Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ride the Rockies Summary

The Ride the Rockies (RTR) tour went from Telluride, CO to Colorado Springs on June 9th through 15th.  Total distance was 540 miles and total climb was 22k feet.

I drove to Colorado Springs early on the 9th to catch a bus to Telluride.  The bus ride was 7 hours but the time went fast.  The bus stopped twice for breaks.  It only took a few minutes to register and my hotel room at the Hotel Telluride was right next door.  It was quite nice.

Day 1.  Telluride to Cortez.
The first day ride was up Lizard Head Pass and then a long descent to Cortez.  I arrived in Cortez at 11:30 and was challenged to find a place to eat and get out of the sun.  Most of the vendors were not set up yet.  So I ate a gyro and had a beer from the beer tent and waited until 1 for my room to be ready.
Day 2.  Cortez to Durango
I expected there to be a lot of wind so I was on route by 6:15 and finished at 11.  The route at a silly loop going back to Mancos (probably to get enough mileage in for the day).  I pulled a man and a woman for several miles.  Then, going up Mancos Hill I popped my right pedal out of the crank.  Very fortunately Chris from Sports Garage stopped and get my pedal installed well enough that it would hold for the rest of the ride.  It would cost me $400 to replace the crankset.

Went to hear Bob Roll and it was a bust.  Listened to a lot of uninteresting talk before Bob and then all Bob did was tell stories.  I was hoping to hear something about cycling technique or strategy.

Day 3.  Durango to Pagosa Springs. 
On route at 6am planning to be done by 12:30. The wind did not come up until late afternoon and the wind was favorable.  I completed the ride by noon.

But my hotel was far back on the route and up a large hill into the wind.  So I put my bike in the corral and rode the bus.  Cancelled dinner with Kay since I was far west and she was far east. 

Day 4.  Pagosa Springs to Alamosa.
It was a lucky break that I had to leave my bike in the corral.  I was up at 4:45 and caught a 5am bus.  Had breakfast and started riding at 5:50.  If I had stopped at my hotel on the way into Pagosa Springs I still could not have started before 5:50 (first good light) and would have had an extra 5 miles to go.
It was cold at the start—37 degrees in the valley.  But again another fortunate mistake.  I should have taken a wind breaker but I didn’t and would have loved to have it the first 14 miles but after that it would have been just weight.

The big climb of the tour was today over Wolf Creek Pass.  I had hoped to get over it by 9am (3 hours) and I was about 20 minutes faster.  I was on the downhill by 8:50.

The farmers in Monte Vista had a potato tent and were giving away baked potatoes with all the fixings.  I had a purple potato.  Wonderful. Ride time 6:18.

Day 5.  Alamosa to Salida
Pretty flat ride with a good tail wind.  Climb up Poncha Pass wasn’t really much.

Day 6.  Salida to Canon City
Fires at the Royal Gorge forced a reroute.  The route now comes down Hwy 50 to Cotopaxi and then Hwy 69 Westcliff and then Hwy 96 to Wetmore and then Hwy 67 to Florence and finally, roughly, Hwy 115 to Canon City.  And extra 33 miles and 2K’.  But it was worth it.  It really was a nice route; very pretty and the climbs were, with one exception at the start, not steep at all.  The climb over Hardscrabble Pass was quite reasonable. 

The descent of Hardscrabble was steep with switch backs.  One rider at least didn’t make one of the turns and crashed into the guardrail.  The descent was also hot.  It went  from cool to 105 and then settled in the 90’s.

Finally had dinner with Kay and her friend.

Day 7.  Canon City to Colorado Springs

Cruised this 46 miles and got to COS about 10am.  My luggage arrived shortly afterwards, changed and headed home.  I saw no need to stay around for the closing events and raffles at 1:30.  Home by 1pm.

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