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Up early at 5:30 am to prepare for our daring ride down Pikes Peak on bicycles we packed our gear and greeted the other riders at the bike rental shop. We noshed on bagels, yogurt, fruit and coffee and got sized up with helmets, and received our own keepsake water bottle. It was a chilly morning but invigorating as all 10 of us bikers were shaking with anticipation…well maybe it was just me shakin’.
We packed into the van to the Pikes Peak Cog railroad station. We paused to view a trail of 4,000 steps up a mountain by the station. Many people were hiking up and running up…a man has the record for two years straight during the marathon to jog up and down that mountain…amazing. A family of four on our tour had climbed up the day before and said it was brutal, especially walking down with, I quote, “Rubbery legs”.
Chug chug, choo choo, up we go to the top of Pikes Peak in our Cog Railway train of a mere 100 years old and the world’s highest-14,110 feet. Super vistas and an entertaining conductor lady made the ride fun. Our three new friends from California made the ride fun too! As we approached about 2/3rds up the track, at Windy Point, Tony photographed his sister’s mother-in-law’s home as a young child. Her family served sandwiches to travelers. The rock store house was still standing all alone and abandoned on the lofty perch! Someone had painted the windows to look as if there were curtains in the windows.
We stepped out of the railcar and ran to the restroom after a 1.5 hour ride up. The smell of the most delicious donuts on earth whipped up our nostrils and nirvana hit! I thought the top of Pikes Peak would be a nirvana moment…but those delicacies were as light as air…our California friends shared them with us! The view was killer though, we could see really far even to Kansas!
After a safety talk and a photo-op we were given our bikes with super-duper hydraulic brakes! The guide said practice now to learn how sensitive those babies are…wow…you could stop on a dime fast! He warned us of doing an “overdo” going face forward over the bike…so he wanted us to “feather” the brakes please and if you have to favor a brake favor the right one. So like little school kids we peddled around the top of Pikes Peak and giggled and gasped and worked those brakes and gears so we were ready! Off we zoomed from those high vistas to a vertical dive that just took my breath away! I loved it! Then I touched those brakes and wham they made be wiggle side to side and almost lose my balance. You had to learn to get the feel of them and I feathered and feathered and feathered…
Our tour guides were positioned one in front on a bike, and one in back in the van with flashing lights to warn traffic that we were ahead of him cruising like crazy. My top speed was 42 miles an hour. Of course Tony was the best rider on the tour. He impressed the guides with his knowledge and control of his bike, especially taking photos and videos and attaching the go-pro to his chest! I only rode in the van once up a brutal hill that even Tony admitted was tough! Wow if he says that then it was!
We viewed switch back views and gorgeous rocks and lakes and even a goat! Yep a goat was standing on the side of the road staring at us like we were HIS circus to watch. Several of us thought it was not real because it was standing perfectly still as we rode by, and then stopped a few feet away. Eventually his gaze broke and he began to go up to the van and sniff and then mosey on up the road. (The California friends got a hoot from me saying his eyes looked so lifelike before I realized it was real! )
We stopped plenty of times to take shots of nature and each other and soak up the joy of the mountains on a bike and then we were off again on a fast spiral down, brake, brake, feather, brake. Once you did get the feel of the bike and got over the shakes it was such a great way to see Pikes Peak with the air in your face and the road at your feet.
We peddled and cruised by Santa’s Workshop open since the 1950′s, the North Pole-Santa’s Workshop has been entertaining children and encouraging them to be on their best behavior. They have animals, an arcade, places to eat, shop and explore. They also have 25 rides and a spot to talk to Santa any time of the year.
Our downhill adventure coasted to a stop back in Colorado Springs. We squeezed into the van again and off to eat Greek cuisine at Jake & Telly’s restaurant in Old Town Colorado Springs. Delicious gyros, grilled to perfection with a side of orzo salad. Yummo! The California friends and Tony and I vowed to FaceBook and send lots of photos as we hugged goodbye. Tony and I drove back to our motel to enjoy a rest and a nice bottle of Chardonnay, buzzing with memories of our Colorado Rocky Mountain HIGH!