30 June 2005

Eric's "Ride The Rockies" report. Fri. 6/24

Fri. 6/24 Salida to Leadvillle - 59 Miles

Woke up feeling almost 100 percent again after my acclimatizing issues Wed & Thursday. Met up with my buddies Doug, Ken & Dustin. Actually I caught up with them at aid station 1 and we just rolled from there. I was sporting my lovely Brooklyn Jersey that Atlas Client Heather Ballantyne gave me because her husband Frankie wasn’t biking. Thanks Heather. I was surprised that so many people commented to me about it and asked if I was from New York. Ironically the Jersey is an Italian Cycling team from the 1970’s sponsored by an Italian chewing gum factory called Brooklyn Chewing gum. If you ever get a chance to see the cycling documentary “A Sunday in Hell” you’ll see Belgian cyclist and Brooklyn team leader Roger De Vlaeminck lose the 1976 Paris-Roubaix by a bike length after dominating the race.

Any how, I meet up with the guys and had a nice relatively easy ride. The route we took along 285 was marvelous because to the riders left (as you’ll see in the pictures) the highest peaks of the Rockies are right there. Mt. Harvard and a couple of other Ivy league named peaks. Further down past Buena Vista, CO. the roaring rapids of the Arkansas river were on our right. It was a nice relaxing day, with some inclines and no real hills. 5 miles to go it began to rain mixed with some hail as we rose steadlily up to 10,000 feet. A few miles back Doug got something (maybe a passing bug) lodged in his throat. Dustin hung back with his pop while Ken and I picked up the pace. Ken had his HS reunion in Idaho the next day and was in a rush to grab the rental car to get to the airport. I followed his wheel as the weather drew worse. I pulled a bit and looked back and realized I dropped him. He was laboring from riding off the saddle as it was literally giving him a pain the ass. As usual on these long rides the ride planners liked to stick it to us and give us a nice sharp incline to the finish. I got shelter in Doug’s family camper for a little bit until the rain/hail let up. Like they tell us all the time here….if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait 20 minutes. Leadville was the one town that Terri did not have a room reserved as there were too few available to start with. This was a blessing in disguise. I found out there was a charter bus available from Leadville to Copper Mountain resort for the trip and had paid for a room there in April. About 25 minutes drive from Leadville and we drove up a long pass and I mentioned out loud to other passengers on the bus “Glad we’re not climbing this tomorrow” (laughing) “We are” said a woman’s voice near the front. “This is Fremont Pass. It starts at mile six”. I sighed and realized that the day had taken it out of me and I wasn’t fully 100% quite yet. Oh well, I thought. I’ll get a good night’s rest tonight and be in a better mood for a climb tomorrow than I am now.

All I can say about Copper Mountain Resort is Wow! (see above) It’s beautiful. The room overlooked a man made lake with pedal boats. The town is made up of cobblestone streets with every imaginable shop and restaurant. I had an early dinner at a sports themed bar & Grill called “Endo’s” and had a delicious turkey burger. If at anytime someone says to me where should we ski in Colorado, I’m definitely thinking Copper. Hit their grocery store for breakfast snacks (bananas, cliff bars) in a pre-emptive move as I had to get up extra early and be at the finish at Breckenridge early and didn’t want to stand around Leadville at the community breakfast for an hour. Was in bed by 8:00 pm (I am such the party boy) and set the alarm for 4:30am. Tomorrow was going to be a long long day and would end back in my bed back in NYC.


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