Posts Tagged ‘ Steamboat Springs ’

What Rabbit Ears? – Day 5

As each day progresses it’s a bit harder to get out of bed & climb on the bike knowing what lays ahead. I was a little anxious last night knowing the climb over Rabbit Ears pass awaited plus a full day in the saddle.
We were pleasantly greeted with temperatures in the mid 40’s. Unlike yesterday where very few rolled out early, I would say most folks left way early today. It was a fairly neutral 5 miles before heading into the pass. I know I’m fatigued because I can no longer read a map properly. I was under the assumption that the first rest stop was at mile 8 atop the first pass. Well it turns out the 2,500+ climb went until mile 14! Although it dragged on, I felt pretty solid upon reaching the top, but I was soaked with sweat. I was hopeful to beat my wife & kids to the top, but they had already passed on their way home.
So I headed out for the second part of Rabbit Ears Pass. And this is where it gets funny. I know the local Colorado readers will laugh heartily. See I assumed the two passes were the “rabbit ears.” So I texted my mother in law when I made the first ear. She responded what ear? Little did I know there was a rock formation at the top which were indeed the ears. When approaching it, I thought it looked like a great photo opp. Another rider asked if I wanted him to take my picture with the ears. I said “what do you mean? I thought the two passes were the ears?” It was the source of good chuckles from nearby riders.
All week we have enjoyed the climbs because of the amazing views and unreal descents. However today things were different. We started into a headwind on the descent off rabbit ears which didn’t end till mile 52 rest stop. I was in a serious pain cave during those 30 miles like most riders. About mile 45 someone had spray painted on the road “Live STRONG.” Wow. I had neglected to think about those who I was riding for. This was enough to lush me to the next rest stop.
We had logged over 300 miles and my body was really pissed at me. I began to really question my motives & driving force to be out here with the wind we were facing. I grabbed a snack & more water while overhearing other riders mention we were about to turn & get some relief from the wind. Ok I thought, if the wind isn’t in our face I can do this.
Not only was it not in out face, but we were blessed with a strong tailwind for a while. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I pushed it. I was holding 25mph for quite a while & quasi enjoying life again.
We finished out the last stretches into Granby through a beautiful canyon & some rolling hills. But not before one last nasty little climb heading up to the school.
It was a relief to get in, and be done with the final long day. Now to mentally prepare for the final day of the tour with one last mountain climb. So here’s me & my angry body checking out, going to get some recovery food. Seeya in Georgetown tomorrow afternoon.

Bring the Pain: Day 3

From the stories I’ve heard of years past, we’ve been extremely fortunate with the weather this year for the ride. The early morning riders today were surprised with a light rain shower leaving Edwards. I decided to wait till the small cloud past and rolled out just after 7 a.m.
We had looked at the weather the night before, and once we rolled out our fears were confirmed. We would have a headwind for most of the 80 mile day. Moods were a little grime as we began our first climb of the day. But getting to do a fun descent is always a just reward for climbing. Things only got tougher as we headed into the second & longer climb. Having a headwind while climbing can just be demoralizing. We finally finished with another awesome descent, but not before a few more short climbs into the next rest stop.
Lots of riders were pleased with the food offerings at the halfway rest stop (especially the homemade pie), but I decided to press on to the next stop. I had to spend some extra time so the bike mechanic angels could adjust my deraillur & fix my left cleat which wasn’t clipping in. Mile 52 was a pinnacle point in the ride for me today. I was tired, my body fatigued by multiple days of tough riding, and my spirit was just generally low and knew there were almost 30 miles left. Fortunately I was in cell range and texted my wife my status. She responded with “dig deep, finish strong, finish for us.” My bike was ready so I ate a banana & headed out.
It was challenging for the first few miles finding the strength to press through the wind. I caught a pace-line for a few miles which eased the pressure. Then the drive hit me. Thinking about my wife’s text & the fact my family was waiting in Steamboat Springs my inner competitor & triathlete nature came out. I got in my drops, hit the big ring and started laying out bodies on the route. I have no idea how many riders I passed the last 20 miles but it was a lot.
Looking at the route profile, you would have expected the last part of the day to be a nice gradual downhill ride into town. Not so much. It was filled with more than plenty rolling hills to push everyone to the brink. About 10 miles left and still mashing the gears I angrily slammed one final Gu. Normally I take my time rolling the package to make sure I get all the gel out, not this time, one big squeeze & the package was back in the bento box. I could feel the presence of a rider on my back wheel but didn’t know who it was. At the top of one roller he pulled aside and said “man your pulling really strong, I’m just a 52 year old hanging on for dear life!” I replied that I was tired and anxious to see my family.
We finally made the approach into Steamboat & over to the high school. I rounded the corner & saw my wife & daughter waving. At last. Well, almost. Once you arrived at the school, you still had to climb the hill & ride to the back lot where the bike corral was. After leaving my bike & grabbing my bag, I found my girls. There was a cute sign at Meadow Gardens & I told my daughter to sit in front so I could take her picture. Wanting to seize the opportunity I went beside her so my wife could take the picture. Before I walked up, my 5 year old daughter said “well just don’t touch me in the picture, you’re all dirty daddy.” Classic. She’s so much like her mother. 🙂
So here’s to a powerful and demanding third day. Excuse me while I go replace my calories at Beau Jo’s Mountain Bistro.