A pretty mild winter day forecasted this past Sunday for Denver, with temperatures to be in the 50's! Too warm I thought, and after a late decision, I left home shortly before 9:00AM and headed south towards Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.
I took the usual route, down CO83, through the towns of Parker and Franktown. This is a two lane road with medium traffic and much preferable when on my Ural, to the I-25 Super Slab which connects the cities of Denver and Colorado Springs.
I motored along at an indicated 55 mph or so, slowly gaining altitude as I neared Colorado Springs, or "The Springs" as the locals call it. Temperatures were in the mid-20s with very little wind so I was quite comfortable with the riding gear I had on; there would be no need for the heated vest today.
Soon I came to the end of CO83 within the confines of The Springs, and was soon merging onto the Interquest Parkway which took me to I-25. A few minutes of sprinting on I-25 and I got off at the junction with US24 at the Cimarron Street exit.
US24 gets you out of The Springs and soon you're twisting your way upwards past Manitou Springs and you arrive within a short time to the exit for the Pikes Peak Highway. I am sad to report the covered wagon that used to be at this junction is no more. The property it sat on is for sale and I guess the current owner moved it somewhere else. This was the covered wagon that had "Pikes Peak or Bust" painted on its side.
I headed up towards the entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway, paid the $10 toll and was soon motoring my way up to an eventual altitude of over two miles above sea level! The first 13 miles or so are quite tame in terms of scenery, quite twisty in some spots, quite steep in others but Valencia did it all with problems.
Once you pass the historic Glen Cove Inn and mile marker 13, then you're above the timberline and you start seeing scenic mountain views all around. The road is paved all the way to the top now and you have to pay attention as retaining walls and barriers are few and far between.
I got to the top and in spite of a bit of rough idling on the part of Valencia, experienced no issues except for the winds which buffeted one. Not too cold at the top, low 20s, high teens.
After a brief break inside the Summit Snack Bar and Gift Shop, it was time to head back down the mountain and take some pictures.
Soon after the Rock Pile, I re-entered the timberline and it was then straight motoring past thick pine forest on both sides of the road. There were some slick spots here and there in the shadowed areas of the road but nothing major. Heck, I even saw 5 or 6 dual sport motorcycles heading to the summit while I was coming down the mountain.
I arrived back in The Springs at 2:45PM and tanked up before getting back on the I-25 slab for the sprint northwards to the North Gate Road exit. Traffic had gotten heavier but still not too bad, and besides I was soon away from the slab and heading back to CO83.
The rest of the ride north on CO83 was without incident and in pretty warm conditions as temperatures were in the low 50's by now. I got back to my home shortly after 4:00 PM with no issues and with a following wind I think as I was able to maintain an indicated 60 mph all the way.
Ride Safe. Ride Aware.