Today was a short day with only 63 miles to cover. However, it was a long day if you think about the vertical distance we covered. We started in Granby, traveled through the Rocky Mountain National Park and ended in Estes Park.
We rode along Trail Ridge Road which crests above 12,000 feet. On the day, we climbed over 5,000 feet. We had to start in the cold, early morning because the Park Service wanted to minimize the disruption for other users (read: cars) of the park.
We were up before 5:00 and rolling before 7:00. I must admit after the previous early mornings and long days where we had by now covered some 330 miles and climbed almost 20,000 feet (look out Mt Everest!), I was slow to appreciate the opportunity we were being presented. I now know why this opportunity was special: big mountains, big valleys, pristine lakes, meandering streams, need I go on?
An interesting question for cyclists is when do they think about their equipment. Is at Christmas time? Before a big ride? At the sight of an advertisement? For me it is when I’m descending at 45 miles per hour or more. A conversation begins in my head about my bike and its constituent elements. When the wind is loud, around 40 miles an hour or so, I think through the qualities of carbon fiber, rubber, titanium, etc. ”I wonder if carbon fiber handle bars have a ‘use by date’?” ”Have titanium skewers (the things that hold the wheels on) ever snapped?” “What would happen right now if my tire blew?” When these questions become annoying I look at the view.
The Last Day
Tomorrow is the last day when the plan has been to ride 55 miles, downhill to Ft. Collins. There has been considerable concern about the uncontained fires in this general area of Colorado and what it will mean for RTR. The latest word is that we will continue to Ft. Collins but via a different route to avoid as much of the smoke in the area as possible.