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.« Read the rest of this entry »
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.« Read the rest of this entry »
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.« Read the rest of this entry »
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.« Read the rest of this entry »
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 »