October 25, 2021 § 1 Comment
People kept saying the words “The Million Dollar Highway” all day the day before. When I re-read the route description, those words were front and center alerting us that this day would be unlike any other. Except of course we would be on our bikes going uphill and down. I could have googled it and at least gone into this day informed, but I was as ignorant as a rock. All I knew was we had three passes to get past before we would reach Durango. If you type that into google you will be directed to the Wiki page for 550, and there is one sentence in particular that accurately names which part owns this moniker. “Though the entire stretch has been called the Million Dollar Highway, it is really the twelve miles (19 km) south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway its name. “. If todays ride was just this 12 miles it would be a ride complete. Those 12 miles were some of the most scenic miles I have ever witnessed on a bike in these United States, and I have witnessed a fair number of miles in these United States. More than a lot, not as much as some.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 23, 2021 § 2 Comments
I will try and take it easy on my audience in this one. It was a short day, so let’s see if we can make it a short post.
Rise and shine was early because that is just what your body does to you when you lay down around 9PM. You just can’t stand lying there any longer, and as soon as first light pokes it’s head over the horizon, I am ready to get up and get a move on. On this day, there was no need to break camp as we were spending a second night in the lovely little hamlet of Ridgway. The route for the day was in two parts, as discussed a little bit in the previous post. The first part was a loop ride to the North that included some bike path, followed by some ample 550 shoulder riding, and the a long 12 mile ascent on a dirt road, and eventually back to Ridgway. The second optional part was to climb back up pass, and then take another dirt road, and climb some more up to the ranch that had been used as a set location in the 1969 film True Grit.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 23, 2021 § 3 Comments
As you have undoubtedly learned, I don’t sit right down after an event like this and get to writing. I let it sit in my head for a while and develop. These days, with all the good programing on all the streaming channels it’s amazing I squeeze any time to droll on about my adventures. Day 4 of this adventure occurred June the 16th, and here it is October 19th, and I am just now starting this. We shall have to see when I publish it, and just how long I dilly dallied my way through it.
When I left you yesterday, we had finished the longest distance day of this years event. It was yet another day over 100 degrees, and there had been other challenges which are well documented in that post. My compatriots spent the night in Telluride, in the comfort of their hotels, and were 30 miles away. On the shuttle that would be at least 45 minutes, and if I could have talked to them, then I might have given them the benefit of waiting, but I was coffee’d up, I had broken my fast on my granola, I was packed, and my bags had been dropped off, and I was ready to ride, so while I could have waited, and maybe I should have waited, I did not, and off I rode, back towards the Norwood Descent. See, now that we were up upon the plateau, it is called the Norwood Descent.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 20, 2021 § 3 Comments
I am going to start this post with an out-of-timeline explanation, as the timeline in which I learned this is later than this story telling moment. It is in the best interest of the story to tell it now.
Morning, Cortez Co. It isn’t a morning unlike Monday morning. The sun rose at about the same time, and it was maybe a wee bit warmer. We were in Cortez, and as you may recall from my last post, there was a bit of a dinner issue the night before. In summary, 100+ degrees, people waiting hours to get dinner, lines slow, food delivered in short spurts with long waits in between.
I awoke like the last two mornings. About the same time, and learning my lesson from yesterday, I waited until the last minute to hydrate my breakfast granola. It turns out, that crunchier is better. I followed my procedures, and I was ready for tent breakdown the first time I stepped out of the tent. With that taken care of, I set off for coffee, and it was on this excursion that I heard the first rumblings of “an issue”. The issue was, that the caterer did not show up for breakfast, and since that was the only food source, there was no breakfast at the beginning of the longest ride of the tour. I, was okay, but really, you can complain all you want, but if you want to get to Norwood, hop on your bike and get going. Don’t sit around and think that breakfast will somehow materialize out of the ether.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 7, 2021 § 2 Comments
This day began exactly like the previous day. After a fitful night of trying to sleep, but getting some rest in between at least two porta-john excursions, it was time to make haste and get this day rolling. Yesterday, I hadn’t soaked my granola long enough, so today, the first thing I did was to measure out the needed water, and get that started. I’d eat it when I was ready, but in the mean time, I had a kit to don, and a camp to break. The older I get the harder it is to get dressed lying down in a tent. My tent isn’t large enough for me to stand in, and there is very limited space to even sit up. Add to that, my aging muscles and some times I can only just get an operation completed before I begin to feel a cramp coming on. Fortunately I catch it before any damage is done.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 1, 2021 § 2 Comments
I slept about as well as any 62 year old male can expect to sleep when you have both your Mother’s bladder, and your Father’s prostate. A detail left out of my last post was the proximity to the port-a-johns. That can be viewed in a positive way, as in it doesn’t take long to get over to them, and perhaps a negative way as well. You might first think “odor”, but that wasn’t it. What you hear all night are the doors slamming shut usually followed by a “Fuck!”
Slept is also a word that is over used with me. Rested is more the proper word. I rest a lot, with periods (short) of sleep peppered in between. How do I know I sleep? If there are any dreams involved I usually know that something crazy was going on in my head that barely made sense while I was dreaming it. As always, they make even less sense when I try to remember them.« Read the rest of this entry »
September 30, 2021 § 1 Comment
Ride the Rockies is an organized ride facilitated by the Denver Post in 1986. I am not sure when I first heard about it, but while I was house rich and cash poor, some of my cycling friends embarked on more than one RTR adventure, and I stayed behind and pined. Images were sent, and I wished I had the resources to attend. Of course, me being a cheap bastard, I would have camped, while my friends dined and slept in the luxury of the hotel option, but at that time, my vacation time that wasn’t family oriented was dedicated to backpacking, and the luxury of a week of bike riding just wasn’t in the cards.« Read the rest of this entry »