Green Tea Sherbert

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ride the Rockies 2011

Where: Crested Butte to Georgetown.

Ride the Rockies is a 6 day road bike tour through the back roads of Colorado's Rockies. The course is different every year, but I have never heard a negative review of the tour. It always travels through bucolic countryside and majestic mountain passes.

Why not? Eat, sleep, ride. I have more vacation than Sharon, what better way to use it.

I went all by myself.. and 2200 other cycling enthusiasts.

The Good
  1. Passing 300 people per day. Even Lance doesn't do that in a race. Many people were not in great shape, so I passed them quite easily.
  2. Beautiful views.
  3. The people in the towns were very welcoming.

  4. Road intersections were controlled to prioritize cyclists.
  5. All the riders had something in common
  6. Stories from Davis Phinney (first American to win a stage at the Tour de France 1986) and Ron Kiefel (first American to win a stage at any Grand Tour 1985)
  7. Reaching the tops of Cottonwood Pass, Rabbit Ears, Berthoud Pass and Tennessee Pass knowing it was mostly downhill after that.
  8. Staying in a hotel on Day 3 and 4. So nice to not have to wait in line to use the toilet or shower. So peaceful!
  9. Debating whether Lance is clean.

The Bad
  • Getting woken up at 5:30AM every day by other people's tent zippers.
  • Lining up to use the bathroom every morning.
  • Forgetting my Clif Bars one day and eating too many animal crackers.
  • Canucks losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and Vancouver hooligans rioting. Not so proud to be a Vancouverite.

The Beautiful
  • The views from almost anywhere on the ride.
  • Dr. Dave's Specialized Tarmac with Zipp 404s.
  • Kim's Team Astana BMC frame that was ridden in the Tour de France. It was decked out with Campy Record.
  • Parambir's immaculately creased turban. Somehow he kept the creases perfect despite it being in a duffle bag for a week.
  • Adiel's flourescent green bandages.
  • The smell of the burgers at the top of Berthoud Pass 11200 feet. The last pass we had to climb. It was below freezing at the top.

Daily Routine
  • Everyone would seem to get up (and wake me up) right around dawn (approx 5:30AM)
  • Eat a community provided meal of pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, fruit, coffee ($5-$10)
  • Line up for the toilet
  • Brush teeth
  • Determine weather for the day by looking at the sky and trying to figure out what the temperature would be like 3000 feet higher and 2 hours later in the day.
  • Change into what seemed to be sensible cycling gear
  • Pack up tent.
  • Load 50 lb bag onto truck while wearing cycling cleats
  • Get bike from bike corral
  • Ride for 4-5 hours
  • Arrive at new town often exhausted
  • Eat
  • Hurry to find a nice spot on the field where there were fewer snorers
  • Setup tent
  • Line up for shower. Usually there was just a short line.
  • Eat
  • Listen to RTR talk, go to beer garden, go to free yoga class, complain about how tough the climb was, complain about how sore your butt is.
  • Complain about how my face was peeling from sunburn despite re-applying waterproof SPF50 sunscreen.
  • Ice my sit bones.
  • Show off my cyclist farmer tan.
  • Eat

  • 6 days of riding
  • 409 miles or 658 km - Like cycling from Whistler to Portland, except with a lot more elevation gained.
  • Weight lost - 4 lbs
  • Elevation gained - 21604 feet
  • Highest Elevation reached 12,125 feet (Cottonwood pass)
  • 2200 people start which includes 100 people who didn't register.
  • 1800 people are estimated to finish.
  • Deaths - 2
  • Resuscitated- 1
  • New friends - 5
  • New friends named Dave - 3
  • Debates about whether Lance was clean - 7.
  • Household income of average cycling fan - 96k USD/yr.

Toughest Part
Having GI issues and having to spend 2 nights in outhouses, then having to ride the next day. Actually the toughest part was getting passed by a girl on a pink bike.

Would I do it Again?
Maybe. After I figure out my GI issues and figure out a more comfortable saddle. Next time in the south of France or Spain? Anyone?

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