Regardless, it's a great news feature on RTR from the perspective of a local community hosting the ride. Click on the link below to watch the segment...
Monday, June 23, 2008
Regardless, it's a great news feature on RTR from the perspective of a local community hosting the ride. Click on the link below to watch the segment...
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Day Six: Here I am in Almont, CO (elev. 8,018 ft) at the beginning of the climb up Cottonwood Pass. The pass opened on June 12, just in time for Ride the Rockies.
Day Six: At Taylor Park Reservoir (elev. 9,300 ft.) on the west side of the Continental Divide on the climb up Cottonwood Pass.
Day Six: The Beef vs. Pork showdown at Aid Station 4 (elev. 10,700 ft.) on the climb up Cottonwood Pass (beef won, of course).
Day Six: STILL on the climb up Cottonwood Pass. That's snow below...lots of it.
Day Six: A little free advertising in a seven foot tall snowbank on the side of the road up Cottonwood Pass (approx. elevation 11,500 ft.)
Day Six: At the summit of Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft.)...finally. It took me about five hours to complete the 39-mile, 4,108 ft. climb (including stops). It was cold on the summit but I hung around long enough to revel in the moment and get my picture taken with the summit sign (waiting in a long line of cyclists).
Day Seven: At the finish line in Breckenridge after the long ride across South Park from Buena Vista and over Hoosier Pass (I didn't stop long enough to take any pictures...it was too cold and windy).
So the big ride is over and I'm not anxious to climb back in the saddle to ride my bike again anytime soon. But it won't be long (Wednesday is bike to work day in Colorado and I plan to ride!). And I'm already looking forward to the announcement of the route for Ride the Rockies 2009!
Thanks to all of my friends and family who offered words of encouragement and prayed for my safety. I felt and needed both. It's good to be home safe and sound with my family today and breathing a little easier.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I just crossed the finish line of Ride the Rockies 2008. What a great ride. Tough, beautiful, painful, awesome and over. I'm glad to be done but sad that its over. .
More later. Time to say goodbye to my RTR friends.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I'm sitting in the Lariat Saloon in Buena Vista (pronounced byu-na by the locals) with Team Bar2Bar. Today's 75-mile ride over Cottonwood Pass was everything I expected it to be - long, steep and tough. I'm not sure the day off helped my legs. At times they responded to my brain's signal to speed up, other times they didn't. So I focused on enjoying the scenery as we rode up the pass on a dirt road that wound through a forest of evergreens and, eventually, snowbanks. Reaching the summit was awesome. The payoff.
A lot of people ask my why I do this. Reaching the summit of the highest point on the ride is why. That, and riding every mile. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you realize you did it. You reached the goal you trained hard for, rode hard for and endured pain for...its a really good feeling.
So tonight's the last night of Ride the Rockies 2008. One more long ride (69 miles) to get to Breckenridge. But first, we'll enjoy one more night on the town...such as it is. Buena Vista. The views from here may be good but the town itself isn't much to write home about. Its no Crested Butte or Telluride, that's for sure. Regardless, we'll find a way to have fun ;)
Our brief respite from riding is over and today we tackle the first of two long rides to the finish line in Breckenridge. The stay here was relaxing, fun and the weather was perfect. I protein-loaded last night with a tasty filet of beef tenderloin (tenderloin is not only the tenderest cut of beef, its also one of the 29 leans cuts). Its about time to climb back on the saddle and ride back down the valley to Gunnison and over Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista. This is the featured climb of the ride - over 4,000 ft. Of elevation gain. See you at the summit (elev. 12,126 ft.)!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Day Four: At the Summit of Dallas Divide, near the Ralph Lauren Ranch.
Day Four: Beef tenderloin on the grill at Jeri's house in Montrose.
Day Four: The bike security area in Montrose, CO, under a full moon (the baseball field).
Day Four: My "home" in Montrose.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
OK, so I finished the ride. But I didn't finish strong. The last 19 miles were pure torture. The slight tailwind shifted and became a strong headwind. We ended the day the way it began, struggling against the wind on a long, steady upgrade. Probably my least favorite thing to do...period!
But the longest day has ended and tomorrow is our day to rest up for the massive climb over Cottonwood Pass on Friday. Hallelujah!
Ride on (jusr not tomorrow).
Well, my prediction for todays ride has come true. The two early climbs killed my legs and I've been spinning along at high RPMs (but not much power) ever since. Now the heat, miles, and time in the saddle is taking its toll. Only 19 miles to Crested Butte, but its all uphill. Fortunately there's a slight tailwind. I love tailwind!
We just reached the top of Blue Mesa Summit. Somewhere along the climb we passed the halfway mark for Ride the Rockies 2008. By my count, we've ridden about 220 miles and have 215 to go.
This morning's climb up Cerro and Blue Mesa was TOUGH. We've already climbed 3,367 ft. - a steady 6-8 percent grade - in 28.36 miles. To complicate matters, we rode into a strong headwind for the first 12 miles. I hate headwind.
Now we drop to Gunnison before making the final 30-mile climb to Crested Butte. The SAG wagon (aka "Van-O-Shame") will be picking up a lot of riders today!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I'm sitting on the bleachers at Montrose High School watching a full moon rise over the mountains. It's a great end to a great day.
I had a good ride today. Legs felt good. Seat felt fine (except for the 10-mile stretch of "chip and seal" road with loose gravel).
I had an even better dinner at my old friend Jeri's house in Montrose. Beef tenderloin, twice-baked potatoes, and a blue-cheese, pine nut, raspberry vinaigrette salad. All this sitting on a huge deck overlooking the valley and mountains. It was a rare evening of civilization in the midst of a week of porta potties, communal showers and aid station food (bananas, oranges, Gatorade and water).
And now I'm headed back to my tent to rest up for tomorrow's 92-mile climb to Crested Butte.
Just reached the summit of Dallas Divide (elev. 8,715). I hammered up the pass averaging 16.5 over the first 31.32 miles. Just enjoyed lunch (pork carnitas, of course) with an amazing view of Mt. Sneffles (14er). Lots of downhill from here (with some more climbing mixed in).
Oh yea, the cleaning crew showed up at Poacher's Pub around 9:00 am and found my debit card lying on the floor. So, I got a late start and didn't see any other riders until just before Aid Station #1. Have passed many since then so am not DFL! Time to fly.
I got up at 5:00 a.m. this morning after turning in early last night. Thought I'd get an early start on the 65-mile ride to Montrose to beat the heat. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here until Poacher's Pub opens in the Mountain Village. We had dinner at Poacher's last night and I left without my VISA debit card. Bummer.
So I packed up my tent, dropped off my bag at the luggage truck and rode into town to catch the gondola up to Mountain Village. On the way up I met a guy who told me Poacher's owner's wife, Katie, works at Telluride Ski and Golf Club. So I went there and met a guy named Matt who informed me that Katie doesn't work there anymore. Bummer again. But then when I explained my predicament he laughed and said Adam (the owner) and Katie (his wife) are neighbors. So Matt is working on tracking Katie down to see if Adam can come and retrieve my card.
Fortunately, Telluride Mountain Village is a beautiful spot and the coffee shop was open, so I'm sitting outside Poacher's enjoying my latte as the morning sun rises over the mountains. Sometimes we get in such a hurry to get on to the next town that we don't take time to enjoy the view. Not today. Not until I get my card back, at least. Then it will be rock and roll time.
I may truly be DFL today!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Well, we made it to Telluride and it was a heck of a ride. Turns out it wasn't all downhill from the Summit. I was thinking of Cottonwood Pass. In fact, we climbed another 700 ft. in the last 15 miles for a total of 4,539 ft. of elevation gain.
According to the Edge, I burned 4,375 calories so I rode straight to Smugglers Brewpub and pounded a bacon cheeseburger. Now I feel like a nap but have to head back to the school and set up my tent and get cleaned up. I'm not looking forward to getting back on the bike and peddling .7 miles back to the school. That won't feel good. Wonder if they'd just let me sleep here tonight...
We just reached the Summit of Lizard Head Pass. According to my Garmin Edge 705, we climbed 3,837 ft. In 62.62 miles (almost all uphill). It was a gorgeous ride. Just had some awesome pork carnitas from my favorite vendor on the ride. I'm a happy man! Now the fun part - 15 miles downhill to Smugglers Brewpub in Telluride.
Just rolled into Aid Station #1 on day two in Dolores, Colorado. Its a beautiful setting in a canyon along the Dolores River. The weather is perfect but heating up fast. Hopefully it will stay cool as we climb Lizard Head Pass. I'll check back in at the top!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I made it safely and rather swiftly from Durango to Cortez. After the initial climb the route was mostly downhill. Thank goodness, because we were riding into a stiff headwind.
According to my Garmin Edge 705, I averaged 14.74 mph and burned 2,184 calories. Time to go eat! Its hot and windy in Cortez this afternoon. Maybe I'll go find a nice, cool establishment for a burger and a beer!
Its a beautiful morning in Southern Colorado. I just rolled into Aid Station #1 after an 11-mile climb out of Durango on Hwy 160 towards Cortez. I feel great. Slept great, too. It was cold out but I was cozy and warm in my Marmot mummy bag.
Time to rock on to Cortez to get a good campsite and find a nice spot to lay out and enjoy the sunshine.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The bus FINALLY made it to Durango around 7:30 tonight. I reassembled my bike in record time, threw up my tent as the sun faded over the mountains and headed to Steamworks to meet up with my friends from Team DFL and Bar2Bar. Just had a Beef Philly with pablano peppers (so much better than green bell peppers!). Yum. The menu says they can substitute chicken for no additional cost. WHAT?? They should knock $5 off the price ($9) if you order chicken. Give me a break. Chicken is fowl.
Beef. It's what's for dinner on Ride the Rockies!
We just loaded up our bikes on a semi and boarded our bus from Denver International Airport to Durango, Colorado. I'm not looking forward to the 7.5 hour bus ride. We won't get in until after dark so It'll be an adventure finding a campsite and setting up my tent tonight. Guess that's what I get for missing the deadline to sign up and getting on the last bus to Durango! Fellow Team DFL member Kent did the same thing, so we're both on the bus with people who flew in from around the country for the big ride. At least we're on our way, but we will truly be DFL in Durango tonight! And we've already made some new friends, which is my favorite part of the ride.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The 75-mile ride from Crested Butte to Buena Vista looks to be the second toughest day on RTR08. We drop for the first 18 miles but then begin the steady ascent over Cottonwood Pass -- the highest point of the ride (12,126 ft. above sea level). Unbelievably, Cottonwood Pass just opened yesterday (June 12)!.
Check out these photos of the snow at the top of the pass taken yesterday by a local resident (at left). Lots of snow...and apparently the temp was below freezing with strong winds. Please let it warm up this week!
Cold or not, reaching the summit of Cottonwood Pass will be the highlight of the trip. I love the feeling you get when you make it to the top. The goal. The accomplishment. The reward: enjoying a good lunch of pork carnitas from my friends who run one of the food wagons that follow the ride. I won't worry about eating too much this day, because the rest of the ride careens downhill for the final nine miles into Buena Vista, the final night of the trip.
One week from tomorrow RTR08 will end on a 67-mile ride from Buena Vista to Breckenridge crossing Trout Creek Pass (elev. 9,346 ft.) and Hoosier Pass (elev. 11,542 ft.). This will be toughest final day of my four Ride the Rockies. Fortunately we end on a 10-mile "victory coast" into Breckenridge.
But I don't want to think about the ride being over before it has even begun! Tomorrow morning (Saturday) I will catch a bus from Denver International Airport to Durango, Colorado. My bike is packed and now I need to go pack the rest of my gear for the week. We each get one bag they'll carry from stop to stop. One bag for my tent, sleeping bag, clothes, shoes, etc. -- so packing for the week is a challenge!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The silver lining to this cloudy day is that we get a day off in Crested Butte to recover and rest up for the climb over Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft.) on day six.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The point is that I skipped a day so I am going to take the easy route and copy and paste the information on Montrose, Colorado from the official Ride the Rockies website section on the host communities...
Montrose, CO * Elevation 5,806 ft.The scenery in Montrose is second to none. With the San Juan Mountains and the Grand Mesa within view and the Uncompahgre Plateau and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park just a short drive away, breathtaking views are abundant. Downtown Montrose houses a number of options for visitors to explore local history, including the Montrose County Historical Museum in the former Rio Grande Train Depot. Montrose is ideally located in the heart of the Uncompahgre Valley wine region. Visitors to the area can also enjoy a number of scenic golf courses, antique shops, and extraordinary fishing.
Second, I feel compelled to explain how to pronounce "Uncompahgre." On my first visit to Montrose on Ride the Rockies in 2005 (my first RTR), I struggled with this important detail. So I turned to the experts. According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, the pronunciation is un-come-pah-gree.
Regardless, it's a beautiful area of Colorado. In 2005, we rode from Delta to Montrose the day after we climbed Grand Mesa, the largest Mesa on Earth (about 500 square miles), rising 5,000 feet above the surrounding valleys. Riding up Grand Mesa was the single toughest one-day ride I have ever completed (over 500 of the 2,000 riders that year didn't complete the ride). We started in Grand Junction at 5,000 ft. above sea level and climbed to 10,800 ft. and then dropped back down to 4,953 ft. in Delta. Finally, day three looks like fun. But after riding 126 miles in the previous two days, I'm sure it won't be easy. But we start with a mostly downhill cruise for the first 16 miles, then climb over 1,550 feet over the next 16 miles to cross the Dallas Divide (elevation 8,970) before dropping all the way to Montrose (elevation 5,800).
I look forward to retunring to Montrose. I seem to remember having fun there in 2005 :)
Monday, June 9, 2008
The 49-mile ride to Cortez should take about four hours with rest stops (and depending how late we stay at Steamworks in Durango Saturday night!).
After arriving at Montezuma-Cortez Middle School on Sunday afternoon, I plan to settle in at the New Belgium Beer Garden at the Cortez Cultural Center (open from 3:00-9:30 p.m.) and chill out to Ralph Dinosaur and the Fabulous Volcanoes (on stage from 6:30-9:30).
Seriously. Billed as a "musician, gifted entertainer and armchair philosopher," Ralph reportedly "always brings the party and good times." Now, I don't know Ralph, but gauging by the photos on his website (at left), I can see why they say, "Ralph continues to surprise even his most faithful fans...if you think you know Ralph, stand by to be amazed."
The Day two ride from Cortez to Telluride looks, well...sickening. After five relatively flat miles we hit a steep five mile climb from 6,201 ft to around 7,200 ft. We do get a brief stint of downhill to spin the lactic acid out of our legs before we embark on a 45-mile, 3,000+ ft. uphill climb from around 7,000 ft. to the top of Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 ft. Apparently the rock formation visible from the pass once resembled the head of a lizard until, "one night a loud rumble filled the area and local residents thought there had been an earthquake. However the next day it became apparent that there had been a large rock fall at the peak and it...lost it's lizard like appearance."
The last 15 miles are mostly downhill but there are several steep climbs that will be painful enough given the long climb and the toll of peddling over 120 miles in two days. I have a feeling we'll be exhausted rolling into Telluride, but the beauty of this mountain resort town should quickly refresh our spirit and the wide selection of restaurants should be sufficient to refuel our bodies.
I hope La Piazza del Villagio and Rustico have stocked up on pasta for the week. Italian restaurants are popular places along the route. After burning 3,000-4,000 calories, everybody wants to load up on carbs. But of course I'll be looking for a good steak, or maybe a veal piccata. Carbs are good short term fuel, but protein, especially quality proteins like beef (and veal) help repair damage to muscles after intense workouts and strenghten your immune system.
Actually, I'll probably skip the lines at the Italian restaurants and head to Tommy's Telluride for a pint of lager and a butter burger!
Stay tuned to tomrrow's preview of the route from Telluride to Montrose...a short little 65-mile ride over the Dallas Divide.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
But this week I made a quantum leap. Riding to work Tuesday I averaged 17 mph and turned around and did 14.5 on the way home. I was pumped. I had "found my legs" again and not a moment to soon, with Ride the Rockies less than two weeks away. But then I kicked it up another notch. After taking Thursday off to rest my legs, I rode to and from work yesterday (25 miles each way) averaging 17.5 on the way in and 15.6 on the way home!
Dr. Loucks (at left) was pleased with what he saw on the X-ray -- a large mass of new bone forming in the gap between the shattered pieces of my clavicle! If you look closely at the X-ray below, you can see an oval cloud of white bone cells. This is new bone. Lots of it. As Dr. Loucks said, my clavicle is going to be as large as my femur (the most voluminous and strongest bone in the body)!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Well, today I received a copy of a letter Brad sent to a woman who has apparently "taken over the file" from the former adjuster (not sure if she still works there, quit or was fired for incompetence, but in any event she is no longer in charge of my file). It seems the new adjuster has wisely asked for time to review the file before we file suit. As Brad said in his letter...
As we discussed, I am willing to wait a week in order to allow you an opportunity to review this file. If you will accept liability for purposes of our settlement negotiations, I will not file the lawsuit, but instead, work with you in an effort to reach a fair settlement of Daren’s claims.If not, we will proceed with the lawsuit. Or, as Brad said more eloquently...
On the other hand, if you intend to maintain the liability denial, or if I do not hear from you, I will proceed with a lawsuit against your insured.Hopefully cooler (wiser) heads will prevail and we can avoid a lawsuit. Stay tuned...
Monday, June 2, 2008
Team DFL members Kris (our fearless, earless, rearless leader), Patty (faithful domestique) and Amy (team doctor) joined us after the ride. Kent (official Serotta test rider) called to report that he was on his couch with an icepack on his knee and was not getting up.
So, we're looking to change our name from Team DFL to Team Accident Prone. First, Amy went down while training in April '07 and broke her wrist, causing her to pull out of RTR. Later, Canada Jane withdrew with a nagging injury. Then Kent did a sommersault over a car that decided to turn in front of him as he hurtled down Rabbit Ears Pass on day one of last year's ride, dislocating his shoulder and tearing up his knee. Next, I pulled a Kent and broke my collarbone on that fateful day last September. Now Kris is out of commission and Patty has some funky new hairs on her chinny chin chin.
Nitin/Jay, please be careful out there!