Sunday, June 30, 2013

BTC Continued

Friday, June 28.  Crested Butte to Salida

The second big climb of the tour and the highest pass I ever climbed; Cottonwood Pass 12, 126.

Started the day with breakfast at the school as planned.  I knew I would need a large breakfast with protein to make this climb.  Quality wasn't so good but there was plenty.

The ride was 91 miles with 14 miles of dirt road climbing Cottonwood.  The dirt road was not as rough or hard as Wednesday's dirt adventure and it wasn't dusty.  Altogether for a climb above 12,000 ft it wasn't bad at all.  I set out to climb slow and back off that pace if needed since I didn't know what to expect.  It paid off as I reached the pass at 11am right on plan.

A total of 5,000 feet of climb on my altimeter and 6:30 of ride time.  The profile says 7,000 ft but comparing numbers with other riders we think the profile is inflated.

Saturday, June 29.  Salida to Canon City

Finished the Bicycle Tour of Colorado with a quick 60 mile ride from Salida to Canon City. The ride was largely downhill with only the one climb between the Royal Gorge entrances. It only took three hours elapsed. 

The bags were slow in coming so I rode out to the long term parking. I arrived at 9:30 but the bags didn't arrive until after 11--and this was the premier service.

I will think long and hard before I do another BTC. The support is really second rate and the prices are very high. I could bore you with examples but the heart of this difference is the RTR is a fund raiser and the BTC is a private, commercial enterprise (and I think they are losing money).

Still, the BTC had the climbs I really wanted to do.

Just for the fun of it I looked up the degree of difficulty of the climbs done on the RTR and BTC. I did this while we were waiting for bags yesterday in Canon City. It crushed a lot of egos.

The formula is the vertical rise multiplied by the average grade. A 6.2 mile climb with a height difference of 3,281 feet (10% grade) will be rated at 10. This is the same rating as a 12 mile climb with a height difference of 4560 feet (7% grade).

The hardest climb in Colorado is Mt. Evans at a 9.0. The major climbs done on these two rides are Cottonwood from Buena Vista 2.4, Independence from the east 2.8, Wolf Creek from Pagosa Springs 3.4, Lizard Head from Telluride 0.9 !, Hardscrabble (not sure of the direction) 3.2, and McClure from Carbondale 1.5.

To put this in perspective, L'alpe d'Huez scores a 10.0 (and it is only about 1/3 as long as Mt. Evans), and Mont Ventoux rates 12.7.

So as hard as these climbs were--and believe me they were work--in the world of cycling they just aren't that hard. And I want nothing to do with anything harder than Mt. Evans.
Summary for BTC, 458 miles and 28,000' of climbs.

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