04 March 2010

Monarch Pass

Monarch Pass23 June 2005
Ride the Rockies, Day 5
Gunnison to Salida
66 miles

Today was a much better day of climbing. Again I paced myself carefully to make sure I could get to the top. I couldn't help but compare my mindset at today's "7 miles to the summit" sign to Monday's seven-miles-to-go sledgehammer. I knew I could make it today. I was steady and healthy. My back began aching at about 28 miles, and as I recall, that's been pretty consistent the past few weeks.

A little drafting incident occurred on the climb this morning before The Lizard took off to tackle the mountain at his much faster pace. He had been letting me draft behind him to help me save some energy for the upcoming steep section. We came upon a group of drafting cyclists that included a 14-year-old who probably is just learning to draft. One of the cyclists in the group pulled to the left side, a definite no-no on a narrow two-lane road with next to no shoulder and a long line of experienced drafters behind you. The next rider in the line stopped right next to the first rider, and the kid stopped right next to him.

Shouts went out from behind us. "Go right!" "Don't stop!" “Hold your line!” Anger ensued as everyone had to slow.

I felt bad for the first group because they probably didn't know any better. I also know that's how you learn. That's how I learned two years ago. You get yelled at one time in front of a big group of pros or pro wannabes, and you never make that mistake again.

I was pretty ticked at the guys behind us who yelled. The Lizard and I had to slow, too. We had no choice. Anger doesn't make the situation go away. It doesn't fix anything. Plus, the yellers are experienced enough they should have been able to anticipate something like this in a large cluster of riders. They were being lazy. They didn't want to clip out of their pedals. They didn't want to experience a drop in their daily speed average.

Can you tell I'm still a novice??? I always side with the underdogs.

I don't think today's climb was as hard as anything I did in 2003. The only discouraging part of the climb was thinking I'd need to stop only one more time when I was two miles from the summit. I had to stop a second time when the summit was in full view. I wish I could have pulled that last tiny bit without stopping, but I did ride all the way to the top. I never had to walk my bike.

The descent was a little annoying. Some vehicle that didn't know how to go around cyclists ended up creating a 15- or 16-car bottleneck that log-jammed about 30 cyclists, including me. I went through some brakes there.

chillin' after a long climbWe found a restaurant without a long line. These tiny town restaurants get overwhelmed, I think, when 2,000-plus hungry cyclists descend upon them en masse. We waited 45 minutes for our order, then ate it and headed back to the school where the tent city was located.

We're down to one shower truck now, presumably because the schools we'll be staying at from here on have showers. I shudder at the thought of cold showers. Or lines 12 or 13 people deep at the shower truck. It's a good thing we have only two days left. In more ways than one.

1 comment :

  1. Just so you know, my quads are twitching in sympathy for yours...

    You are rockin' it, sister. These photos just defy words, honestly.

    I keep coming back just to stare and shake my head sadly, jealously...


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