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!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ride the Rockies 2013 Preview Day Four: Pagosa Springs to Alamosa

Day Four of Ride the Rockies (June 12) is longest mileage day on the 2013 ride and features a climb over Wolf Creek Pass, one of the major mountain passes in Colorado I have not ridden. Leaving Pagosa Springs we will climb the first 24 miles from 7,126 ft. to 10,850 ft. at the summit. Although the elevation profile makes it appear as though it is all downhill from there I know better.

At a rest stop somewhere in the San Luis Valley on RTR 2006 with Patti and Mr. Potato Head. The rest stop featured locally-grown baked potatoes with all the fixins. I hope they are back this year!
After truckin' on down the other side of Wolf Creek Pass the terrain flattens out into San Luis Valley, the largest intermountain valley in the world, covering more than 8,000 square miles at an elevation of just over 7,500 ft. above sea level. The final 50 miles into Alamosa will be mostly flat riding through potato and barley fields with no protection from the sun or wind. However, the views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the eastern border of the valley should provide some distraction (if we remember to look up!).

Crossing the New Mexico
state line in 2006
We rode up the valley from the south on the 2006 ride after an overnight in charming Chama, New Mexico (the only time Ride the Rockies route has strayed from the State of Colorado). By all accounts it one also one of the best stops in the history of the ride. I admit I was a little disappointed when the day three route was announced and it didn't include Chama. I would have welcomed a return visit to the charming town of 1,200 people, most of which showed up to welcome us, including the mayor.

Kris (with a K) adorns the mayor of Chama with a Team DFL tattoo
Riding north into Alamosa that year we spent most of that day battling a stiff headwind. And it was hot. I got into a small pace line for the final 30 miles or so which helped, until I had a flat with just under 10 miles to go and had to stop to change my tube. When I finally rolled into the overnight are a the fairgrounds I was sweaty, tired and unhappy. I don't have the fondest memories of Alamosa. It is my least favorite stop on the six RTRs I've completed. But there will be beer, so life will go on!

And so will the ride. Day Five we will head north out of Alamosa to Salida, my absolute favorite overnight stop on RTR :)

Ride on!


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