Mighty Jim Overcomes Altitude Sickness & Trail Ridge

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Cycle America/N, Jun 25, 2003.

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  1. Well I talked to Jim today just before he sent this and he and Greg made it over Trail Ridge! At
    12,090 ft., it is the highest continuous highway in the US. And talk about cold, his words below
    don't do enough justice to how painfully frozen he really was. After the two of them left Estes Park
    and climbed the oxygen starved remaining 5,000 or so feet to the summit, they were greeted with
    frigid conditions not only at the Visitor's Center but when they camped at 8,900 feet on the other
    side of the summit. Jim didn't even get a warm up when he slept. Never one to complain, he told me
    that after his glacial day of climbing, even his sleeping failed him:


    Hi All you low landers: The words to describe our ride will be difficult. First let me say Greg
    Miller was the best rider to share this experience with me. He rides in a similar manner, slow and
    steady and never complains about my 3 or 4 mph uphill rate. Nor about my frequent stops. Even though
    I rested in Boulder for a few days to acclimate, I still felt altitude sickness - a light headache,
    a little light headed, the usual symptoms.

    Greg is an eating machine and was always sharing nuts or carrots with
    me. I tried to cycle 2 mile segments, but if I made 1 or 1 1/2 miles I was lucky. The birds, flowers
    and scenery made the slow motions acceptable.

    The flowers at higher altitudes seem to be getting smaller and more beautiful. We saw a unique
    parasite growth on the top of some evergreens. They looked like red miniature roses. There must have
    been 50 or 60 buds.

    While examining this find, we were joined by a group of geology students from Texas. They were
    watching a marmot and a pika climb around the rocks. They are easily startled by movement, so I had
    Greg stand next to me as I took a picture of the marmot right off the end of Greg's nose. A woman
    did the same for me when I then took a picture of the pika.

    We laughed about the cyclists who passed us with no gear except a 2 x 3 x 4 inch pouch. Greg
    estimated that I have been carrying 50 more lbs than he is. Even if I threw all my gear away we
    still would not be even. Greg is a slim 150 lbs to what I think is a slim 195 lbs for myself. Well
    with the breakfast we both just ate at The Chuck Hole restaurant we both added a little weight. Greg
    found this out when he tried to use with the worlds smallest bathroom that they had for their guests
    - Greg said he had to take off his vest in order to use it.

    We ended up cycling about 25 miles to the visitors center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. On the way
    up a Park Ranger told us it was clear up there and that we would have a tail wind. However as we
    climbed the clouds swept over the road so dense we had to put on the flashers and head lights. We
    could tell things were bad when the vista points where cars usually stop were empty. It was just
    lucky that we even saw the Visitors Center as the clouds were so dense. We were also very cold and
    so we rushed inside hoping the rangers prediction would somehow come true. We had some park food,
    and rested and waited.

    We waited and waited and the weather kept getting worse. At about 5:30 PM, with only 30 minutes to
    closing and no inside bathrooms I could use to put on my long johns we considered asking for a ride
    in a pickup truck down below the clouds. No luck, so in the wind and cold and almost zero
    visibility outside, I stripped down and put on my long underwear and all the rest of the warm
    clothes I had brought along. Greg, the smartest of us already had his warm clothing on. Off we went
    into the dense fog.

    Would you believe in a few minutes of down hill we were in the clear, but still cold weather? And It
    was all down hill for 15 miles to the Timber Creek campsite (8,900 ft, ed) that Greg had picked out.

    We were in site 52 and charming Greg went for a walk and got us an invitation to have spaghetti at
    an adjoining campsite. Keith and Mim Hiesterman, of Wicheta, KS, and their family, Noah, Eli, Sara
    and Steve Thompson(son-in-law) and their children, Dillon and Hallie. A family friend, Luke Poparson
    also treated us like royalty. Eli made us delicious smores, and gave us detailed instructions on how
    to do so ourselves. A real treat after our freezing experience.

    Greg went to the bear clinic that they held in the park and I stayed behind as I needed to to write
    this report. Then this morning Greg went out hiking and saw a moose and a baby calf that had been
    near the area. We went back later, but could not find them to get a picture.

    This morning we cycled 15 miles to Grand Lake on our way to Kemmerling 40 miles away.

    We are off, Jim & Greg

    Local access to PocketMail mobile e-mail now available in Europe, North America & Australia

    Jim Muellner can be found at http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide/JimMuellner His email on
    the road is: [email protected]

    If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Jim our other NBG relay riders as they move
    forward in the National Mayors' Ride at <http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide>, point to
    their blog at <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php>. All of this
    excitement will al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest on August 17:

    btw: If you want to become a rider, we WANT you!! Go to
    <http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/getstarted.php>, to find out how!! btw2: We
    have pictures from the various ride legs on line at
    http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/gallery/2003Mayors btw3: If you want to see who these
    cyclists are, go to <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios>.

    MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o BikeRoute.com 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
    Greenway CEO

    Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru clinical death
    and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.

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