Posted by: Miriam | 14/09/2010

Colorado Peace Ride – Day 4 The Final Fantasy and Day of Friendships.

Raise your hands if your legs are tired from reading this? My legs were feeling ok, but the averaging such high speeds the day before felt like I might have well just shot myself in the foot. Power = a big honkin zero. But you know what? I have 55 rolling miles and 8 hours to do them in, I can take my sweet and literally smell the flowers if I want.

Today I get up at a reasonable time, eat breakfast and actually get on the road without being lantern rouge (for those of you non-cyclists that means the last person in a race – think the light on a caboose). It is a perfect day for riding – cool but not cold. Slightly overcast, but still plenty of sun. Dolores is a beautiful town and although a good portion of the day will be spent on Hwy 160 the cutoff between Dolores and Mancos (Mane-cus) is some of the prettiest and nicest riding in the area. The Old Men on Fancy Bikes (OMoFB) waited for me this morning. But I didnt want to just haul balls to Durango…I can do that anytime, plus my legs were a wee bit tired. So I rode with Paul and another guy who was part of the OMoFB contingent who was less about hammering and more about riding.

Off we go into the final hours of this amazing ride, and instead of into the sunset old west style, we ride into the rising sun. This is fitting, we are riding in to the sunrise to meet the new day and the final challenges of the Peace Ride. And maybe a new take on the world. Unfortunately, we quickly drop Paul so the two of us ride to Mancos to the first rest stop of the day. OMoFB decides to ride with the rest of them, I hang out and wait for Paul and Kristen to come. I had no place to be in a hurry, this wasnt about the land speed record – that was yesterday.

We hit the rolling hills of Highway 160 West. Everybody is chatty and smiley and in great spirits. Paul and I pace line for a little while, but it is obvious he is having a hard day. Finally on a climb around mile I notice he is OTB (off the back). I have an internal dialogue with myself, do I just keep going or do I go back and find this guy who I’m riding with but barely know? I turn around. My friends later asked me why (what annoyed me were the friends who were cyclists who asked why, non-cyclists I understand. But really cycling community, I’m a little appalled). Why not? What if he had a flat or a mechanical or a cramp? Every time I pass a cyclist on the side of the road I ask if they are ok (this goes if I’m in a car or bike). If something was wrong, woudnt you want someone to check?

So I circle back. Paul is bonking, his tummy was upset this am so he didnt eat much, not that he didnt want to eat, but just couldnt. So I feed him a spare bar Luna Peanut butter Protein Bar (these are my favorites except the chocolate coating ALWAYS melts and gets everywhere) , and some Clif Blocs. I tell him I’ll tow him in for the last 25 miles. And I do. We stop at the next rest stop and feed him some more. He perks back up, we chat and make bad jokes. And all of the sudden we are at the top of Hesperus hill ready to bomb into Durango at white knuckle speeds. When I ride from my house, it  is 12(!!) miles from my house to the top of this hill, 90% up. This is going to be fun, but I say a little prayer to the universe as I crest the top: Please let me keep the rubber side down, cars far away, and debris out of my path. Hitting junk at 45 mph on a tire that is 1″ wide is NOT going to be fun.

We roll into Durango wind blasted and smiling. But now we have to finish at Fort Lewis College, which is on a mesa above town. Ugh. My legs are rebelling. No, not just rebelling but being noisy obnoxious teenagers in their rebellion. I have 2 miles to finish this  amazing trip and come hell or high water I am not going to let something as stupid as lactic acid stop me. I tell my legs (and yea I do say it out loud) I dont give a flaming rats ass if they dont want to go up a hill, I’m in charge and I’m still riding. They can either do it quietly or with great fuss. I turn off the iPod and my mind, we finish up that hill. The small surge of adrenaline helps. Big stupid smiles and hugs abound. We did it.

240 Miles

3 10,000′ passes

1 11,000′ pass

4 days

1 wet tent

6 Hardboiled eggs consumed

1/2 jar of Peanut Butter Co. Chocolate Peanut butter devoured

Some seriously sweet cycling tan lines

Heaps of smelly spandex

I  plan on doing this ride again for many years to come. The Colorado Peace Ride was one of the best support rides I have ever seen, more food than I knew what to do with, 100% gluten free food (breads, bars, crackers, and assorted other snacks, and even breakfast burritos) everywhere I looked. Thank you to all the support staff, volunteers, other riders, my parents for generously donating, and to the new friends on bikes from across the country.

PS Ill add the link and photos shortly.

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