19 June 2013

I Would Ride 100 Miles


12 June 2013
Ride the Rockies, Day 4
Pagosa Springs to Alamosa
100 miles

Yes, you read that right. A full century!!! I finally did it! And I did more than the three miles I thought I had to do. Turned out the day was 92 miles, not 97. So I had to ride an extra 8 miles to accomplish this. And I did it. !!!

I had an absolutely miserable ride. I couldn't find a comfortable position on the bike, no matter what I did.

Finally I decided to take a prescription-strength ibuprofen, and it took nearly an hour to kick in, but it enabled me to finish the day.

Wolf Creek Pass Sunrise

Wolf Creek Pass Overlook

I ran out of water before I got to the first rest stop at Treasure Falls, even though I was riding in the dark. I had to ration myself five miles from the summit, which made me really moody. Rationing water stole my ability to think clearly. I should have flagged down one of the sag vehicles to refill my water bottles. My day may have been much different had I thought to do that. But being nearly dehydrated prevented me from riding smart.

Too bad it isn't safe to drink...

I totally ran out of water a mile from the summit. I was in tears. The official RtR photographer pulled over across the highway from me, then jumped out in front of me to shoot the line of cyclists slowly making their way up the final pitch.

I asked if the photographer had any water.

"There's water just around the corner," she said, not even bothering to look at me.

Oh, did that ever fire me up!

Obviously, this photographer was not a cyclist. Half a mile of 7 percent grade with no water is NOT just around the corner, no matter how short a distance that seems. I'd spent 18 years shooting sports for newspapers, and even though I didn't consider myself an athlete, I recognized suffering when I saw it, and I always had water in my vehicle, just in case. Many times, The Lizard and I have provided water and even power bars to cyclists we've encountered while motoring about.

Wolf Creek Pass Summit

Not until after the next fluorescent orange message on the road did I giggle at the thought of pushing the photographer over the edge, and perhaps that's a good thing, because even though I was weak, I may actually have had the strength to shove her after that thoughtless comment!

The magic potion on the road said: "I'm giving it all she's got, Captain!"

That's exactly what I was doing. I was giving it all I had. I would reach the summit, and I would guzzle an entire bottle of water before I moved another inch. The Star Trek reference was the moisture I needed to power up and over to reach the summit aid station. At the summit, the orange road message was, "Warp speed!" Some riders, mostly guys, actually did seem to fly into warp speed down the equally steep descent.

Wolf Creek Pass Photo Opp

The summit took a full hour longer than I'd anticipated. I was pretty weak, compared to yesterday's ride. The descent wasn't much help. I was tired, and my saddle felt as if it was on fire. I just wasn't having a great day.

My iPhone was at quarter power at the summit, so I terminated the tracking program, no regrets. Cyclemeter had recorded my snail's pace climb, and that was the most important part of the day, I suppose. My cyclocomputer would document the rest of the miles. I just didn't have the energy or the strength to mess with the iPhone and the solar charger, plus, the sun wasn't on my back, so I probably wouldn't have been able to get much of a charge anyway.

No kidding.

As soon as we rolled through the first tunnel on the descent, the wind took over. Smoke from a fire at Royal Gorge may end up rerouting us on Friday. Some riders are making arrangements to be picked up before then because the smoke is so bad. Everyone is coughing. Everyone is irritable.

I wanted to call The Lizard at the rest stop in Del Norte to ask for a pep talk because I wanted so bad to sag. My saddle hurt that much. I tried to keep it in perspective with last year's back pain, but sitting just plain hurt. I didn't want to sit any more, and I still had a good 45 windy miles to go.

Del Norte had no cell signal, though. That may have been the saving moment of the day. If I'd had signal, I probably would have spent too much time crying on the phone and not been able to finish as big as I did. Instead, I prayed for a better attitude and the ability to sit. I tried to imagine the encouragement The Lizard would have given me had I been able to make contact.

Day 4 Commentary

My attitude began improving when the headwind became a crosswind outside of Monte Vista. My attitude improved even more after the fabulous free baked potato in Monte Vista.

As I left Monte Vista, I thought about the century. Every time I have a day of more than 90 miles, my plan is to ride the extra miles and nail my second century ever and my first century since back surgery. But every time, every single time, I've been too exhausted, or something goes wrong with the bike.

Before that baked potato, I wasn't even sure I could finish the ride, much less try to pedal extra miles. After the potato, which must have contained some kind of magic spell and just the right amount of pep, that century didn't seem like such a long shot this time.

The potato said I could do an extra 8 miles. I knew from experience the potato would last only 9 miles, so I told myself I didn't have to listen to anything the potato said.

Monte Vista Potato Bar

Monte Vista Potato Bar

Monte Vista Potato Lunch


Chow Down

I stopped at the grocery store in Alamosa and picked up mac & cheese and a cold cut sandwich for The Lizard and a veggie sandwich and hard-boiled eggs for me. I also got mole skin for tomorrow...

By the time I reached the bike corral four miles later, I felt pretty darned good. The Lizard was there waiting for me. He didn't feel like riding more. He said he wouldn't even have wanted to ride for dinner, so it was a good thing I'd stopped en route. Everyone was pretty drained by the wind.

The Lizard took my pack and the groceries, and I rode back four miles of the route I'd just finished to the edge of town, then retraced my tracks for a grand total of eight extra miles and two zeroes on my cyclocomputer.

Done deal! I'd done it! I RODE A CENTURY!!!

one very happy cyclist

The wind tried to break me and beat me into submission, but I triumphed.

No crocheting today, and I don't care!!! I rode a century, and I'm smiling so big, my chapped lips are bleeding!

Alamosa Sunset

Spinning Wheels Got to Go Round

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me

Pagosa Springs to Wolf Creek Pass Summit

Day 4 climb only


  1. Damn that is sure a feat to be proud of, congrats and sure looks like some fun was had along the way too.

  2. You are an amazing, AMAZING lady! And never EVER trust a baked potato. :) I'm just sayin' ... P.S. the bike in the sunset is a FABULOUS shot!

  3. Congrats! Back in the day I ode 100 miles and was moody for a portion of it as well

  4. Wow, this is so exciting! (Even though I already knew you'd done it - the details really add to the story.)

    Don't Listen to the Baked Potato ... what a great title for a bestseller about management theory (or something business-related, anyway). :)


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

All spam is promptly and cheerfully deleted without ever appearing in print.

If you are unable to leave a comment and need to contact me, please use the email address in the sidebar. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails