I biked to Red Rocks from my apartment in Denver on Saturday, something I’ve wanted to do for about a year now. The whole ride, with breaks and lunch, took about five hours, which is probably pretty slow in cycling time. I used an odometer app on my smartphone to track my distance and I biked further than I ever have before – just over 30 miles.
My planned route put me on the South Platte River Trail near the intersection of Kalamath and Alameda. As I began my journey I passed a few lower-class citizens who were sitting along the trail drinking beer and cheering for everyone who passed by, which made me laugh.
I followed the trail south for about four miles and then turned off onto the Bear Creek Bike Trail. It was awesome. There was beautiful weather, plenty of other cyclists and the charge on my iPod lasted the whole ride.
Once I hit mountain scenery it was nothing but smiling and pedaling.
Somewhere around mile 20 I passed through a golf course and could see the path ahead of me wound up a big hill. I was nervous for the incline, but pedaled toward it. Sure enough, I found myself biking my first switchback. Up and around the hill I went, breathing heavier than ever, my bike set to the highest gears of its soul.
I stopped for a few photo opps along the climb, which helped break up the ascent, but I’ll tell ya, I felt like a goddamn champion when I got to the top.
I biked down the switchback and through Bear Creek Lake Park, a little spot that has camping available only several miles from Red Rocks. The trail led me into downtown Morrison where I stopped for lunch at Tony Rigatoni’s Italian Kitchen. While I waited for my chicken parm sandwich a man asked me if I had just been out bouldering.
“No, I’m on my bike,” I replied very casually, despite wanting to shout, “I just biked here from Denver for my first time ever!!”
After lunch I began the second hardest part of my journey, and that was biking along Alameda Parkway from downtown Morrison, past Red Rocks, under the I70 overpass, across 6th Ave and up to the Jefferson County Government Building lightrail station. I stopped at Red Rocks Entrance 1 for a celebratory ritual, but I didn’t actually bike into and around the park. Maybe next time.
Alameda Parkway is a bitch. Next time you’re leaving Red Rocks and headed to the highway, imagine yourself biking up that road. There is a very steep incline that is followed by a second steep incline, one of which stops at a traffic light. I made it to the top of the hill and was waiting at the light near I70 when a hottie on a Harley pulled up next to me.
“Howdy,” he said to me, flashing a killer grin. “How are ya doin?”
“I’m good…a little tired” I laughed, while at the same time gasped for air. Wowzers. Screw the accomplishment of biking to Red Rocks, that guy is what really made my day. I should have locked up my bike and jumped on the back of his then and there, but the light changed, he zoomed off and I continued pedaling.
I finally made it to the lightrail station and rode the train back to Denver, bicycle and all. I’m very happy I finally biked to Red Rocks, because I’ve been talking about doing it for a year. I already look forward to my next bicycle adventure.