01 September 2009

That was FUN! Can we go back and do it again?

20 June 2003
Day 6
Gunnison to Buena Vista
70 miles

Today was an absolute kick. Undoubtedly my favorite day of the entire week. Mud, dirt, rain, lightning, snow, wind, the works. I didn't care much for the hail, but today was the kind of day my bike was built for. Mountain bikes rule!

The day didn't start out quite so upbeat. People coming in at 2 a.m. were very loud and kept me awake. Then it began to pour. My tent leaked. My sleeping bag was utterly soaked. I slept, but I was miserable. Every time I moved, my feet got wet. I dreamed I was swimming.

I woke up at 3:30, at 4, at 4:15, at 4:34, and finally, at 4:44 I decided sleeping was requiring way too much effort. I felt like I was swimming while I packed away my gear.

The line for breakfast was enormous before the servers even arrived, so I did exactly as I've been doing every morning. I ate a store-bought banana and gulped a Naked Juice with antioxidant, then headed out.

Today's climbs were fairly gentle throughout, but I took two hours longer than I anticipated by using up all my film. I intended to buy more when I bought another banana and another Naked Juice for tomorrow morning, but I forgot.

Taylor Park was much more beautiful than what my film shows because the sky was completely overcast. When I got to the reservoir, I stopped too much and got caught in the first of four snow/hail storms of the day. I practiced everything I had learned in the seminar the day before about descending in the rain, and the techniques seemed to work just fine. I had no problems.

Lots of people sagged when the road turned to dirt the first time. Lots more people sagged when the first storm hit. Lots of people sagged on Cottonwood Pass road during the second and third storms. I'll bet not 900 people made the entire ride today. I found it kind of hard to believe people would pay for this Ride and not take advantage of every single mile. But then again, I paid for this Ride, and I never used the SAG, which is part of the price. I guess it all works out in the end.

I really enjoyed the dirt road. The storms didn't bother me because of what I went through during my training. Well, the hail still stings, especially when both you and the elements are traveling at about 30 miles...

I passed two rest stops today to try to stay ahead of encroaching storms. Still got caught, but I knew if I got off my bike, I'd be freezing cold and possibly unable to finish. Been there, done that, during training. I think that's what happened to a lot of people who did SAG today.

At the top of the pass, the ride director high fived me after I hooted and hollered. "Can we do that again?" I shouted with sheer joy. I got pelted by a round of snowballs.

I passed the stop and kept right on hauling because I could see another dark cloud moving in. Not two switchbacks later, I was on the side of the road putting my rain gear back on. (Think of the Hokey Pokey tune to the words, "Put your raingear off, put your raingear on, put your raingear off, and you shake it all about...) I finished my Ride on a soggy seat. My only complaint, besides the hail declaring war on me, was that I couldn't see out of my sunglasses. I didn't dare take them off. I feared I'd lose an eyeball.

Couldn't take my hands off the handlebars to glove my glasses either because of the wind, the wet and the curves.

I had to find a Laundromat after setting up my tent in Buena Vista because my already wet sleeping bag sat in the rain all day while it waited for me. I popped it in a dryer and sat down. Next thing I knew, some woman was shaking me, trying to tell me my dryer had finished. I had fallen asleep. In a Laundromat!!!

I get to demo a road bike tomorrow. A shiny blue Lemond. I can't believe I'm doing this. I'm scared to death of descending Fremont Pass on this bike, but it's the only way I can figure out if a road bike awaits in my future. Better to try it out than to pay for one and never use it.

Saturday's Ride

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