that we hand cut the steaks.

Audra is exchanging some laughs with a couple other ladies.  Probably something like.... Will these men we have married.... ever grow up!!!!

Some of the kitchen staff.

My buddies, Mark and Bernie, cooking up the flap-jacks.

And our grill masters!!!!!!

2011 Rocky Mountain Adventure Ride - Friday

RMAR 2011 kicked off in Saguache, CO on the morning of August 5th with an introductory Rider Meeting.  The event this year was a smashing success with nearly 130 riders and 150 attendees.  They were treated to two breakfasts, three dinners and a lot of phenomenal riding.

Our host site was The Lodge about one mile south of Saguache (pronounced Sa-watch).  The massive trees and green grass were a hit with the tent campers.

After the rider meeting, I led the "Big Bike Easy Ride".  As you will see in the photos below.....it was all but easy.  There was mud and challenging conditions, which you can witness in the photos to come.  In this group photo, Audra is in the red jacket to the far left.  Audra rode the whole day with me on my big VStrom.

My buddy, Terry Davis, navigating a mud hole.

Tyler attacking a mud hole, riding in excellent fashion.  I am standing in the background, giving less experienced riders advice on how to ride a heavy bike through the pool of water and slippery mud.

A pic of Audra on the back of my bike enjoying the beautiful views.

After about 4 hours of hard riding, most of the fellas were completely exhausted.

Bryce and Aften helping to prepare the Friday night Fajita Feast.

Friday evening, Woody from Woody's Wheel Works, conducted an instructional clinic on fixing flats and straightened bent wheels.