Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brainard Lake Ride

Since the weather has changed from Winter straight to Summer over the last couple weeks, I finally dusted off my waterproof camera and brought it on some of my rides and runs around Boulder. Today's ride was a climb up to Brainard Lake, which sits at 10,300 feet and is surrounded by Mt. Audubon (13200'), Paiute Peak, Mt. Toll, the Isabelle Glacier...Stunning views!

The climbing starts after a 6 mile easy warmup from home on highway 36 to Lefthand Canyon. Most of the time when I climb up to Brainard Lake I follow the "standard" route past Ward, but today I decided to continue up to Jamestown at follow Jamestown Canyon to the Peak to Peak Highway. For some reason I had never ridden higher than 8000 on Jamestown Canyon, which is too bad because that's where the real fun starts! The grade often exceeds 12%, and after climbing for an hour in the thin air it gets a bit harder to keep the heart rate down. 36 to Peak to Peak is approximately 15 miles of climbing, gaining around 4,000 feet of elevation total. This route is a bit longer, with some rolling dirt roads at the top offering great views of the Indian Peaks not too far off in the distance. Much more fun than the sometimes-crowded Ward route.

Looks like a fun 3000' climb up to Mt. Audubon's Peak...

Brainard is only about 24 miles from my house...It was 80 in Boulder and maybe 40 at Brainard. Refreshing! In the upcoming weeks when the temperature gets into the 90s in Boulder it will be a nice relief to spend more time up high. I am particularly looking forward to some nice long runs at 10,000' around the Brainard Lake area. With the Breckenridge 100 mountain bike race coming up, I need to train as much as possible between 10 and 12,000 feet to get a better feel for how my body performs at altitude an recovers from the work.

Some snapshots taken with frozen fingers:

Not a good place to swim...

WHOOSH Down the mountain!

Standing at Brainard Lake, looking around, I could only imagine the high alpine adventure this summer will hold in the Rocky Mountains..

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