Posted by: Miriam | 01/09/2010

Colorado Peace Ride Day 2 – The Day My Heart Grew

After raining all night, the baseball field and the tent were soggy wet. My trusty trusty tent, however kept me nice and dry. This is good, as I the waterproofness would be seriously tested later this day. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, back to the beginning. Kristen and I broke camp and made breakfast. Ride breakfasts are the best. I get to cram a ton of food down my pie hole and not feel bad about it. My preride breakfast consists of 2/3 cup oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of rice protein powder, 1 heaping spoonful of creamy peanut butter, 1 heaping spoonful Nutella, raisins (or cranberries or dates or some sort of dried fruits), and chopped nuts (if available) like walnuts. And a large cup of coffee (even though I am decaf, I still like leaded coffee before I ride). Now that I’m fed and happy, it might have been time to actually get on the bike.

Day 2 consists of Ouray to Telluride. 48ish miles of rolling hills, one 8000′ pass, and maybe the most beautiful mountain scenery this side of Switzerland. I wish I was able to get some more photos but I was busy trying to ride, so need to use your imagination.
We rolled out of Ouray  and headed north to the tiny villa of Ridgway (yes, I spelled it correctly, there is no “e”). From town we begin to climb. My legs are a little tired and still working out the being on the bike so  figured I’d be sucking it up, up the hills. After a few miles of climbing I get warmed up and to the aid station. I promptly strip any extra clothing and put in a SAG wagon, what started off as a cool morning has heated up nicely. Food. Pictures. Time to hit the road.

Up the Dallas Divide I go. I feel rocket propelled. I cannot describe the beauty that surrounded me with any justice. To my left (or southish) is the Uncompahgre Range and National Forest, encompassing amazing vistas every time I looked that direction. I could barely keep my eyes on the road. During the minor slog up the pass (which was actually pretty mellow comparatively) I realized that I loved Southern Colorado. I lived less than 100 miles from the very spot I was in. My heart swelled as I realize I was home. SWCO was home, was more home than maybe any place I have ever lived. The sun basking down on me, the mountains calling me home, and the road smoothly rising up under me. It was one of those moments where life was still and perfect and unadulterated from the outside world.

Then the climbing gave way to descending. My beloved mountains dipping behind the hills I was flying down. So many miles of amazing roads stretched out.  Cruising at close to 35-40 for many miles spinning my legs around and around at 105rpm I flew. Shortly after the 2nd rest stop of my day, the road tilted up for the final part into Telluride. My legs were tired but not even the dump trucks whizzing by at 60mph could get  me down. I get to the camp site with a ginormous grin on my face. Its before noon, my ride time: 2 hours 54 minutes. Woohoo! I just did almost 50 miles in sub 3 hours by myself! I set up camp, and after Kristen had set hers up, we hopped the bus into T-Ride, looking for a 1/2 cow for myself, and a whole lotta soy product for her. Luckily no place in town served 1/2 a cow (probably for every body’s best interest). After our Linner we poked around town for a little bit. The clouds had formed and looked like it might rain a bit. I have rarely seen it rain as hard as it did that afternoon. The  streets were flooded, the creek that runs into the river through town had inundated one of the roads and some sidewalks with red silty water. Happily I had put the rain fly on my tent. We decided it was a cold dreary afternoon, and that called for hot chocolate and coffee (w/ me drinking the coffee). After waiting the rain out for several more hours, we moseyed back to the camp to find a ghost town. Kristen took a nap and I took the time to read and chat with folks.

Later that evening after the rain had stopped, those of us camping came out to watch the sunset to the west and beautiful rainbow to the east. Later that night I was up until the wee hours of the morning laughing, giggling, and guffawing with new found friends. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Coming up, Day 3: Telluride to Dolores. More mountains to scale, more chip seal to scare.

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