Registration for RTR 2009 opened today and the route was announced in this morning's Denver Post. According to the article, the 2009 route loops over McClure Pass (elev. 8755) to Hotchkiss, along the north rim of the Black Canyon to Gunnison, over Monarch Pass (elev. 11,312) to Salida, up the Arkansas River valley to Leadville, over Independence Pass (elev. 12,095) to Aspen, and back to Glenwood Springs. This is the first time RTR has gone over McClure Pass. I've ridden Monarch (RTR 2005) and Independence (RTR 2007) but not McClure.
RTR 2007 was a loop starting and ending in Frisco. This year we'll start and end in Glenwood Springs, which is an awesome location at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River with hot springs, river rafting and a tram ride with awesome views that goes up to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
I'm also looking forward to returning to Salida, but not the ride from Salida to Leaville. It's 60+ miles (all uphill) along the Sawatch Range, which boasts 15 of Colorado's 14ers. The views are awesome but the problem is that Salida is just too much fun. Four years ago on my first ride we closed down The Vic and I struggled the next day with dehydration. I ended up in the ER at the hospital (conveniently located across the street from Leadville High School, the overnight campground) with a swollen uvula (yes, men do have uvulas). I thought I had strep throat, but the official diagnosis was hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen saturation. My pulse ox reading was 87% when I got to the hospital (normal is around 95%). But the doctor hooked me up to oxygen and "topped off my tank" so I could finish the ride into Breckenridge the next day.
More on Ride the Rockies 2009 later. It's a beautiful sunny day in Denver and thinking about Ride the Rockies has me itching to get out on the open road.