Today was the toughest ride of the tour. It was 93 miles long and had 8895 ft of climb in it. We reached an altitude on 9666 ft. When I did this ride in 2010 there was 10 miles of very bad construction which was all very rough gravel., They had that done and now we a very nice shoulder the entire way. However it was 95 F at the summit so it was a very hot climb today. During the climb I drank 11 twenty four ounce bottles of Gatorade.
We started 15 minutes early so luggage was loaded at 6:00 Am rather than 6:15Am. Then down to breakfast. It was Ken C’s birthday so we sang happy birthday to him at breakfast. Then it was down the road. Ken and I we more or less together most of the day even though we weren’t riding together. I would pass him and then he would pass him.
We reached the start of the 25 mile climb at 31 miles into the ride even though there had been some huge hills before the climb. The climb is not really all that steep at 4% however it is unrelenting. In the hot sun it was a tough grind. For the first 15 miles of the climb you are winding your way up this very steep narrow canyon where the walls are probably 3000 feet above you (just my guess as compared to the Grand Canyon). It was very pretty and I would recommend this to any one who has a car. After you get out of the canyon you wind your way up through pine forest which ultimately turns to alpine meadow. The summit is right at the tree line. All of the wild flowers were out and it was so beautiful. The aroma from the alpine meadows was truly great. You could almost hear July Andrews singing.
After the summit at 56 miles we still had 37 miles to ride. I guess I knew that there were lots more ride but the hills after the summit did me in. I felt like a million bucks at the summit. However by the time I reached the 70 mile mark I was done. So I stopped at the final water stop and drank a couple of bottles of Gatorade and ate my snack of peanuts and Ju-Jubes. Feeling better I was on my way.
I had dropped Ken on the climb but sitting for 30 minutes at the water stop enabled him to catch up. Once we got to town I purchased a couple of quarts of chocolate milk. One for myself and one for Ken’s birthday gift. Ed W got him a banana he had brought from breakfast.
We just got in and got the tents set up before a huge thunder storm moved in. Looks like we are in for a good hammering tonight.
Happy Birthday Ken! Glad you are with me on the trip.