Erik and I had just finished up with a long day in the saddle and were enjoying a cold beer when his phone rang. “Hey Troy, you’ll never guess who’s sitting across from me right now.” Galen. Yep we just rode 105 miles. A ride tomorrow? Sure.
Troy is Troy Reynolds, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever have the pleasure to ride with. He and his special lady friend, Peg, have a place in Snowmass just up the road from Erik’s. The three of us raced on a team together a few years back. Troy and Peg now run that team and his roofing company is the title sponsor. Super happy for those two.
Erik makes for a great guide. He gives an excellent description of what we can expect in the few miles and we’re off. We had just ridden around 25 miles, almost all downhill and now it was time to get in some vert. The first climb was short and not too steep. Troy and I rode it together as the rest of the group was just behind.
We regrouped at the top and took a few pictures, and I somehow managed to crack a few jokes. Hay fields and horses would be our companions for the next few miles and I was definitely not complaining.
Another Froome impression later, and we reached the top of the climb. These are the hidden gems that you tend not to find on your own. I consider it a gift when a local rider shows me the goods. “This dirt road goes all the way to Eagle”, Erik told me. Sometime I’ll have to check that out, but for now it was time to descend back to the valley floor.
After a ripping descent, we all stopped into Basalt bike and ski where we found our friend Iain working hard. I kind of feel like we just stopped in to rub it in a bit. As cyclists, we always want to be riding and it stings a bit to see your buds out there having a great day.
Erik was feeling the effects of the ride the day before so we just rode easy. I was happy to do it too. Lots of time to take pics and enjoy the new roads that we’re laid out before me. As we pedaled on, quiet roads were bordered by farms and ranch land. We all really noticed the temperature as we climbed a dirt road back towards Basalt. I love the felling of not knowing where I am, just pedal the bike and listen for the next turn.
This is where we split. The Reynolds Roofing crew headed back for the bike path, but Erik had something up his sleeve for the two of us. He spoke of a view of Snowmass that few people got to see and I was more than ready to see it! Perfect tarmac gave way to chip and seal and the chip and seal gave way to some of the most perfect dirt road I have ever pedaled on. Beautiful ranches and green fields lined either side of the road. Erik held a steady pace as I jumped on and off the bike snapping pics along the way.
A few more miles of dirt and the road changed a bit. Erik warned me the there were a couple of ramps ahead and he wasn’t kidding.
Just around the bend from here we hit the top of the climb and it would be just a few short moments before we were back on his deck, enjoying another one of those refreshingly cold brews that we had the day before. I hung out at Erik’s for about an hour and then went to pick up the rest of the group for lunch. We took the Sprinter van into Aspen and enjoyed a nice late lunch. I said my good-byes and navigated my way through town to get back on Independence Pass. Once again, I took my time driving up the pass and took advantage of the opportunity to take photos as I pleased.
As I was driving up, I passed a few cyclists heading out for some late afternoon climbing. Since I was hanging out anyway, I decided that I snap a shot of them and give some encouragement.
I arrived at the summit about 30 minutes before the sun was to set. You know what’s coming next, sunset pics. It’s always worth it to watch it to completion. Sometimes, when you think it’s over, there’s just a bit more to see.