Posted by: Miriam | 14/09/2010

Colorado Peace Ride – Day 3 Mountains and Chip Seal or is that Mountains of Chip Seal?

Day Three of  the Colorado Peace Ride starts out in Telluride. On a chilly damp morning. Telluride sits in a bowl-shaped formation, really a cirque (for those of you rock nerds following along) that faces West. So with high mtns and cliff faces to the East it takes a little longer for the warm sun to reach the town. It was one of those days that nothing I could do could get my ass moving quickly. I got up early, but dawdled and drank too much coffee (this was the sheer and utter demise of being decaf). I packed and repacked. I futzed. Kristen took off. My friend from the ride, Paul and I were going to ride together, but he was tired of waiting and cold, so he took off.

So I finally got my slow self going and headed South up the mountain to Lizard Head Pass. The last of the big passes. It was early on in the 63 mile day, pre mile 20 and we started climbing from camp. Climbing without a warm up is frickin hard. I chug along towards the top. Its a cloudy morning and the sun is  just trying to peak through between the ridges and the clouds. This morning I put on the iPod with some music that had a good steady rhythm to keep my legs moving roundy round. I can feel the other 2 days in my legs, not painful, but just fatigue creeping in. I am a little worried about the spoke rattle I have already developed and the 30 miles of flat to rolling into Dolores. Ive heard there is a sizable headwind  and it is very beneficial to ride with other people. Currently I have no other people.

As I pass the 10,000′ sign, Im riding comfortably, well as much as you can after days in the saddle and trying to find oxygen at that elevation.  But I know Lizard Head Pass is 10,200′ ish. So I get super excited to think that I just scaled the last mountain. Well the last physical mountain. Luckily, I wasnt just hot-to-trot and the road was nothing worse than what we just rode up. It could have been a proverbial wall for those 200 feet. The feeling at the rest stop is jubilant a “hell yea we did this shit!” feeling in the air. This is the last major pass, we have 20 miles of downhill ahead of us and tomorrow is the final leg.

I bomb the downhill. I give ‘er everything I got, [captain]. The roads are wide open in decent shape and insanely low traffic. I set a new PR descending. The only thing I could want for would be some sun. Its still morning and the clouds are hanging low still. The R value of Spandex is close to -873, so needless to say, it was chilly. There are a group of old men on fancy bikes coming up behind me. I’ll be damned if I was going get passed if I could help it, so I tucked as tight as I could on the non-pedaling sections and hit the 53-12 gearing hard. Only just outside Rico did the OMoFB get me. When we all stopped for coffee (it was still like 1030, so yea coffee was in order)  in Rico they mentioned how they couldnt catch me on the downhills. Yes, my work here is done.

The 20 miles from Rico to Dolores is flat to rolling and chip seal. Chip seal and loose spokes are not a great combo usually and today proved nothing different. We big ringed pace lined, with a few jumps here and there to keep things interesting. The 8 made amazing time, averaging something like 26mph for almost 20 miles.

As we rounded the last corner, a couple OMoFB went to make a sprint for the “finish”. Not to be out done, the competitive girl roars to life and take off. I almost had him at the line but I took the corner wide. As soon as I hit a bump, I hear a tick tick tick noise. Chip seal, sprinting, and loose nipples/spokes are really a mix I dont want to encounter again. Luckily, my now friend, Luke (whom I just spent 20+ miles staring at his spandex clad backside) was at the ride as a mechanic and he pulled it out and locktighted it in place. Yea! I can ride (really I was going to take a car to DRO and get a wheel and bring it back if I had to).

That evening everybody went up to the Sophia Peace Center and I stayed behind to babysit bikes, recycling, and tents. I hung out, read, surfed the intertubes and chatted with the people who didnt stay for dinner. It was a perfect summer evening for SW Colorado, sunny and eventually cooling down to a very pleasant to sleep.

Next up: Day 4, the Final Fantasy.

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