I live at the foot of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of about 5000 feet. Today was a sharp reminder that fall is not far away, winter conditions will soon close some mountain roads and summer is slipping through my fingers.
I love summer. I really hate to see it go.
I do like the change of seasons; but, I let go of summer and head into fall kicking and crying. It usually takes that sharp slap in the face to make me let go.
Really, fall is beautiful in Colorado. Fall is marked with cool nights and warm days in the 70s. The aspen change in the mountains, sprinkling gold among the evergreens.
The deciduous trees aren't changing colors in big numbers yet, but they soon will. Shorter days and cooler temperatures coax the trees into new clothing.
One week ago the high temperature on my group ride was 90 degrees F. I was happily in a sleeveless jersey, worrying about sunscreen. This morning I was scrambling to find my cold weather gear. The "real feel" temperature (considering humidity, temperature and wind) was 40 degrees. Thankfully, the wind was minimal. Most of the cool feel was due to a cold front and humidity.
The group ride went west into low clouds. Climbing in the cool air was great. Apparently bed vines had latched onto most people because the roads were unusually quiet.
We rode Rist Canyon west. It is a tough climb and one of the former racers on the ride said it would be considered a Category I climb in the Tour de France due to the length and elevation gain. Sounds reasonable to me. It's a tough climb by anyone's rating system.
After the top of the climb, marked by a set of mailboxes, the descent began. Not as much fun going down.
I normally love this descent, but the low clouds made the visibility no more than about 30 yards. The clouds were so heavy with moisture that rivulets formed on my glasses, which I eventually had to remove so I could see.
Wearing a jacket, knee warmers, helmet cover, toe covers and full fingers gloves, I was still cold. Really cold. My fingers were numb most of the descent. When I got home about four hours after leaving, the thermometer on my patio read a balmy 48 degrees. I don't know what the real feel temperature was, but cold to me.
In just a few months I'll be wishing the temperature would be as warm as 48.
I suspect some of the mountain peaks far west of me received snow out of this cold front. The front will hang around one more day and on Wednesday the high temperature will be 80 degrees. Nice.
Today, I was officially slapped in the face. I will be preparing mentally and with clothing changes to welcome fall and soon winter in Colorado.