A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008 Preview - Day 2: Cortez to Telluride

Day one of Ride the Rockies 2008 takes us from Durango to Cortez, Colorado, a.k.a. Mesa Verde Country. Cortez was the starting line of RTR06, so they should be well prepared to handle 2,000 riders to the town of 13,401 (that's a 15% increase overnight!).

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.

Ride on!


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