The Assault on Mount Mitchell 2022 – A Baby Seal was I

July 30, 2022 § 2 Comments

When Terry Downs sent me the registration link, this seemed like a great idea. I was going to sign up for Ride the Rockies again, and having this activity in May would force me to get out there and train, because this beast is a monster. In case you aren’t aware, Mount Mitchell is the highest point East of the Mississippi. The term highest has to be understood. The Appalachian Trail does NOT traverse Mount Mitchell and so Clingman’s Dome (soon to be renamed thus ridding us of another Confederate traitor) is the highest point on the AT. Mount Mitchell Highlands NJ is the highest coastal point South of Maine (Cadillac Mtn though is on an island). Mount Mitchell in NC is the highest thing around for man miles. This ride begins all the way South in Spartanburg South Carolina and generally winds it’s way North and West until it ascends to the Blue Ridge, and then its South to the final climb to the summit. One hundred two miles and more than 10K feet of elevation gain.

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Day 6

July 25, 2022 § Leave a comment

And we have reached the last day of a tremendous ride in the Rockies. Of course there is still the ride, and that ride includes first getting up and over Loveland Pass, but once that is completed, then it is generally a simple task of losing elevation all the way to Golden. Getting over Loveland would not be a simple task though we all start the day with at least 340 miles in our legs already, and having lifted ourselves up and over the Continental Divide four times already. This is another front-ended climb day that has nothing but downhill afterwards, and on this day there is no forecast for high headwinds. We might hit some weather, but at least we don’t have to fight the wind to get to Golden.

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Day 5

July 23, 2022 § Leave a comment

A glorious day!

I tested negative the night before and today was a beautiful rest day. Yes, there was still a ride, but we were looking at 30 miles with only Swan Mountain to climb instead of a longer day that included and out and back to Ute Pass. It is the fifth day of the ride which means it all comes to end on the morrow, but let’s not fret about that just yet. The plan was a simple one. Follow the leaders into Frisco, and Silverthorne and find a place for some coffee, or even a sit-down place to get a bite for either a late breakfast, or an early lunch. It isn’t possible on a trip like this to take in too many calories. Every day of Ride the Rockies is calorie deficit day!

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Day 4

July 13, 2022 § Leave a comment

You might think that after 3 days of Ride The Rockies 2022 the body might have it’s own built in escape mechanism where it simply shuts down and like a little kid with its mind set, just simply refuses to do any more. Well, you would be wrong. We all awoke and the RV camp was astir with anticipation for the coming day. Our route would take us back North on 285 to Buena Vista (Remember Jeremy had his room there in yesterdays post. Smart cookie that Jeremy was) where we continued on 285 North, where we would cross Trout Pass, a minor pass that simply separates the head waters of the Arkansas from the headwaters of the South Platte rivers, to Fairplay Colorado where we would leave 285 on Route 9 and climb over the beast, Hoosier Pass to take us back into the Pacific drainage and Breckenridge. There is a lot of Colorado where I haven’t been, but one place I did want to see was this town. I am not a skier, but the town name just exudes ski when you hear it. Kind of like Aspen and Vail, but better. That was my impression at least.

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Day 3

July 10, 2022 § Leave a comment

Independence Pass. By just its name, it doesn’t sound that daunting. 12, 095′ sounds a little daunting though, and if Ken’s Epic Ride forecast was still accurate, then we would be in for another long descent into a crossing headwind, though if we started early enough, we might actually get a little assistance on our ascent. I was told that this was the harder side, but maybe, similar to the first day’s route, getting the climb out of the way first would make it less of a hardship. First we had to cover 2000′ in 23 miles to get to Aspen, where the first Aid Station would be setup, and then over the next 16 miles gain the extra 4000′, or 250′ per mile to reach the second Aid Station. When I train in Harriman, we are always impressed that no matter how far we ride there, it always works out to 100′ per mile, and those roads are sometimes pretty steep, so 250′ per mile did sound an alarm in my head. As Ken noted as a comment in my last post, the route designers probably should have considered an additional station somewhere during the ascent as it would take a long time to cover those 16 miles.

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Day 2

July 4, 2022 § 1 Comment

An “Easy” day they said. “Easier” was maybe more like it, but when you have the remnant lactic acid of a 110 mile day still being cleared from your legs, nothing is “Easier”. I think Susan had the right idea at the start. When the course hung a left to climb, she would continue straight along the river, because if there is anything I have learned biking, its this. When the route follows a river, there are no surprises. Back in May when I was Assaulting Mount Mitchell, it wasn’t until the climb left the creek that “Paid!” was stamped to my ticket, but the key word take away here is the difference between a “River” and a “Creek”. A creek empties into a river and drains higher elevations. A river is more established, so the Roaring Fork River, that drains down from Aspen through Basalt is a river, and as such it’s elevation loss, read that as gain when going against the flow of the river, isn’t all that bad, and as I recall, until we turned left to climb that hill, it is like we weren’t climbing at all.

If you read the last post, you know there was talk of a swim at the Springs, but as mentioned, if you wanted to ride the full loop on this day, then the swim should have occurred yesterday, as there wouldn’t be any Rest Area support if we left too late. When Ken showed up, I was ready to ride, but I was going to be more inclusive on this day, and I wasn’t just going to roll out with Ken, but would wait for a gaggle of Team Samaritans to roll out with. That gaggle included Rick, Susan, myself, and maybe 1 other. I though Andy would be here, but he was nowhere to be found. “What about Ken?” Yes, Ken was there as well, but he didn’t count as Team Samaritan gaggle.

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Day 1

July 3, 2022 § 2 Comments

I think the way I am going to present this will be day by day. Each day is an adventure in itself with it’s own challenges, accomplishments, interactions, conditions, weather and laughs. It means I have more to write, but then on the other hand it cements each day in my mind, and that is an investment in future me.

I was up at 5am, not having slept all that well, but I already discussed what sleep and rest are to me in my previous post, so it was no surprise. The sky was clear, and the morning light was fantastic. The food truck, that we had observed yesterday getting provisioned, was getting itself going. I felt like with 110 miles ahead of me, I wanted to have something solid in my stomach to set off with, and not just a breakfast bar to be supplemented at the aid stations, so as soon as I noticed people walking away with food, I went over and secured a breakfast burrito without meat, making an exception in my Vegan diet for the egg and there was probably cheese as well. I would be making a lot of exceptions on this trip. I could have prepared better for my situation, but I already elected to make exceptions on this journey.

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Ride The Rockies 2022 – Prelude

July 1, 2022 § 2 Comments

I rode my first Ride the Rockies in 2021 (read all about it here), after years of listening to my friends’ stories about the organization, the food, and the camaraderie of the ride. Though 2021 was in many ways a shit show, the reality is that the riding steals the show, and everything else is just nice to have, so it wasn’t any surprise that when January 25th rolled around, I brought up the registration and signed up for 2022. What was a surprise, to me at least, was that my friend Ken, who also rode his first RTR last year, reached out to me on the 23rd to inform me that he was thinking of registering again. Why was that a surprise to me? Last year, at the end when I asked him if he “Would ride RTR again?” his reply referenced ice cream in a way that said, “When you have had too much ice cream, you find don’t want any more of it.” and if that is cryptic, he was talking about the mountains and the climbs. So, when he told me what he was thinking I asked him if his taste for ice cream had returned, which went way over his head, because Ken doesn’t trouble himself to remember little quips like his ice cream quip.

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Ride The Rockies 2021 – Getting Home, A Shit Show

October 31, 2021 § 2 Comments

If you read all of these posts regarding my first participation in The Denver Posts Ride the Rockies event, I laid down some groundwork for this last piece early on by noting that I could have/should have expected what was about to go down, but I didn’t, and it went down. When we last left off I was telling you how I needed to finish the Friday ride with enough time to break down and pack my bike, clean-up, and get to the bus before the 5pm departure. Paul (my new friend) and I were walking over that way at about 4 when we said our goodbyes to each other, and he re-iterated the offer that if I wanted to ride with them next year in the comfort of a motor home, I would be more than welcome. Something, I can assure you, I am seriously considering.

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Ride The Rockies 2021 – Day 6 The Million Dollar Highway

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.

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