29 June 2015

Windflower Monday


Anemone, another name for the windflower, means daughter of the wind. Perhaps the wind connection is why I love today's flower so much. I have to Ride Like the Wind, with the wind, all the time!


Wind, wind, wind. Some days, that's all we get in Colorado!


Maybe one day the wind will stop blowin'...


Other flower flakes in this series include:

Mother's Day Snowflake Motif
Sunflake III
Daisyflake
Picotee Snowflake
Chamomile Snowflake
Lobelia Snowflake
Hoyaflake
Daffodil Snowflake

You may do whatever you'd like with flowers and/or snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Patriotic Windflower

Finished Size: flower, 1.5 inches across; snowflake, 5.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread in 3 to 5 colors, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

windflowers

Windflower Instructions

With dark blue or purple or flower center color, make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring. Do not join. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: 2 sc in every sc around for a total of 12 sc; do not join.

Rounds 3-5: 1 sc in each sc around; do not join. Mark starting sc of Round 4 if desired.

Round 6: Working with light purple, light blue or petal color and flower center color, holding 2 strands together, sl st around marked or 1st sc of Round 4, * ch 3; sl st in next Round 4 sc; repeat from * around 10 times; 1 sc in next Round 5 sc with only light purple or petal color. Cut dark blue or flower center color; tie a knot with the two thread ends, if desired. Weave in ends.

Round 7: Continuing with light purple, light blue or petal color, 3 dc in next sc, * 1 sc in next sc, 3 dc in next sc; repeat from * around 4 times for a total of 6 petals.

Round 8: * 1 sc in next sc, 7 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc group; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc.
End here if making flower. Continue if making snowflake
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Windflower Snowflake

Round 9: Working on back side of motif, with white (or green if making leaves), * 1 dc in bottom loops of middle dc of any Round 7 3/dc group (or middle dc of next 3/dc group in repeats, ch 5; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 ch of final repeat; 1 tr in starting dc to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round.

Round 10: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of tr directly below, 2 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, * 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp, 2 hdc in same sp; 2 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round. (If making leaves, bind off green here and work remainder of Rounds in white.)

Round 11: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, 1 dc in gap between next 2 sc, ch 3, 2 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 2 dc in same tip; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, 1 dc in gap between next 2 sc, ch 3, 2 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 12: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 13: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 3 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, [1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5] 2 times, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 4 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 4 dc in same tip; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, [1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5] 2 times, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 4 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 14: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, [1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5] 3 times, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 5 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), 5 dc in same tip; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, [1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5] 3 times, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 5 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

windflowers

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

windflowers

windflower

windflower

windflower

windflower

27 June 2015

Hardscrabble Pass

My Dad Would Have Loved This!

Day 7
Canon City to Westcliffe
49 Miles
4,281-foot elevation gain
Song of the Day: The Mountains by Haik Naltchayan


Boy, does the tiny town of Westcliffe know how to party! I am still in awe of what those people pulled off for us!

I've now done 6 Ride the Rockies tours, 11 Elephant Rocks, 14 MS-150s, 1 Tour de Lavender, 1 Santa Fe Century and a handful of other organized rides, and never in my life have I personally experienced a bicycle homecoming so intensely overwhelming and enthusiasm-charged. What a way to end the 30th anniversary of Ride the Rockies! Westcliffe (and Sliver Cliff) have set the bar high. I'm not sure any other venue will ever top what this little town full of big hearts did! They raised $30,000 in less than eight months to pull off this incredible show!

I knew this would be a hot day with lots of climbing, and I don't climb well in heat. The Lizard had me a little intimidated with his 2013 description of Hardscrabble Pass. I didn't get to ride it that year because of the smoke from rampant forest fires.

Yesterday, trying to calm my fears, he'd told me Hardscrabble isn't more difficult than the Grand Mesa. I asked him if it was like going up Deer Creek Canyon twice.

"Not that hard," he said.

That did it. That's all I needed. I knew I could do it.

I took off into the twilight and missed a three-way highway/frontage road/railroad tracks turn. I realized after not being passed by other cyclists and passing through several un-RtR-marked intersections I must have missed a turn and looped back, not knowing where I'd gone wrong, not knowing how I would find the right path in the dark without going back to the start. Soon I spied twinkling tail lights, which helped me get back on the right road.

Unfortunately, the two cyclists I followed missed another turn just a couple of blocks further. One of them told me that's what we get for leaving so early in the morning, before the volunteers are on the course to help us find the way.

Once again on the right path, a service station came into view. I stopped and bought a bottle of apple juice and a bottle of orange juice to help fuel me up the Pass.

Off I pedaled again, this time alone, and no one else passed me until the sun began peeking over a great rock formation. I pulled over to snap a photo, but my phone began ringing. I was shocked! I couldn't believe I had signal!

It was The Lizard, convinced I must have taken a wrong turn because he hadn't passed me yet. I told him I had indeed taken two wrong turns, as well as stopping at three different stores (two not yet open) for juice. We both assumed he was miles ahead of me, and he offered to wait for me at the summit. I assured him I'd be fine and encouraged him to not wait for me anywhere along the course, to just have the ride of his life.

I had totally missed the sunrise moment, but I got to witness it. I began pedaling again, this time being passed by waves of riders. Ten minutes later, The Lizard caught me and pedaled along with me to the next rest stop, where we enjoyed hotcakes together. He kept offering to ride with me the whole day, but I knew my turtle pace would be miserable for him.

We both look forward to these rides because we enjoy everything about each ride... the exercise, the wildflowers, the climbs, the scenery, the trickling, or in this year's case, crashing of rivers, leaves rustling in the breeze, birds chirping, cows mooing. I wanted his ride to be enjoyable. So once again I urged him to go his own speed. He instructed me to call him before I reached the finish line (assuming I'd have signal), and he'd ride through the finish line again with me. We've done that several times in the past, and the official photos have been worth buying, so that was good enough for me.

Little did I know this finish line was one I wish I'd been able to video in its entirety. Oh, my heavens! But I'm getting way ahead of myself.

As I began climbing after the tiny village of Florence, I wondered if this was the route we'd taken when we drove in the dark to Westcliffe in 2008 after work on an autumn Friday to climb Humboldt with the very same friends who would be taking us home after we cross the finish line today. We returned home after our climb of Humboldt in twilight, so I didn't have any visual memories from that trip.

As I rolled through the gorgeous rock formations towering above the road, I remembered another trip to this same destination on this very same road, and tears began streaming down my cheeks.

In 1993, I drove this very same road, way back before I knew the Sangre de Cristos existed, way before I knew any of the 14ers in this part of the state. I drove with my adopted son to Silver Cliff to pick up a 7-year-old Wednesday's Child from her foster grandmother.

That little girl went on to become my adopted daughter a year later. Yes, indeed, I had been this way before.

The grade became steeper as the temperature climbed faster than my bike. Soon I was stopping every quarter mile or so, or whenever I could find a spot of shade. Hundreds of cyclists were passing me, but some were joining me in every shady spot, too.

sharing a shady spot

Wow!  He's done some of the same tours as us!

I was trying to mentally keep notes about the ride as I climbed, and I thought my opening paragraph would be about the wildflowers (which, by the way, were sensational): From henceforth and forever shall this road be known as Sunflower Boulevard, a nod to the wild sunflowers growing in nearly every pavement crack along the shoulder.

I didn't pull my camera out of my pack to take pictures of two varieties of wildflowers I'd never seen before. I mistakenly thought we might be able to find them again on the way home, when I was clean and refreshed, and I didn't want to get out of the saddle because it was too painful to get back in when done. After we got home, I looked them up on wildflowersofcolorado.com and discovered one is simple campion (valerian... I'm going to need to plant some in my garden), and the other, which I'm determined to turn into a flower flake, is western spiderwort. It's blue!!! My garden definitely needs some of that!

pentstemmon
Pentstemmon

Climb, climb, climb. The uphill seemed endless, even though it wasn't as difficult as the Grand Mesa.

The favorite view of a slow cyclist just might be distant cyclists disappearing beneath the horizon ahead, from the bottom up, like the setting sun. That means a downhill is due. Oh, those downhills were heavenly!

Occasionally I would see the tip of Humboldt and the Crestones or the summit of Kit Carson peek over the green meadows of Hardscrabble, but reaching the extensive flat top of the Pass brought the entire Sangre de Cristo Range into glorious view. A blanket of white covered with crystal blue and rooted in lush, verdant green formed the backdrop for the finish line far below.

I dismounted at the rest stop, filled my water bottles and checked my phone to find, astonishingly, I did indeed have signal! Unbelievable!

I called The Lizard and told him I was atop the Pass. He said I still had a good 15 to 20 minutes to go, but that if I'd call him again once I got through the town to the emergency lights and barriers, he'd ride out and cross the finish line with me.

I calculated how many miles were left to go; about ten to eleven. I chuckled as I shook my head, knowing there was no way I could match his descent speed. He can ride 40 mph down a mountain with skill and ease. Not me! I'm not comfortable with much over 27 mph. It would take me a bit longer.

He'd told me to relax for a bit and to try to win a commemorative T-shirt, as I'd done atop Independence Pass in 2012. I was standing near the DJ, so I decided to wait for the next contest. The only one I'd heard yesterday had no appeal whatsoever... anyone willing to do a raw egg shampoo. No T-shirt is worth that in 93-degree heat with a big climb to come!

I pulled out my credit card and driver's license, just in case. At the end of the song, the DJ announced it was time for another math contest. Pull out your dollar bills, and be the first to bring him a dollar with serial number digits adding up to 40. I got on my bike and pedaled away. If you think I can do math after five hours of climbing in high 80s heat, you don't know me very well! Sometimes I can't even count crochet stitches in calm, cool and comfortable settings!

Down, down, down. Oh, did that breeze feel awesome! I was chilling out, and I was feeling better by the mile. Moments later, I had to pull over so abruptly, other cyclists thought I had a mechanical problem. When they saw me aiming my camera across the highway at a bicycle built of hay bales, they did double-takes and stared at the artistic creation in awe. They'd have missed it had I not stopped.

Bale...

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Next thing I knew, there were lawn chairs full of farmers and ranchers at every driveway along the highway. Everyone had come out to the highway to clap, cheer and ring cowbells as we passed by. Riders likely had been cruising by for three hours, and these people were still cheering! For miles, I was cheered every mile or so. I've never experienced anything like that on any of my rides, and it was amazing and so motivating!

As I got close to town, I noticed first a decorated bicycle along a fence here or hanging from a sign there, one after another. As I crossed into Silver Cliff, it was a parade of bicycles on both sides of the street, decorating the road nearly completely lined with residents of all ages, cheering, clapping and ringing cowbells. Tears were running down my cheeks again. I'd almost finished the hardest tour I've ever done, and everyone was cheering for me! (For each and every rider, but when you're riding solo, and there are no other cyclists immediately ahead of or behind you, this feels so personal and so rewarding!)

Bike the Sangres!

bicycle fence

There's Waldo!

I reached the intersection where the streets had been closed off to all traffic to make room and safe passage for the cyclists. Sporadic LOUD cheers I'd been hearing from at least two blocks away erupted once again as I passed through the barriers and over the neon chalk welcome covering the entire street. People were yelling directly at me. "Good job!" "Way to go!" "You did it!" "Welcome to Westcliffe!" "Congratulations!"

I couldn't stop crying. I was glad I had sunglasses on; I didn't want them to think I was sad. I had to pull over to call The Lizard, and I couldn't even hear if the phone was ringing. As the cheers died down, I found his voice, then immediately I lost it again as the crowd began cheering the next rider, then another, and then a group. I couldn’t hear a thing The Lizard was saying.

"I can't hear anything you're saying," I said into the phone. "I hope you can hear where I am. I'm going to ride on through. I hope I can find you."

I hung up and put the phone back in my jersey pocket, then began slowly drifting through the crowd toward the real finish line two blocks away. Before I passed the first intersection, The Lizard came right up to me on his bike, and together we rode beneath the finish line banner and got our photo snapped by the official photographer. I was immediately surrounded by neon orange T-shirt-clad volunteers hugging me and congratulating me. One handed me my official pin.

Then I saw our friends Mike and Kim, who had made the pilgrimage to Westcliffe to bring us home. More hugs and tears; then a call for everyone to move out of the way to make room for incoming cyclists.

We stashed our bikes in the corral, found our baggage, pulled out the shower accoutrements and the clothes I planned to change into, then found the shower trucks, which had lines of male cyclists at least 25 individuals long and only two female cyclists. I jumped into the first women's truck shower room posthaste.

Within two minutes, the stalls were filled, and a line of about 15 women had formed. I was done in about 10 minutes, and by that time, the shower truck owners were directing women in the second truck shower room, now also full with a short line of waiting women, to hurry if already showering or move to the first shower room if waiting so the second women's shower room could be converted to a men's shower.

This had happened to me three times during the week. I'd been in the "hurry" room they wanted to convert, so my speedy showers had to be even speedier. I was so thankful I hadn't chosen the conversion shower this time! I still had to hurry so others could get their own showers; some cyclists have buses and planes to catch the day Ride the Rockies finishes, so it's no time to doddle if you have time to doddle.

And doddle we did; the party tents were bigger than any I'd seen at any previous cycling events except the lunch tents during the MS-150. Flash Cadillac was playing in the dining tent, and cyclists who weren't in a hurry to catch their ride home were dancing to good old rock and roll in their cycling kits, sweaty and all.

Rockin' with Flash Cadillac

The food tent was filled with the most amazing selection of homemade offerings... homemade pies, ice cream, cookies and brownies, homemade pastabalaya (jambalaya with a cyclist twist), homemade quinoa salad (which was sold out by the time I got there), homemade burgers with grass-fed beef, homemade toppings for fully loaded baked potatoes, and homemade Navajo fry bread, billed there as Fry Bread Tacos. Being from the southwest, this menu item particularly appealed to me, especially since they offered a veggie option. But I started out with the loaded veggie baked potato to get some carbs into my depleted system right away.

Following a relaxed and shady lunch in the grass, I ordered a Navajo fry bread platter, and we began making our way to the car. After loading up our bikes, we hit the road. I ate my fry bread covered with brown and black beans, tomatoes, black olives, lettuce, cheese and sour cream in the car as we drove back up across Hardscrabble Pass. The backlit sun angle now didn't make for appealing Sangre de Cristo range photos, and I hadn't taken any scenic photos during the ride because I was afraid of getting out of the saddle. So, no photos of the amazing views.

Today.

Westcliffe wanted to put itself on the map and tempt riders and their families into return trips.

I've most definitely been snagged. I will be back. And I will have photos to prove it next time.

Wheels in the Sky Keep on Turnin'

bicycle parade

pinned

26 June 2015

Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

Day 6
Salida to Canon City
67 Miles
3,087-foot elevation gain


Boy, is it ever hot!

We tried to sleep indoors last night in Salida, thinking we might get more sleep. Worked fine until the lights came on at about midnight, then went off while we were trying to pack to leave in the dark. Grrr!

No song of the day today because The Lizard rode with me almost the entire day. I'm writing this entry in my paper journal just past dusk, and that likely will affect everything I write, as well as my penmanship. Which reminds me, yesterday one in a group of men passing me on Cottonwood Pass was telling the others, "Never trust anything I say between 10,051 feet and 12,051 feet."

I thought that was classic, but I was too tired to write it last night. Probably a lot of things I was too tired to write last night.

We had about 45 miles of mostly downhill until we hit "The Wall," the south entrance to Royal Gorge Bridge. Some say sections of "The Wall" are nearly 15%. It's definitely steep. I sent The Lizard ahead at his own pace because he's a great climber, and it would be excellent training for him.

Today was special for me because I didn't get to ride across Royal Gorge the last time the MS-150 traversed it. The Lizard and I, on our way to our overnight accommodations, were the first on the scene of a motor vehicle/pedestrian fatality. We stayed to help and give statements, and I just couldn't ride after that harrowing experience.

Then I didn't get to ride across two years ago during Ride the Rockies because forest fires closed the park.

Third time's a charm!

The Wall

At the base of The Wall, I stopped to hydrate well. An older man pulled up behind me and asked with a strong accent if I could spare any water. He'd lost one water bottle, and his second was empty. I could tell he was absolutely parched.

I'd stashed a protein drink in my pack the night before, hoping the fast descent would prevent it from spoiling before I needed it. I'd sipped half of one water bottle since the last rest stop, and my second water bottle was full.

The Wall is about two miles of continual climb. I took a chance I might have enough fluids between the half-full bottle and the protein drink to get up the hill. I poured all the water in my second bottle into the man's empty bottle. He thanked me and immediately began guzzling. I took off, praying both of us would have enough water to get us to the next rest stop on top.

The steep section was indeed steep, the kind of steep that takes your breath away. Literally. Some riders launched and tried to get as far up as they could without stopping. Some, including me, took it slow and easy. Some got off their bikes and walked.

By the first half of the first steep, many were walking. I was not one of them.

I had to stop many times, but I rode my bike all the way up The Wall. I wove back and forth when I could, and I just climbed straight up when that was the only option. Each time I stopped, I'd take a swig from the protein drink and then a swallow of water.

I did not walk at all.

When I got to the top of the first steep, five or six guys who had just pedaled all the way up it, straight up, and who had stopped to breathe, clapped for me. All I could do was collapse over my handlebars and gasp for air.


A little more than halfway up The Wall, one of the volunteers was stationed with a water buffalo, a huge water tank in the back of a truck. I had run completely out of water and was rationing sips of the protein drink. I joyously filled both water bottles and continued onward and upward. The older man later passed me, his water bottle filled again. I knew we'd both make it to the top.

almost to the top

The Lizard met me at the top with a huge smile. He said he'd had to stop three times on The Wall. We finished off the protein drink together, and then we pedaled across the bridge together, stopping along the way to take pictures for us as well as for others. I got to use several iPhone 6s along the way!

We're here!

We'd planned to eat lunch together on the other side of the bridge, but there was no food except for the rest stop fruit, pretzels and animal crackers. Both of us were famished after the climb, so we ate my last foil packet of spicy tuna. Then we headed down for Canon City.

When I saw the string of riders climbing up, up, up steep Skyline Drive, all I could gasp was, "Holy crap! I can't do that!"

The Lizard insisted I could and took off. I went to the conveniently located sag wagon at the base of the climb and told the driver, "I can't do that."

"You don't have to," she replied. "You can go down on the highway. There is an alternate route, and you can do whichever you like, although they say Skyline has great views and a significant drop off on both sides, sort of like the Great Wall of China."

I looked up at the road again and felt faint. It was very hot, probably the high of 93 that had been predicted. (Some riders said it was even hotter than that, but I didn't look at my phone to see the real temperature.) It took about two seconds to decide I could not go up that hill. I decided to take the alternate route.

I knew there was no way I could ever catch The Lizard to let him know not to wait for me at the top, so I called (and yes, I had signal!) but had to leave a message. I worried he might not have signal as I headed down the highway behind the group of riders who also opted for the alternate route.

As it turned out, he did get the message but didn't answer his phone while he was climbing.

Neither of us had signal in Canon City proper. Go figure.

I beat The Lizard into town by about 15 minutes, and I rode 1.5 more miles than he did. I waited for him at the bike corral. I wasn't sure I had enough time to go buy an icy cold pop for him like I did last time we were here two years ago. I thought it would be more fun to go to Dairy Queen together anyway.

Once he arrived, we didn't go find our bags. We didn't shower or put our phones in the charging station. We went directly to Dairy Queen. We did not pass Go; we didn't collect $200. The Lizard got an Oreo Blizzard, and I got a premium mango pineapple smoothie with a banana. Aaahhh!

We set up our tent on the concrete slab between two buildings, same place as two years ago, completely separated from all other campers. I showered first, then I watched a small segment of the cycling seminar, featuring Chris Carmichael, while The Lizard showered. It was the only seminar I got to take in all week.

When The Lizard returned, I went into the air-conditioned band building (other buildings on the campus are in economy mode during the summer) to make use of the facilities. The yoga class was in progress.

The teacher, who'd asked me earlier in the week which years I'd ridden because she thought I looked familiar, teased that I'd have to join the class, now that I was in the building. I slipped off my shoes and did some of the stretches she was leading. After a few minutes, I was glad I did. I actually felt better!

I'd forgotten how good yoga can feel after a hard day.

The teacher later apologized for putting me on the spot. She said she'd only been teasing and that I didn't have to join the class. I told her I was thankful I had because her class was a healthy reminder to take care of my body.

The Lizard and I took the shuttle to Centennial Park, right along the overflowing Arkansas River, where many riders were dipping their feet into the rushing water. A band was playing, and food choices were quite impressive.

We both wanted the brick-oven pizza, but the wait was about an hour. All the garden salads and quinoa salads were sold out. So we had barbecue beans and pasta salad. The Lizard also had pulled pork.

We returned to camp much earlier than most of the other riders, and we were out cold but uncomfortably hot within minutes. Nevertheless, we both got some sleep for the first time in three nights. A police officer walked through the campus in the middle of the night. It was good to know someone was watching over all the riders.

The coffee truck around the corner of the building from our tent came loudly on at about 3 a.m. and woke up just about everyone in the tent city. I'd set my alarm for 4 so we could hit the road by 5 and hopefully avoid too much heat. I didn't get back to sleep until right before the alarm went off.

Even though it was another short night, I was ready to ride again. I was nervous about the climb, but this would be our last night in a tent. We'd be back in our own bed after dark!

My Home State

Looks Just Like Home

His Home State

Yikes!

That's more like it...

They've definitely got plenty of whitewater!

Coolin' Off

Royal Gorge South

Royal Gorge North


Steve Connolly's Skyline Drive

25 June 2015

Cottonwood Pass

Taylor Reservoir

Day 5
Crested Butte to Salida
77 of 102 Miles
12-hour day for me
5,812-foot elevation gain
Song of the Day: I'm Still Standing by Elton John


I hope I'm stronger when this is over. I did not sag the climb. Done in by headwind, sleep-deprivation, heat, hunger and saddle sores. iPhone died before summit, but Cyclemeter recorded my whole 77 miles. Ran out of food I carried by summit, most vendor food I could eat at summit sold out by the time I got there. Two more hard climbs, and then I get my real bed back.

takin' a dandy break

the view

flowery

six miles from the summit

WOW!!!

Rocky Mountain High

riders are lovin' it

swept away

impressive

smile and wave

keep on pedaling

climb on

keep going

how far we've come

Made it!!!

Woohoo!

going down

Stately Mount Princeton

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