Wednesday, August 25, 2010

end of the road

I was on the road by 6:00am on Saturday. I had a century ride ahead of me, losing about 700 feet in elevation from Granby back to Edwards. But, there was a 2200 foot climb of Gore Pass slightly less than halfway through the ride. And, before it was over, I would learn that CO 131 Summit, about 80 miles into the ride and 8,250 feet, was nothing to sneeze at, especially 80 miles into the ride.
The temperature was 40 degrees when I started out in the morning. A blue sky and slightly downhill grade made for an enjoyable ride to the aid station in Kremling. The road turned upward for the next 8 miles, then the climbing really started. The grades weren't bad, but it was a steady climb for 7 or 8 miles. It was a pretty ride, but the views were mostly of the trees we rode through.
Aid station 2 was at the summit of Gore Pass. Still early in the day, less than 60 miles to go, and all the big climbs were done. The "wrenches" had their tent set up to aid with any mechanical difficulty riders might be having. Luckily, they were not needed by too many this morning.
The next few hours were fast, short descents, followed by a couple of short climbs. Overall the descents were much longer than the climbs. I love a ride like that, but eventually in cycling, what goes down, must come back up.
We passed through some pretty, red-rock hills, and over the Colorado River not too far from it's beginning. The temperature had climbed into the 70's, I was making good time, and it had been a pretty good day.
Then CO 131 Summit reared it's ugly head. It was warm, steep, and long enough to hurt after 80 miles in the saddle. I had lost count of how many times during the week I had to think "just keep turning the peddles". This was another one of those times. I stopped to rest and have some water, of which I only had a little left, where a group of riders was just getting back on their bikes. One of them told me they thought it was less than 2 miles to the top. I said " If it's longer than that, tell my wife I love her". When I saw the final aid station at the summit, it could have been a mirage. I was so glad to see the volunteers, like Misty and her people. This is one of the few pictures you would see of Misty without her tennis ball. I also met Paul at the top and we rode down together.
After a rest, snack and full water bottles we had about 16 miles down to Edwards. I got everything into my car, grabbed a towel and a quick shower, and was on the road by 3:30pm. I drove more than halfway back to Olathe, getting to Oakley, KS by 10:30pm. That left a more manageable 5 hours to get home Sunday morning.
I rode 432 miles in 6 days on the tour, and 20 miles doing Berthoud Pass on my own. I was tired and sore, but very grateful to have completed so many great rides. Loveland Pass, Mt Evans, and Trail Ridge Road were all highlights, but the whole week was spectacular. I love Colorado, and hope to be able to go back again. And I really need to check out some other states too.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your CRMBT ride report, Jeff, it is excellent. I rode the tour too but was far less diligent in taking photos. I can relive the tour through your blog, chapeau to you!