Up just before 5 (alarm was set for 5:30), ate a Cliff Bar and had a coffee, got dressed for a cool morning, and was on the road by 6:15. This is a much more normal RTR day. No hunting for my bike and knocking the ice of it. No 10,000 feet of climbs to dictate a careful early pace. And no blizzard.
Almost exactly 7 hours later I was at my hotel having cycled 82 miles and climbed 5100 feet in 6:15 of riding. I expect a normal RTR to day to 6-8 hours and 4-5 thousand feet of climbs. For fun, later in this post I will compare these days with PAC Tour's Eastern Mountain Tour of 2012 which is at my limit.
The route today was through the Yampa valley with two long climbs. The first was about 40 miles long at a modest grade of 3-5% climbing from 6,830 to 8,530. The second a much steeper climb from State Bridge of 1,460 feet in 8 miles. We also had a nice gusty headwind to make the last climb more eventful. The rest of the ascent was in long rollers.
It is really green right now. I stopped and took pictures of a couple of interesting rock formations but my selfies are terrible and are deleted. And the pictures of the foxes mentioned yesterday are bad too. I need a smarter camera.
Tomorrow is a classic day. Three passes: Battle Mountain at 9, 231, Tennessee Pass at 10,424 and Fremont at 11,318. It is essentially a fifty mile climb to the Fremont Pass then a 25 miles descent to Breckenridge.
For fun let's compare RTR days this year with PAC EMT days. The two ways to compare the difficulty are using TSS (Total Stress Score) and KCal. Explaining TSS is way beyond my intention today so just look at the raw numbers. KCal everyone more or less understands. The one thing to understand about KCal is that it takes a high level of conditioning to burn a lot of Calories. If I manage my level of effort properly and the climb is manageable within that level of effort (neither too steep up or down) I burn about 400 KCal per hour all day.
Berthoud Pass on RTR Day 1 was a 9 hour day and had a TSS of 320 and used 3600 KCal. Days 3 and 4 were 8 and 7 hour days and had TSS's of 217 and 225 (essentially the same) and KCal of 2462 and 2477.
By comparison Day 1 of the EMT had a TSS of 469 and KCal of 3700 (comparable to RTR Day 1) but days 2, 3, and 4 had TSS of 348, 392, and 413 and KCal of 3000, 3500, and 3700. And the peak effort was on day 11 with a TSS of 503 and a KCal of 4070. The durations for days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 11 were 9:30, 9:25, 9:15, 10:15 (11,000 feet of climbs), and 10:35.
The first day up Berthoud was in the PAC Tour class of day. But PAC days are as hard or harder than RTR day one this year and there are three or four times as many PAC Tour days (EMT was 17 days).
I doubt I will ever do another PAC mountain tour as the level of conditioning might be beyond my body at 66.