I'm back home from a week and a half in Colorado. And, while it's good to be home with my wife and my dogs, sleeping in my own bed, a little piece of my heart belongs to Colorado now. I have a ton of pictures to share, and lots of stories to tell, all of which I will get to in the coming days and weeks. But here are a few highlights of our adventure. Bruce and I met in North Platte, NE and loaded my bike and bags into his van and headed to Frisco, CO on Thursday, July 30. We stayed at the Snowshoe Motel on Main Street and had breakfast at the Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe before a leisurely ride on the bike path to Breckenridge. Saturday we drove to Copper Mountain and rode with 2,998 friends in the Copper Triangle. Then, back in the van and on to Montrose. I still had my jersey on as we unloaded and Lindsey from St. Louis asked if we had done the Copper Triangle. She told us she had read my comment on the CRMBT rider's forum about doing that ride on the way to the tour, and had signed up on Wednesday and done that too. Very nice!
Saturday we headed out and fought the wind to Gunnison. As I stopped along the way I met another woman who had come alone to ride the Copper Triangle and CRMBT. Teri from Omaha would eventually become part of our group as we rode the rest of the week. It's good to make new friends. The next day was a long, hard climb over Slumgullion Pass. Five of us SAGed in the last 18 downhill miles into Crede because we had been on the road for 12 hours and the SAG would not be out on the road any later. But, we had done all the hard climbs, and felt good about the work we had done.
The next day was an even prettier climb over Wolf Creek Pass. This is a picture of me with my old friend Patrick, and my new friend Rick, who had both come from the Bay area of California to do the tour with us.
After many photo opportunity stops we rolled into Pagosa Springs and celebrated Rick's birthday with a great dinner at a Mexican restaurant downtown. As we climbed out of town the next morning a hot air balloon floated in a perfectly clear, blue sky.
Mostly cool, comfortable weather turned hotter as we made our way to Durango. We all looked forward to a rest day as we found a spot around the back of the school to pitch our tents. Most of us had massages before dinner and I met Jody from Rocky Mountain Sports Massage, who had her sweet, white-faced black lab, Gypsy with her all week. She told me that she had brought Gypsy along because she had been diagnosed with lymphoma. I was honored to meet such a sweet, gentle soul. That night we sat in camp chairs and watched a full moon as clouds floated by over the mountains.
The ride out of Durango was highlighted by fog off of the Animas river. We had a long day with lots of climbing, but worth every pedal stroke as we coasted into the "Switzerland of America", Ouray, CO.
We were fed each morning by Alison from Cyprus Cafe in Durango. It has to be hard to cook for a couple hundred people, outside! But the blueberry pancakes, frittata, bagels with lox and cream cheese, fruit, pastries and lots of good coffee were a great way to start each day. A couple of mechanics from Denver Spoke accompanied us along the way to adjust, repair, clean and just keep our bikes on the road running smoothly. You know a good "wrench" when they get on your bike to ride it after a repair or adjustment. Jody, Stefan, and Peter from Rocky Mountain Sports Massage put in long days helping riders to recover, relax, and be ready for another day in the saddle. Theo from Sherpa Packer provided us with camp chairs and clean towels daily, as well as a smile and a wish for a good ride. Then there were a bunch of volunteers who kept us safe at turns, fed us at aid stations, helped us when we didn't feel well, and did everything they could to ensure we had a great time. Thanks to all of you! Thanks to Kevin for the ride into Crede, the spare tube and pump outside of Pagosa Springs, and for all the times you passed me on the road and I was happy to give you a thumbs up meaning I was good, and I didn't need your help, but it's nice to know you're there. And finally to Peter and Hillary, thank you for another great route, another wonderful week, and everything you do to make us all feel welcome. Because of you I've seen parts of Colorado that I could never have dreamed of. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next year.
I have several hundred more pictures to sift through and post, and notes reminding me of things we saw, ate, laughed at throughout the week. I'm going to ration it all out a little at a time so I can include as much as possible and prudent. I'll share stories of routes, elevations, places we stopped, and people we met along the way. I had an incredible time and would strongly encourage anyone who enjoys cycling to do a week-long tour. And if you can make it to Colorado in August, RIDE THE COLORADO ROCKY MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR!!!
There's no place like home, but Colorado is a great place to visit.
Stay tuned for more......