Saturday, July 7, 2012

i think i can, i think i can

You know, it's funny how I sign up to go ride in the mountains of Colorado, knowing it will be hard, and yet look for ways to convince myself that it won't be that bad. I guess my convoluted thinking goes something like this: If it wasn't hard, anyone could do it, and I wouldn't have near the satisfaction from doing it. If it's too hard, I might not be able to do it. And while I'm far from the strongest rider on any tour, I've climbed all the climbs that CRMBT has put in front of me. Furthermore, while I believe that the 2012 version of CRMBT will pose plenty of difficulty, I'm confident I can complete the ride.
Part of what I like about this year's route, besides some stunning scenery, is that 3 of the first 4 days are only 65 miles. Even with a good climb thrown in (Wolf creek Pass-day one, Dallas Divide-day four) and a possible headwind riding west from Gunnison to Montrose on day three, it's only 65 miles, right? Okay, I conveniently forgot to mention that day two is over 105 miles, with 6,000 feet of climbing with a maximum altitude of 11,530 feet. But even that day has a bright side if you're trying to calm your fears. Having done this ride from the other direction, I can tell you that it's beautiful, long, and hard. Slumgullion Pass has to rank near the top of the hardest climbs I've ever done. But, we get to do it from the "easy" side. I think the toughest part of this day will be climbs of No Name Hill and Nine Mile Hill that come after 70 miles in the saddle. They are both about 3.5 miles long, 900 feet of climbing in the 4.7% grade range. They're only a few miles apart, and by mid-afternoon it will be hot!
After our rest day in Telluride we have an 83 mile ride that features a little climbing in the first 15 miles, and a whole lot of descending the rest of the way. I've never been on this stretch of road, but from what I hear, and the pictures I've seen, it's spectacular. I just need to remember to interrupt  my descent to get some good pictures myself.
The last day of the tour has us riding 94 miles to get back to Pagosa Springs. No major climbs, but it looks like there's a nice little climb before we get to Durango. And if memory serves, the climb from Durango towards the Vallecito reservoir could give you all you want on the last day. After that, and after all the climbing we will have done, there's really no big challenge the rest of the way to Pagosa Springs. But the day will be long, and hot. I can hardly wait. Four weeks from tomorrow we'll be touring.


  1. I look forward to more amazing pictures. Have a wonderful ride!

  2. Jeff -
    I agree with you 100%. Especially "I think the toughest part of this day will be climbs of No Name Hill and Nine Mile Hill that come after 70 miles in the saddle."
    Those are tough. I've actually given them other names which shouldn't be repeated here!

  3. Jeff:
    You are a machine.
    Are you planning to do any cross-country tours?
    Peace :)

  4. Jeff,
    Thanks for your post! I'm at that "three weeks to go and I'm afraid I'm not ready/won't make it" stage myself! I have to remind myself that I'm in at least as good shape as I was last year (I think a bit better) and that I made it through each of those days! Thanks for your analysis of the days - you know the area much better than I do. See you in a few weeks!