02 July 2005

Eric's "Ride The Rockies" Report 6/17-18

Fri. June 17th & Sat. June 18th. New York/Denver/Grand Junction Co.

Whopee! I’ve arrived in Denver at 11:30am on Fri. and take the shuttle straight to my hotel in Downtown. ..The Magnolia. It’s right around the corner from happenin’ 16th Mall. A street with tons of shops restaurants…and bars. Love the hotel. I splurged, but I was only in Denver one night, so why not. The plan was to meet a couple people who were very helpful to my trip. I met Nicole Zaremba in New York where she and I attended her sister Tina’s one woman show. Tina is a client at Atlas Talent Agency where I work (http://www.atlastalent.com/). Tina introduced us and told me Nicole lived in Denver. I replied excitedly that I would be in Colorado in a couple of months as I had fortunately been one of the 2,000 cyclists picked randomly to do “Ride The Rockies” this year. I registered for “Ride the Rockies” because frankly, Europe was gonna be too expensive and I had never been to Colorado in my life and I heard the climbs and the scenery were first rate. So here I was blabbering to Nicole about attending the 20th edition of the tour. She and her boyfriend were happy to hear this and then she told me she had a friend and work colleague named Terri Porter who had gone last year with her father who was a big time cyclist and multiple “Ride The Rockies” veteran. She suggested I get in touch with Terri to help me better prepare for this trip. Nicole was also instrumental in steering me toward Frontier Airlines which had by far the cheapest airfare.

At the time, I assumed I was going to camp on the trip, and had already made plans to borrow some camping gear from my racing buddy Matt Purdue who was an avid camper. Then fate stepped in. I spoke to Terri the following week and she told me that even though her father had made plans to go this year he had to cancel. He had even booked motel rooms in each town. “Are those rooms still available?” I asked. “Yeah sure, you want them? We were just gonna give the reservation back”/ “No no no, I’ll take em”, I said. Who was I kidding. I was born on 19th and 1st avenue. What do I know from camping? I have camped a total of two days in the last 10 years and I wasn’t the one who put up the tents. This was a message from God/MotherNature/Allah. Fate had intervened. I was gonna have a bed, a shower and even a roof over my head each and every night!

We had made a tentative plan to meet up somehere in Denver this Friday Night. Soon after I arrive at the hotel, Nicole called me and gave me the address to a restaurant called Racine’s where I finally got to meet Terri and her Fiance (See picture – Sorry it’s bad, blame it on the waitress who took it) and fellow avid cyclist. I had an appetizer and a drink and talked about the trip, but they had to cut out for a pre-father’s day family get-together. Nicole drove me back to the hotel, but I wasn’t ready to turn in yet. I wasn’t riding tomorrow, all I had to do was catch the Coach USA charter that “Ride the Rockies” set up for a 4 hour trip across the state to Grand Junction, Colorado.

I decided to walk around the mall and noticed what looked like a party right on the street. The name of the bar escapes me, but every Friday in the Summer, there’s a huge party. How could I resist. I got myself a beer and took in the fun atmosphere. It wasn’t long before I heard a girl talking about biking. Well if that wasn’t the perfect time to enter stage left and I introduced myself and told her that I was here in Colorado visiting and that I was doing a week long bike trip. Well I guess I said the right thing because they allowed me to hang with them the rest of the evening. They were Cindy (Nickname is Cici), Amy & Nicole (See above) I had a great time and am grateful that they made me feel at home in their presence. I’m looking forward to seeing two of them in New York in November as they are doing the NYC Marathon and I am under strict orders from Cici to find them a nice restaurant on the Upper West side to hang their hat after the run. I promised I would and most certainly will. After hanging with these party animals, I was done. Gotta get ready to bus it to Grand Junction in the am. Hit the hotel and passed out in minutes flat.

Sat. 6/18

Woke up, got out a bed, dragged the comb across my head. To quote Mr. McCartney and caught a cab to the bus and loaded up to Grand Junction. This was the first time I had ever seen mountains of this magnitude. I had never seen river rapids like the one’s I saw as we headed West. This was cool. I put on my MP3 player and took in the wonderful scenery. I arrived around 1:30 to the Carnival atmosphere of “Ride The Rockies” and signed in. Got my free jersey and watter bottle (which is really cool), found my bicycle which I had sent ahead and found my motel and was very happy with the room. I was spending two nights here and it had a pool! Yes! I popped over to the downtown area and grabbed a bite and made it an early night. Tomorrow was day one of my long awaited ride 405 mile ride across Colorado.

Check out the route on the main link at: http://www.ridetherockies.com/

For the elevation profiles to each day as well as reports from the Denver Post of this years ride click this link below:


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