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!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ride the Rockies 2015 Days 2-3: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

The view from the LeValley Ranch hunting lodge was a bit ominous this morning.
I woke this morning to the sound of thunder. How far off I sat and wondered. Actually it was the sound of rain on the roof of the hunting lodge at LeValley Ranch. But most likely this meant our bikes were getting wet in the bike lockup area 7 miles away in Hotchkiss. At least we were warm and dry thanks to the generous invitation from my rancher friend Robbie LeValley to stay at her ranch's hunting lodge, Team BEEF was treated to a Homestead Natural Meats steak dinner, hot showers and beds last night. It was a welcome respite after yesterday's ride!

The Homestead Beef steaks were amazing. Ribeyes, no less. Thanks, Robbie!
Yesterday was tough. As tough as I remember from my first Ride the Rockies 10 years ago (and I'm 10 years older!). The day started with a 30-mile gradual (1-2% grade) climb out of Grand Junction to Mesa, including some nice bike path and a few miles on I-70. But once you get to Mesa, actually just before Mesa, the climb ceased to be gradual. The next 20 miles are all steep (6-8% grade) except for some short stints of relative flat (2-4%) near the top of Grand Mesa. Few climbs I've done in Colorado (and I've done all the major passes and Mt. Evans) are as relentless.

Dinner at the ranch was the perfect way to recover from the Day Two ride. From left: Woody, Flip Flop Jenny, The Banister and Paul the Pilot 1
But the really tough part of the day came after a fast 20 mile descent into Cederedge, Colorado. The final 20 miles of our 95-mile day rolled through some beautiful cattle country but included a couple of nasty climbs on tired, stiff legs. At this point in the ride, everything hurts -- feet, back, shoulders, hands and ... well, you can probably guess. I think the ride director has sadist tendencies and likes to inflict punishment on others. :)

Today's ride wasn't much easier. Well, the ride was not as tough but the combination of rain and cold at the start, a nasty headwind riding up the valley, tired legs and other physical issues (see above), it was hard. One of the toughest days I've had on a bike. But it's done and tomorrow is a short 30-mile ride to Crested Butte. Planning to get there before noon and allow plenty of time to relax and rejuvenate for the longest day of the ride on Thursday.

Overlooking Morrow Point Lake. Beautiful views today but much pain to experience them!
Got here to Gunnison and enjoyed a couple of Black Butte Porters and a Guacamole Burger with bacon and pepper jack cheese at the Gunnisack Cowboy Bistro Restaurant and Bar. Got to the campground just in time to set up my tent before a rain/hailstorm swept through. Think I'm going to stay right here inside my new tent, warm and dry, for the rest of the night.

Good night, sleep tight and ride on!


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