Ah, that was fun!

Marion and I went up and spent the weekend in Dillon. We had a great time. Among other things, we took our bicycles, because there are lots of trails in the area. On Sunday, we decided to circumnavigate Lake Dillon, which was formed by damming the Blue River. It would take us near Breckenridge and through Frisco on the trip. I thought that we could perhaps stop for lunch in one of those towns. We didn’t expect it to be a hard ride – after all, it just went around the lake, so it had to be fairly level.

As an aside, we’ve ridden some of the bike trails in Denver on weekends. Usually, we take the Platte River trail south from Confluence Park to Littleton and back. Depending on how far we decide to go into Littleton, it’s normally a 20-22 mile round trip. Although it’s a fairly level trail, I’ve learned to wear braces on both knees and to take some aspirin before we start.

Anyway, we had a map showing the trail around the reservoir, and the dam was right across the street from our hotel. We started around in a clockwise direction, which turned out to be a very good choice. A few miles into the ride, the separate bike/pedestrian trail ended, and we got onto Swan Mountain Road. I commented to Marion that I was hoping it didn’t involve an actual mountain.

It did.

We came back later with the car and checked it. We had a 2.6 mile climb to the summit, along a busy, winding mountain road, with a 1.9 mile drop back to the reservoir level. I looked up the altitude difference later – it was only about 430 feet, which is half what we estimated. Then again, we did start out at about 9100 feet, rather than the 5300 we normally ride at. Going back down the mountain was a pretty zippy trip. I later found a document about the plan for a separate bike/pedestrian trail across Swan Mountain, with quotes from locals:

Swan Mountain Road is a major safety issue and blockade for many users of the trail system.

Swan Mountain Road is extremely dangerous in its current layout.

I’ve Ridden Swan Mountain Road for years and have survived, but it’s not the safest way to go!

We’ve decided that we’ll each blame the other for “dragging me over that mountain!”

Anyway, back onto the trails once again, we headed into Frisco, deciding against the side trip to Breckenridge, which would have added about 12 miles to the trip. Marion, who was in the lead at this point, was enjoying being on a fairly level trail surrounded by beautiful scenery so much that she missed the sign for the turn into Frisco itself, and we started along the path that leads to Copper Mountain.

I stopped her and pointed out where we were on the trail map, and we headed back a short distance along the trail, then we went through Frisco and back to Dillon.

It was a great ride, but my thighs certainly let me know how much I’d abused them. After Swan Mountain road, even the slight rises were an effort to ride up. Next time we take our bikes up, we’ll probably just go from Dillon to Frisco to Breckenridge and back, without attempting to go completely around the lake.

But, if they ever complete that trail over the mountain …

UPDATE: Here’s a couple photos from the ride. First is me, taking a break by the side of the road. My t-shirt, by the way, says, “50-year old unneutered male, free to a good home.” It was a birthday present from Marion a few years ago.

Yours truly

Next is the view from that point back towards our starting/ending point. As best I can tell, we started from the far side of Lake Dillon just about behind the trunk of the dead tree.

View of Lake Dillon

Hmmm … I can see I’ve got things to learn about getting photos up at a reasonable size. I expected these to be larger.

Update 5/16/2007: I figured out a way (probably not the preferred one) of getting larger photos displayed in posts. Now, I just need to figure out the correct way of doing it first time.

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