Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hanging with the Boys - Part 1

Okay I know!  It's been quite a while since I posted anything but I have a great reason.  Over the last few days I have been either getting ready for my Colorado trip with the boys or having too much fun on the trip.  I mean really!  Given the choice between drinking, cycling, laughing continuously, and blogging, I think you know what wins.  

The trip I am talking about.  Chris, Tim, David, Pat, Brian and myself all headed to Colorado for  5 days of cycling (and apparently drinking) in Chris's Fitness Journal RV.  So let me recap the first few days.

Day 1.25 ~ We actually rolled out of Sonoma at 6:30 p.m. and the margarita machine was active less then an hour later.  Chris was driving and I was riding shotgun while the other 4 proceeded to consume just a few margaritas.  The laughing from jokes, trash talking, and taunting caused Tim to have tears running down in face and left all of us with sore abs.  Finally, around 12:30 the 4 in back basically passed out while Chris and I rolled along.  At 2:30 a.m., while traveling through Nevada on Hwy 50, Chris asked if I was wearing shoes.  Since I was, he simply stopped the RV, in the middle of the road.  We got out and enjoyed the stars and the absolute nothingness.  We did this for 15 minutes and never saw another vehicle.  

We continue to roll through Nevada and Utah and finally arrive in Grand Junction, CO.  Unload the gear, down to the pool, and time to relax.  Later it was out to dinner in a brew pub where we continued to drink, laugh and genuinely ruin the dinner of all the families in earshot.  What a great way to start the trip.

Day 2 ~ We got up and headed out to ride in Colorado National Monument.  This was a beautiful ride.  It was only 36 miles and 2500 feet of climbing but the scenery was stunning.  And to top it off we were savoring every minute.  We stopped at many of the scenic overlooks to check out the view.  I can honestly say this is one of the most breath-taking rides I have ever ridden.  So ride done, back to hotel, showers and back on the road to Copper Mountain.

Day 3 ~ So let me tell you about the reason we made the trip.  Last year, Brian rode in the Courage Classic which is a 3-day charity ride in Copper Mountain, CO, and it benefits the Children's Hospital.  It will consist of nearly 200 miles of riding with 7000 feet of climbing at elevation.  

So what's the best way to prepare for such an event.  We decide to ride Mt. Evans.  This is a 27 mile climb with 6700 feet of climbing.  Oh, and by the way, it just happens to be the highest paved automobile road in North America topping out at 14,130 feet.  It is by far the highest point anyone in our group has ridden.  This is yet another new definition of epic ride.  The grades are not severe,  ranging from 4% - 7%, however, the climb simply zaps the strength out of your legs through its shear relentlessness.  There are numerous portions of the climb where you can look 3-4 miles across the valley and still see the road going up.  It also has around 28 switchbacks with most of those near the top.  It simply feels like it goes on forever.  However, when you finally reach the summit you immediately decide it was all worth it.  Every strained pedal stroke, grunt, and profanity laden diatribe (as you see yet another switchback) is washed away by the beauty that surrounds you.  

At the top, we also got to hang out in the ranger's car because of the threat of lightening.  Finally, it passed and down we went.  Over 1 hour of pure descending heaven right into the middle of a rain storm complete with hail.  And still, one of the best descents I have ever done.  We are still talking about it.

The question remains: Was the Mt. Evans climb a smart idea on the day before our real event.  I'll tell you tomorrow.


1 Comment(s):

Sarah said...

Hey Lee! I'm a little behind on my blog reading. Just read this first post and I'm moving on to the next...I've been EXCITEDLY waiting for these stories, especially with each text update Tim sent!

Great first post...I really hope to get out there someday and experience these amazing views you speak of. It sounds incredible!