Well, I wanted to get a quick ride in before the snow flies and today seemed like as good a time as any. So, about 11:30 I thought I'd take my lunch break and do a quick ride before my 1:00 meeting. I picked out a short loop up the canyon, printed it out, geared up and headed out. Here is the route I had in mind.
But somehow I ended up doing this:
The original plan was to go up Broadway and take a left on Mapleton. Mapleton turns into Sunshine Canyon Road (according to Google maps). There appeared to be a dirt road (Poorman Rd.) that I could make a left on, connect to Fourmile Canyon Rd., and then head back to Boulder. It was going to be about 13 miles or half an hour. Plenty of time to get back to the office, take my gear off, warm up my lunch and go to my meeting. Well, some how I missed the left onto Mapleton. I'm not sure how but I never saw it. No big deal though. I thought I'd just go up the road a bit and loop around through town and head back anyway. But, then I got as far as Lee Hill Rd. and I was curious. I wonder how far this goes. I'll just go up a ways and turn around.
So, I started up Lee Hill Rd. It's quite scenic and an easy ride but not a lot of places to turn around. So, I kept going. I'll just keep an eye on the clock I thought. I can always turn around. Lee Hill dead ends at Lefthand Canyon. Well, directionally challenged me thought, I'll go left to make a different loop. First I pulled over at a park to put on my warmer gloves. It's chilly in the canyon. That was probably where I should have turned around. But, I didn't.
I made that left onto Lefthand Canyon Rd. I'll just see where it goes. It was only noon and my meeting was at 1:00 so I had plenty of time. Well, Lefthand Canyon goes a long way. I didn't see any main roads that I thought would loop back. Well, I'll just keep going, I thought. It must loop back at some point. Then I saw a sign for Ward. That sounded familiar. I can turn around there. It was only 10.5 miles away according to the sign. I'm sure Boulder isn't that much farther from Ward. I'll surely make it back for my meeting at 1:00.
Now at this point, I'm pretty sure turning around isn't a good plan anymore even though I really have no idea where I am in relation to where I need to be. I wasn't really lost, but I was thinking I was definitely going to be late. Lefthand Canyon Rd. keeps on going. It's quite scenic as well but I had no time to enjoy it because now I'm going to be late. At some point I started to worry that maybe I'd missed some turn off to Ward and was headed who knows where. But, then, miraculously, there is the little town of Ward. Yay!
Now what? Which way do I go from here? I have no idea (and no map). At Hwy 72 (which I've been on before) I have to decide. Left or right? To the right is a road sign. I'll go that way to see what towns are listed. Estes Park! Oops, wrong way. I turn around and head in the proper direction, which is towards Nederland.
Now that I know where I am, I am 95% sure I'll be late. I know I can get from Nederland to Boulder in about half an hour. But, I don't know how far it is from Ward to Nederland. It was about 12:20 or so. And now I really have to pee on top of everything else.
So, I hit the throttle and head south to Nederland. I really wish I had time to take photos because this route is beautiful! I made one curve and nearly hit the brakes to stop and look out over the scene. Gorgeous! Mental note to go back at some later point.
Did I mention that it's cold in the canyon?
I'm making good time but have no idea really where I am or how far I have to go. Finally! The town appears. It's only 12:30! Now I'm thinking I might make it or at least only be about 5-10 minutes late. Not so bad. But I do have to pee. So, I stop at the community library (very cool place!). That takes the usual amount of time. I walk out to the bike and wouldn't you know it. Mr. Friendly wants to chat about my bike. Folks in Nederland are very friendly and I love it but I was on a mission. So, he walks over as I start putting my gear on and asks what kind of bike I am riding. I tell him, steadily putting on my gear. I send an email from my phone hoping to alert folks that I'll be late getting back. He starts to tell me how cool it looks and what bike he rides and about the great weather for riding we had last weekend. I even put in my ear plugs while he was talking and he kept on. Just before I was about to put my helmet on, he says well, have a good ride! I thank him and mount up.
I hit the round about and point the bike towards Boulder. Wouldn't you know it. An RTD bus is in front of me!! Wow! How bad is my luck (or judgment) today? So, I sit in behind the bus and resign myself to being late for the meeting. About half way down the canyon the bus pulls over and I hit the throttle. I've done this road a few times recently so felt comfortable in the curves. I hit the city limits about 1:00. But, getting through town takes the usual amount of time. I get back to my desk at 1:30. Yikes!
So, I missed the meeting. But, had a very nice ride. Maybe next time I can actually enjoy it more! The 30 minute ride turned into a 2 hour adventure. Instead of 13 quick miles, I put on about 50 miles. :-)