08 February 2011


Cottonwood Pass in 2003
Ride the Rockies was so kind to us this year. I didn't have to get up at 2 a.m. to check the route. They had it posted before midnight.

Unfortunately, though, it wasn't what I thought and hoped.

Cottonwood Pass in 2003
I play this little game every year. I check hotels a couple of weeks before the route is announced, trying to determine where it will be. Sometimes I get a few towns right. Sometimes I totally blow it.

This was a "blew it" year.

We were SO wanting the ride to start in Cortez, scale Lizard Head Pass to Telluride, then circle back around to Durango via Silverton, and I got kind of lost after that. We were hoping for Pagosa Springs to Lake City to Gunnison, which would have given us seven mountain passes, and RtR had already announced it would be six. So Pagosa to Monte Vista to anywhere they want to go after that would have been just as good. Especially after the awesome potato bar Monte Vista provided last year, even though we weren't staying the night there, just passing through. In my mind, we owed an overnight to the land of the best stuffed baked potatoes ever!

Monarch Pass, 2005 Ride the RockiesInstead, the ride this year starts in Crested Butte, the birthplace of mountain biking. Excellent! Cottonwood Pass was featured on my first Ride the Rockies, and it was a blast. I got wet in Buena Vista, but that was okay. Great ride, great location, great memories.

After Leadville in this year's route, the visual appeal sort of fades away for us. Ride the Rockies will be overnighting in Edwards, then two nights in Steamboat, which is a nice location, but getting there is not exactly scenic, especially on a bike. The route also doesn't include the elevation I need to seriously work on in order to make it to the top of Pikes Peak in August, which is my biggest goal of the year. The route doesn't feature the mileage, elevation and endurance The Lizard needs to prepare for the Double Triple.

Steamboat to Grandby used to be scenic, and Rabbit Ears Pass is one I've always wanted to ride. The area beyond Rabbit Ears has changed dramatically in the last few years. Beetlekill has turned many of the trees brownish red.

Then on to Georgetown. Berthoud Pass is good training. But it also tends to be a very busy road.

No Day Seven. Just like the groceries that stay the same price but keep getting smaller and smaller. Ride the Rockies shrunk. They cut off a day. I'm sure this move was made to prevent a price jump, but the cutback feels like an arm or leg being amputated.

sunrise over Leadville tent city, 2005 Ride the RockiesThe Lizard and I talked about the route for a few minutes. We had vowed a couple of months ago to register, regardless of route, to maintain "power ranking" or whatever it's called when you participate two years in a row. We knew we'd sacrifice any advantage we have if we don't register. But only two of the six days are rides we want to do, while the price of admission would get us through at least three long weekends to go somewhere we want to go and do whatever we want to do.

Good thing we had the Triple Bypass scare last month. We made a Plan B, just in case we don't get drawn for Ride the Rockies. Now we're not registering, so we won't get drawn, and we have a Plan B. We have a backup plan. And it sounds better than the actual Ride the Rockies route.

Still, it feels very odd to be not planning for Ride the Rockies this early, and it feels even stranger to say, without a lump in my throat, we're not doing RtR this year. It will feel like I've stepped into someone else's life to go through February without the anticipation of RtR drawing results in March. And looking through all these old RtR photos
really hits home...

Then, in the blink of an eye, Plan C burst onto my computer screen first thing Monday morning, and taking all the queasiness away!

indoor campingRegistration for the second annual Assault on the Peak doesn't open until next week, but I did it last year, fell half a mile short, cried a lot, set a goal to set two skinny tires upon that summit this year, no matter what, and I got to register early because I am a repeat rider!

So, I'm in. The Lizard is in, because as a special perk, I get to register a friend early. We're not doing RtR. But we get to do the MS-150 together. He gets to do the Triple Double, and I'm going to get up Pikes Peak this year. This time, with the Lizard. Sort of. (He likely will set a record pace reaching the summit, and I expect to be among the last riders to reach the summit in the allotted time.) No excuses. Nothing will stop me this year. I will make it to the top.

We'll miss watching, or, well... photographing the final stage of the first Tour of Colorado.

But hey, the pros will be riding into Denver, and we'll be riding to the top of the world in Nature's Playground. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who's got the better route that day!

2010 Ride the Rockies


  1. That last picture of you two is adorable! Life is full of trade-offs, but again, sounds like you picked the better deal. Take lots of pictures of the pretty route if you can! =]

  2. You most certainly will make it to the top- it's your turn, dammit.

    So happy for the both of you... the photo is priceless. You can't buy smiles like that with all the money in Switzerland.

  3. Somehow, things always work out!!! I love you guys to pieces and look forward to lots of pictures!!!!

  4. keep it fun. and I have been meaning to ask... Why does the man called Lizard?

  5. Looks like an incredible experience - love the shot of the tents, mountains and sunrise! (sunset??) Congrats on getting through it!

  6. Great plan. Yes, you're right - no rocket scientist needed!!!!!

    You are going to have an awesome summer of riding! And, watch out Pike's Peak, here comes Snowcatcher!

  7. Wow, what a life you and Lizard live.
    Methinks it looks life to the fullest.

  8. The picture of the two of you with your big smiles is absolutely wonderful! Makes me smile!!! I know nothing about mountain biking, but I'm guessing from the photo with all the bikes laying down, they don't have kickstands?!?! =D

  9. Really love the pic of the snow capped mountaines and the tops of all the colored tents ~ very cool! Thanks for stopping by ~ Keep on creating all your wonderful things!!


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