If you have been waiting patiently for the end of the cliffhanger, I hope my "season premier" post doesn't disappoint! In any event, welcome back :)
When I left off at the end of last season we had arrived on day five in Salida, Colorado. The next day was to be one of the shortest and easiest of the ride, a 60-mile mostly downhill cruise to Canon City (with one nasty little 2-mile, 10-15% grade climb up the south rim of the Royal Gorge). But forest fires near Canon City were threatening to end the ride prematurely. The thing about riding in the mountains is there are often a limited number of options to get from point A to point B. But the ride organizers were diligently working on options to reroute the ride.
|It was a beautiful evening in Salida and the band Afrolicious rocked the party in Riverside Park.|
"No way," was my initial response. "I'm out," said a lot of riders (I heard estimates that as many as half the 2,000 riders either ended in Salida or took the alternate bus ride to Canon City). But the more we talked it over (and the more beer we consumed), the more the prospect of making history grew in appeal. "It will be epic," became the mantra for the rest of the night as Woody and I decided we would indeed do the ride.
|I decided to ride "Woody style" on the epic 95-mile Day 6!|
Day 6 was painful. One of the toughest I've experienced in my 7 RTRs. At the same time, it was one of the most scenic rides I've done in Colorado with breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) range. As much as I was hurting that day I never regretted the decision we made. And the margaritas at lunch in Westcliffe helped ease the pain! :)
While sitting at lunch we decided we should reward ourselves with a hotel room in Canon City, if there was one to be found. We guessed there might be rooms available with last minute cancellations from the riders who dropped out, and we were right. My travel agent (wife Leslie) was able to find us a cheap room at the American Inn motel right on the main drag near the school and the street party.
It was perfect. After celebrating our accomplishment with a few cold ones at the beer tent we hit the sack relatively early. The motel didn't have many amenities but beds have ever felt more comfortable!