STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO
DAY 2 - RIDE THE ROCKIES
There is no entry for Day 1 because for this traveler it was a day spent flying between D.C. and Denver, then renting a car and driving in snow (yes) over to Winter Park.
There was a Day 1 for most riders, it was just shortened. A nice day turned miserable with cold, rain, and then snow. Most riders were suffering from hypothermia and it was too dangerous to descend the mountain to Winter Park. RTR wisely closed the course and shuttled all riders.
I had some food on the airplane and thought I'd grab something on the way to Winter Park, or upon reaching Winter Park. I did neither.
Checking the weather it was 29 degrees. And I did not bring winter riding clothes. No head covering. No leg warmers or tights. No winter jacket. I did have knee warmers and a light jacket. That would have to do.
I rolled out of Winter Park to find the Ride the Rockies registration. When I reached the rec center in town I found they had already packed up and moved on for the day. So I jumped in with all the other riders, following the signs and wheels. And not otherwise knowing where I was going.
I could see snow capped mountains but had no idea of today's route. Leaving rest stop #1 I saw the sign - Steamboat Springs 78. Oops. It's going to be a much longer day than I anticipated.
|Steamboat Springs - Just 78 more miles|
It's hard to describe the topography of the day. I'll let the photos do that. One of my favorites was probably only a three mile ride through Beyers Canyon, a narrow fit of road without shoulders, the Colorado River, and a train track. It was gorgeous.
|Beyers Canyon and Colorado River|
It was here I was passed, we all were passed, by Lisa Smith. Her cadence must have been 160-180 rpm. I thought she was gone forever but eventually the road turned more favorable to my liking or less to hers and we were side by side for a while talking about France and Italy.
I stopped at Rest Stop #2 and saw my friends from the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinsons. I would love to ride with them but am so vested in the cancer fight I don't know that I have the resources to support them as well.
We climbed up Muddy Pass (8,772') and went through Rabbit Ears Pass (9,426') where we crossed the Continental Divide. The climb was sort of long. I had a guy my age sit on my wheel the entire way - overlapped my wheel actually.
Actually, this guy was on my wheel the entire climb. I really didn't mind except he kept overlapping my wheel. And my climbing style is occasionally popping out of the saddle. I tried never to create a hesitation when standing. Then about a mile from the summit we were passed by a young lady and I was able to hold her wheel to the summit. So I got a free pull too. And I thanked her for it when she kept going.
Over the top there was an awesome no-brakes seven mile 7% grade descent. Even in a tuck, pedaling at times, and riding in the right travel lane where it was a little smoother, I could only hit 42.5 mph. I was going into a pretty strong head wind. In fact that head wind was present all day and made riding tough.
At the bottom of the mountain was still a four mile run in into our destination. Here I rode with a guy from Austin who does training rides for the Texas 4000. He was fun to talk with. He did say their weather had been so crappy that he didn't get out his year to meet the riders.
In the end the day turned out to be more than 100 miles. I should have eaten more. Getting to the hotel I was too tired to go out. Pizza delivery anyone?
Notes. 101.38 miles