Wednesday, August 29, 2012

crmbt-mancos to pagosa springs

Saturday 8-11-12

The consensus around camp Friday night had been to shoot for an early start. Boxing bikes, getting to airports, starting towards home, these things all seemed like they would be simpler, easier, if we could get the 94 mile ride over with as early as possible. Some riders stayed on US160 all the way from Durango to Pagosa Springs. I'm not sure how many miles it cut off the ride, but I'm sure we dealt with lighter traffic and better scenery by following the route towards Vallecito and down to Bayfield.
I rode most of the way with Paul and Steve. We left Mancos with Matt a little before 6:00am. It was cool for the first couple hours, which felt good, but there were some short climbs that proved a struggle first thing in the morning after five good days of riding. Matt eventually pulled away, and Paul went with him. Steve and I plodded along until we found our legs. We were both feeling stronger as we neared the summit of Hesperus Pass. Four miles later we found Paul at the first aid station, where we learned that there were only a handful of riders on the road ahead of us, but Kevin reported that by 7:30 all riders were now on the road.

After the aid station we had a great descent into Durango, losing about 1600 feet over 9 miles. With all of the great climbs/descents we'd had over the week, I hit my high speed coming down Hesperus Hill. Taylor Phinney wouldn't be impressed with my 52 mph, but I had fun! I had started the morning with a jacket, taken it off as we climbed, and put it on again after the aid station. I was really glad when I was flying through the shadows in the canyon. The only tricky part of the route was how we were getting through Durango. Dale was right there at the stop light where we needed to make a left turn with directions to the next turn that would get us out of town.
 We enjoyed a cool morning most of the way to the second aid station in Bayfield. It was starting to heat up as we made the turn back onto US160. We had about 29 miles and one more aid station between us and Pagosa Springs. Yellow Jacket Pass is only 7737 feet of elevation, but by late morning every hill was becoming one more thing to slow progress. Eventually we spotted Chimney Rock off to the south. It's visible for a long way on this route, but it meant we were getting closer. 
Eventually we reached the edge of Pagosa Springs and had a nice downhill run into town. We rolled into the high school lot at 1:30 pm. Seven and a half hours total, including several stops for pictures, aid stations, and just to catch my breath, none of them for very long. The volunteers at the finish line rang a cowbell (I need more cowbell!). I knelt to kiss the ground, and hurried to shower and get everything in the car to get on the road. I was a little disappointed when I realized that I would lose an hour right off the bat heading back to Kansas, but c'est la vie. Another good day, another great tour in Colorado. Another fantastic week with CRMBT.


  1. The middle third of the last day was really great.
    First third into the sun a little scary.
    Last third was ok. I think I was just anticipating the trip home and the chores in front of me.
    Overall a really great week. Thanks for posting all these pics as usual!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the ride....great images..!!