The Elephant Rock ride begins and ends in Castle Rock, Colorado but is named for an Elephant-shaped rock supposedly somewhere near Palmer Lake, Colorado (one of the stops along the ride). I kept looking but never saw the elusive Elephant Rock. And I asked a number of other 7,000 riders and nobody seemed to know which rock was THE rock.
I searched Google and found an Elephant Rocks State Park in Missouri, a picture of Elephant-shaped rock, Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, Elephant Rock Nature Park in Oklahoma and even le Rocher aux Elephants (the Elephant Rock) in the Republic of Chad in central Africa...but no Elephant Rock in Colorado (like most people, I only checked the top 10 listings in Google -- who has time to sort through the other 391,990 hits for "Elephant Rock"?).
Back to the ride...according to my Garmin Edge 705, I completed the 65.62-mile route in 4:39:45 -- an average of 14.1 miles per hour. Not particularly fast, but I was happy with the time given the 5,426 feet of elevation gain (most of which was into the wind headed south). And I was just happy to be back on my bike with thousands of other crazy cyclists.
I wasn't happy about all of the riders who insisted on riding 3, 4, and 5 abreast on Hwy 83 as we headed south out of Castle Rock. Hwy 83 is a state highway with a fair amount of traffic. State Troopers traveling the route for our safety had to constantly remind riders to move right and let traffic pass. It's no wonder some drivers hate cyclists and there have been several attempts to ban or limit large rides in Colorado.
After the ride I hosted a BBQ at my house for my friends from Team DFL (my Ride the Rockies team). After burning 3,069 calories on the ride I was ready to refuel. When I got home I pulled the brisket off the smoker, where it had been slowly cooking since midnight the night before (for my instructions for smoking a brisket, check out Life is Good, Part II).
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.
Unfortunately Kris and Patty weren't able to ride E-Rock. Kris has been suffering from an "equilibrium" problem and can't ride (I didn't say she was dizzy...she did!). And Patty had a run-in with the pavement on Saturday that left her sporting 11 stitches in her chin...ouch! At least there were no broken bones, so she'll still be able to do Ride the Rockies. Kris, on the other hand, thinks she's going to have to sit out this year. It just won't be the same without her!
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!