Sunday, September 13, 2009

BMA Sufferfest Recap

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual BMA Sufferfest. A few good peeps from BMA started this ride last year and this year was the same route. Riders would start in Nederland, take a quick tour of the West Mag trails, then back up to Eldora townsite, up 505 road to Caribou, down Rainbow Lakes Road, then north on Sourdough. BMA set up camp at Beaver Res road, but riders had the extra option of doing the Middle St Vrain road and Buchanan Pass trail. I wasn't camping, so I parked at Camp Dick/Peaceful Valley. I planned on riding the 19 miles or so on the road to Ned where I would start the ride. The forecast was for highs in the 50s with a 60% chance of rain. Sufferfest.

Skies were cold and grey, but no precip when I started pedaling at 6:45am. I made it about 5 or 6 miles down the road when Debaser, good friend and Sufferfest volunteer, pulled over on his way to Ned. I hopped in for a ride. I was hesitant at first, but was glad I hopped in 2 miles later when the vehicle started to get rained on! Finally made it to Ned with time for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Happy Trails.

Despite the chilly and damp weather, there was a strong turnout. By this time, the rain had let up and the skies were cloudy and gray.
The initial tour de West Mag was great. The trails were in great shape and the dirt was perfectly tacky. We rolled out of West Mag and up the road to Eldora townsite. I had never been on 505 and was eager to get up to Caribou. Skies were holding. The view was great. You can see Eldora ski resort at the top hiding in the clouds.

The climb up 505 was a tolerable 2000' gain on a pretty good jeep road. We rode thru a little rain here and there and a little snow here and there.

So far, conditions were good. We rolled out of Caribou and down to the southern Sourdough trailhead.

After starting the climb on Sourdough things started to get bad. It started with a light drizzle, but quickly turned to wet snow. I was happy to have left my Swobo woolie on. I had a shortsleeve baselayer on underneath. So far that combo was great. I love the natural ability of wool and I especially love my Swobo wool top. I was still relatively comfortable on my upper body. My gloves and shoes were totally soaked though, and I was starting to get chilly.

Further up the climb on Sourdough and conditions were getting more miserable. Sufferfest.

I quit taking pics at this point. My gloves were completely saturated, my shoes and socks completely saturated and I was starting to loose feeling in my extremeties. For the remainder of the ride, I was relegated to taking turns between running and riding. It's a good trick. Running helps get your circulation going. After 5 minutes or so of running, I could start to feel my toes. By now the weather was full on in suckville. Thunder, lightning, and snow dumping down. Sufferfest. Finally made it to Beaver Res road where BMA had officially called the ride. I don't think anyone was up for Buchanan Pass at this point. I stopped for just a bit, just enough to down a mug of hot cocoa. My feet and hands warmed up nicely. From here, I still had to go north to the car but it was all downhill. That was the worst part, as it turned out. By now the snow had turned to grapple and light hail. The trail down to the car was the most technical of the day. I couldn't feel my extremeties again because the trail was 1-2" deep water wherever the trail could hold it. The water was cold, too. It was just about ready to freeze over by the time I'd ride thru it.

Well, I guess that's about it. I was mildly hypothermic by the time I got to the car. Took me about 5 minutes struggling with the clips to get my backpack off. Even longer to take my shoes off. Good stuff. This ride was definitely a character builder, one that I'll look back on fondly after I've forgotten the pain. That ought to take a couple of years. Sufferfest. I'll be back next year.


debaser said...

Glad ya' liked it.

Lidarman said...

It was incredible.

Vogelman! said...

Anything to make Deathmarch Dave feel the hurt too!