Ride the Rockies 2003

Buena Vista–Copper Mountain, 59 miles (June 21)

[Elevation Profile]

It was a glorious day after the storm. Blue skies, yellow sun. Couldn't ask for a better ending. It was the right time to end too. The ride was taking its toll on us. I was starting to get worn down. The sleep wasn't as restful as it should be. But, this was it. A tough ride, but the last one.

It was going to be a steady climb through most of the ride, with some wicked sections. It was a calm day, and the roads were nice. Everyone was in high spirits. I flew along fairly quickly.

There was some beautiful scenery on either side, and I stopped often to take pictures. I ate lunch at a rather hippie-looking place in Leadville. Very sandals-and-granola. Anyway, we all left Leadville thinking, 12 more miles. The steepest climb was all that was left.

Once again, I latched on to various people along the way. The father and his nine-year-old daughter were climbing along on their tandem. I was constantly going ahead of them, and then stopping to rest. At some point, my riding style was wearing me out. So when I stopped to take pictures, they went ahead, and I never caught up. But there were others, and we all eventually made our way there.

There was a small turnoff, and then a steep half-mile section that would've taken us to the summit. There was some gorgeous scenery around as well. I stopped, ostensibly to take pictures, but I also needed the break, to psyche myself for the final climb. There were lots of others that did the same thing. We were all standing around, joking about how the pictures were why we all stopped.

I got back onto my bike, and began the last ascent. I had to stop half-way through, to rest a little. But soon enough, I was there! Much rejoicing was made. I stopped for lunch. The sandwich counter lady looked familiar. So I asked her, Have I worked for you before? Sure enough, she was the one whose stall we were all huddled under to escape the rain a few days ago.

The descent after that, was just incredible. It was steep. I had started the tour thinking that I wasn't here to set a personal speed record (previously 45 mph), but this was too easy. Even though, the scenery was really pretty, I stopped only once. The pace was intoxicating, and I didn't want to break it.

At some point, I said the hell with it, and decided to break my personal speed record. I had left my wallet in my pocket, and it was breaking my rhythm a little, but I still managed to clock at 48 mph. Woohoo! By the time the incline was levelling out, we had entered the resort. There were signs, and a long line of spectators cheering us to the finish. It felt great! I crossed the banner, and I was done. Elated. It felt good. It felt really good.

No time for dallying. We had to hit the road, and drive back home. So I wandered around the picnic area, looking around to find where I should pick up my certificate. There were bands playing, lots of food, and lots of schwag being given away. I found the place, filled out the survey, and picked up my certificate. I was done.

It was fun. I wouldn't mind doing it again.