Mixed emotions. That's what I was feeling on Saturday morning, August 10, the final day of CRMBT 2013. Oh, and cold, that was the other thing I was feeling. Mixed emotions because I would be saying goodbye to some friends I only get to see once a year. Saying goodbye to Colorado and the nomadic lifestyle of a bicycle tourist. But, I would also be heading home to my family, my own bed, and a few comforts that you give up to take part in the tour. The cold I was feeling? That was due to the 36 degree reading I saw at the bank on Main Street as I stopped for a good cup of coffee to warm me up for the ride.
The sun soon warmed us as we rode, stopping to shed layers, and snap photos of the peaks in the distance, some of which were growing ever nearer. By the end of the day I would have experienced a wide spectrum of emotions including suffering for the last 10-20 miles of this 107 mile day. But mostly the feeling that this is what I love about bike tours, especially in Colorado, and especially CRMBT. A long ride, with a challenge in the middle, and a nice descent as payback for completing that challenge. Spectacular scenery and good folks to ride with don't hurt either.
Cameron Pass sits at 10,276 feet about 30 miles southeast of Walden, which is in the middle of nowhere. From this direction, once you've reached the summit you have about 60 miles of downhill. A descent in the 6% range for several miles, followed by about 50 miles of trending downhill. Just 2-3%, but you can really chew up the miles on a ride like that. Of course, if we hadn't had a headwind I could have chewed a little faster. It was a beautiful day with abundant sunshine. There was just enough suffering in the rolling hills and hot afternoon ride into Loveland to make you know you just did a century ride at the end of a long week of riding. This was a great last day, affording us the opportunity to ride this pass that you would not want to do alone. Aid stations and sag wagons are always a comfort during the tour. In a place this remote they become a necessity.
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