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!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ride the Rockies 2012 Will Be Another Epic Adventure

I woke yesterday suddenly, the way you do when your eyes pop open and your brain is fully awake with a thought. Mine was, "Today is the day we find out if we were selected in the Ride the Rockies lottery!" I immediately jumped up and checked my e-mail. Nothing yet, but it was still early in the day.

I had no idea when to expect the e-mail so I checked throughout the day getting more anxious as the hours went by. But then my friend Al, who I met on my first Ride the Rockies in 2005, posted a link to the Ride the Rockies Roster on my Facebook page saying, "I see your name on the acceptance list. You're going." So of course I clicked the link and there it was:

Then the adrenaline rush hit. I was so pumped I couldn't focus on anything else. I'm in! After doing RTR for five straight years, from 2005 to 2009, I took two years off but I am back and Ready to Rock in 2012.

I remember finding out the news in a very different way back in 2005. I lived in KC at the time and my friend Dave, a former neighbor who had moved to Colorado, called and said, "I'm registering for Ride the Rockies. Are you in?" "I'm in," I said, giving it little thought. I really didn't think about it at all until I received a big envelope in the mail a month later. "Congratulations!" I read, and that's as far as I got before I thought, "Oh my (or similar exclamation), what have I gotten myself into?!"

Dave and I leaving his house for the starting line of Ride the Rockies

RTR 05 after crossing Grand Mesa
(in the background)
That first year was an amazing experience. As I told the Denver Post after the Day 2 climb to the top of Grand Mesa, "This is the toughest thing I have ever done." It was brutal: 91 miles and 6,000 feet of vertical gain in 90 degree weather. One-fourth of the 2,000 riders failed to complete the climb that day. But I made it to the top and finished all 405 miles of the ride that year.

Crossing the finish line in Breckenridge, after tackling Monarch Pass (11,312 ft.), experiencing Salida for the first time (and ending up in the ER in Leadville the next day with "altitude sickness"), and finally crossing over Fremont Pass (11,318 ft.) into Summit County, was the greatest feeling of accomplishment up to that point in my life. Even after finishing five RTRs, three Ironman 70.3 triathlons and riding to the top of the highest paved road in North America to the summit of Mt. Evans (14,240 ft.), it still ranks right up there in the top five.

I look forward to crossing the finish line in Ft. Collins on June 15. But this year I want to enjoy the ride to the fullest extent possible. My goal is to be in the best cycling shape of my life by June 9 so starting today I am kicking it up a notch, doubling my usual time on my Cyclops Fluid 2 indoor trainer to one hour. Hopefully I'll be able to get back out on the road soon and start logging some serious miles in the saddle. My goal is to ride 1,500 miles in the next 14 weeks. That's awfully hard to do riding inside my house going nowhere!

Ride on...


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