Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 7 – Mancos to Pagosa Springs - 88mi

Wicked traffic today. Many miles of roadway had rumble strips separating the shoulder from the road, and moderate to heavy traffic. At the end of the day, we learned that one rider was killed after getting hit by a truck. Tragic. This was an 80+ mile day … most of the great scenery was already behind us, and the traffic didn’t help. It was an OK ride, but not an exceptional capstone to an otherwise incredible trip. I arrived at Pagosa to find that my luggage was missing. Turns out that Gregg and Julie thought they’d do me a favor by grabbing my luggage for me, without telling me. I appreciate the thought – but please, never never grab someone elses luggage unless they’re expecting it – it tends to freak them out when they can’t find the luggage, or their friends!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 6 – Telluride to Mancos - 83mi

Accidently packed my sunglasses into my baggage on the truck, and noticed to late, so I grabbed the only pair I saw in the lost and found – they fit, and did the trick even though they weren’t sport glasses. Should have been an easy day, but again the damn headwind on many of the downhills! Ugh. But it was a 50 mile long downhill, so I can't complain too much! Seriously, 50 miles downhill, how awesome is that?!? Rode alone much of the day – Jen had a 20 minute head start, and Gregg and Julie dropped me after meeting up and snapping a few photos. John was behind somewhere. Had my own personal best rest stop of the trip – stopped at a gas station and ate an ice cream drumstick under a shade tree a few miles before Aid station 3. There’s no shade at the aid stations today, and the sun was killer hot today. Finally got a crosswind/tailwind for the last 15 miles so they were ok even though there was some climbing. At camp, thunder, then rainstorm just after I got my tent set up. Took a shower in a stream under a bridge at camp – nice and cool, and no waiting in line! John arrived soaked and hailed on and quite cold. Got a beer and listened to local band playing Johnny Cash and Elvis covers – band sucked but songs were all foot tappers. Ate a seafood buffet at some restaurant. Chuckled at this old codger with an oxygen tank who was all pissed off that they weren’t bringing out more fish as fast as he wanted. Too funny. It took John so long to get his hamburger that he had to leave for his massage before his food arrived. Girls stayed at motel in Cortez, so we couldn’t hang out with them tonight. They get to ride extra miles just to get from Cortez to Mancos to start their ride tomorrow. Sucks to be them.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 5 – Day off in Telluride

Slept in until 8:30. Rode up to head of canyon with hopes of hiking up to Brides Veil Falls, but rock slides had closed the trails for the day. So we rode back into town and picked up another trail which ended up being more like a 4x4 trail w/plots of real estate for sale up the hillside. Still OK, since it had a great view of the city below. Trail lunch of baguette, brie, and prusciutto – yum. Back into town, stopped at a sporting goods store, then I rode around town looking for a place to fly my kite – the giant heap of mine tailings would have been great, but it’s no-tresspassing. I swear even the dogs are more laid-back in CO. Read, napped. Grocery shopped then went up to the condo as a group and prepared an amazing dinner – beef , prok, salad (lettuce, orange/yellow pepper, blue cheese, pinenuts), potatoes, brocolli, white wine, chocolate ice cream – so delicious! Jen downloaded everyones photos to her camera, and we watched a slideshow of all the shots from the trip so far. Gondola ride back down over Telluride was stunning, with the town all lit up after dark.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 4 – Montrose to Telluride- 65mi

Rode 17 mi paceline at slowish 14mph pace – boring, slow, not scenic, but important to save energy for the coming climb. Johns knee is still bumming him, Jen has bronchitis or pneumonia. Had a headwind for what seemed like all day. Climbed 3000 ft in first 36 miles – there was a headwind roaring down the pass, taunting us at every curve. Glad I had the 12-26 cassette, the 26 came in handy. Rained briefly at the top of the pass at Aid#2, but thankfully was dry for the descent, but still that headwind was dogging us. Pedalling to maintain 25mph on a downhill like that is just wrong. Climb up to Telluride wasn’t that bad, but traffic was truly nasty at times. Telluride is gorgeous with huge waterfall up at the head of the box canyon. Rode gondola, then second gondola, then still had to hike uphill to reach the girls huge condo. Ate awesome mexican food, shopped, and hung out in front of ice cream joint with a couple folks we met in the pool yesterday. Met Bob from St Paul who rides w/ Loon State team. Sleep at 10pm.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 3 – Gunnison to Montrose - 64mi

Two smaller climbs today, and some downhill. Shorter day, slept in a little and got a late start. Jen/Julie left without us. Gregg pulled John and I for the first 9 miles at 20mph into a headwind – incredible. Ride started out winding around a lake/reservoir – amazing scenery. I dropped John on the second climb due to his bum knee but we regrouped at the top and rolled into Montrose together on the sweet descent. Gregg and I met the girls at their hotel pool, grabbed some lunch at some barn restaurant just down the block. I had beef stew that was just perfect. Why shower when you can use the pool? I’m having an OK time on the bike this trip, but every ride really seems like work for me – more work than it seems it should. I’m just not trained for this, and the climbs, mileage, and altitude are taking their toll. I’m having a great time hanging out with everyone, but getting on the bike in the morning isn’t something I look forward to. The scenery is great, but I look too forward to getting done riding every day. Sunburned my calves today – didn’t bother to put sunscreen on them this morning since I was all bundled up, but my knee warmers left my calves exposed and they paid for it. Bluegrass band tonight was fun, and wished Kat would have been here hanging out in the evening grass, talking with everyone and listening to the music. Tomorrow is an uphill ride into Telluride, then a day off!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 2 – Creede to Gunnison - 106mi

Two words for today – Epic. Brutal. Rode first 20 miles in a loose paceline, after that Gregg and Julie rode off ahead. Wouldn’t see them again until camp tonight. Jen and I rode together some, but usually Jen was way out front, then me, then John somewhere behind, and we’d all catch up at the aid stations. Brutal climb up Slumgullion Pass (11,530'). A woman crashed in front of me on a descent – she was wobbling, out of control, then her right foot somehow came unclipped, then she started screaming that she was going to crash – she disappeared around a curve and lost it on some scree on the outside edge of the curve. She was pretty banged up – plenty of road rash but no broken bones. Lucky considering the vertical rock face she could have crashed straight into. She’ll be gun-shy for a while I bet. Got rained on, then hailed on. Made the stupid mistake of not putting additional clothes on until after I was *already* cold – I couldn’t warm up when I finally reached an aid station, and couldn’t stop shaking even after wrapped myself in a borrowed blanket. John caught me at that aid station, he decided to sag it in, I decided to keep going in an attempt to warm up. I learned later that fully 2/3 of the riders sagged it in today. Was shivering majorly, the shivers were transferred through my arms to the handlebars making for interesting bike handling until the pedaling warmed me back up, and I could feel the heat spreading from my upper legs on up my body. Twelve mile descent at about 30mph was welcome relief. Mileage approx 104 miles, average speed 13.8mph. Slow, but I did it. Groin was very sore. Got a massage, ate dinner at a grocery store (all restaurants in this small town were filled up.) Had a late hot shower. Tired, but had a tough time falling asleep.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Day 1 – Pagosa Springs to Creede - 65mi

Climb out of Pagosa over Wolf Creek Pass (10,850') was a real bitch. I’m riding a 32 front/12-26 rear cluster, but this climb seemed much longer/harder than Vail Pass which I had done on a 42 front/12-23 rear cluster back in 2002. Of course back in 2002 I was fairly fit, and in the middle of Ironman training. This year, not so much – I’ve just spend about 6 weeks off the bike trying to recover from what appears to have been a hip flexor strain. The descent down the back side felt quite hairy – I’m not accustomed to 45mph descents, and my front wheel seemed to shimmy a little when I’d brake. Was very cashed out by the time we finally rolled into Creede. All the grassy spots were taken, so we ended up in the gravelly outfield, using rocks for tent stakes. John and Jen had taken off to get coffee w/out telling anyone – Julie was concerned, and I was miffed because we hauled all John’s stuff to the campsite to save him a spot while he was out jacking around. Giant blueberry cheesecake icecream wafflecone. Well deserved nap. Ride on the vintage firetruck shuttle. Silver mining museum. Way tired. LONG line for the shower trailer. Windy.