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!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Rides the Rockies 2017 Days 4-5: Durango to Ridgeway to Montrose

We are waking up in Montrose, Colorado, after a great afternoon/evening street party. The ride yesterday -- Day 5 of Ride the Rockies 2017 and day six of riding for Team Beef/Bar2Bar -- was a short, 34-mile, mostly downhill cruise. It felt great and my legs definitely needed the opportunity to recover the epic Day 4 ride over three mountain passes covering 84 miles and more than 8,000 feet of elevation gain!
The official Team Bar2Bar stop in Montrose.

The locals were out in force at the street party in Montrose -- including my long time friend Jeri!
The Day 4 ride from Durango to Ridgeway was one of the toughest and most beautiful rides I have done in Colorado. The scenery was as breathtaking as the altitude!

Climbing three passes on one day, two over 10,000 feet and one over 11,000, took it out of me. Actually, I don't think I ever had it. Starting out in the morning it was freezing cold and I feel like my legs simply never warmed up.

45 Miles of winding roads, steep drop-offs and three passes!

The summit of Coal Bank Pass (1 of 3)

The summit of Molars Pass (2 of 3)

Overlooking Silverton, Colorado.

From whence we came!
Too many times on the climbs over Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain Passes I had to drop into the ultra granny gear I had the guys at YAWP Cyclery put on the Beef Bike for long, steep climbs. That made for a very long day. But I was able to slowly make my way over all three passes and enjoy the ultimate payoff, the descent down Red Mountain Pass into Ouray (you-ray), Colorado. It was so worth it!
Finally! After hours of climbing we reached the summit of Red Mountain Pass (3 of 3)

Glad we stopped at the Bear Creek Falls overlook on the descent of Red Mountain!

This is a screen grab of the video I took on the descent. I will post it when I have more bandwidth!
My assumption is this is why it is called Red Mountain Pass :)

It pays to remember to look back every once in a while on RTR! According to my friend Jeri this is Mt. Abrams.
Today's ride also features three climbs, although must less imposing nature, reaching a max altitude of 8,717 feet on Blue Mesa Summit before a long flat stretch around Blue Mesa Reservoir into Gunnison.

Hard to believe tonight will be the final night of the ride. First it feels like RTR will never get here. At times on the ride it feels like it will never end. Then suddenly it's over. But not yet! TIme to saddle up.

Ride on!


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