Days 20-22: Rest, Hard Ride, Recovery Ride...
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
After the "hardest one-day ride" and another challenging ride the following day, I needed a break. Fortunately, we rested in Dolores and I got back into sync. The rest day allowed Chris and I to check out the cute small town of Dolores, me to fix the bike and re-set my routine, and we also had another relaxing evening with beers and great food truck food outside at Dolores River Brewing. Bruce’s friend Scott (from Fort Collins) joined that evening and will ride with us to Pueblo.
Chris left early the morning of Day 21, stopping for coffee in Telluride, the glitzy ski town about an hour (driving a car) up the road. After a full day of driving, she safely made it back home to Fort Collins.
Soon after I started my ride. Day 21 was 95 miles to Ridgway and included two big passes. The change in the landscape from Utah is stark. My home state of Colorado has tall mountains, but they are greener, whereas much of Utah had little green. Both had some great red rock, though you see more buff colored stone in Colorado. We had a nice descent into Ridgway another neat little mountain town that was new to me. Bruce said that just 10 years ago this town wasn’t much more than a gas station stop.
Day 22 was a recovery ride day at just 30 miles into Montrose. We didn‘t really need a recovery day. Our original plan was to split Days 21 and 22 more evenly and stop in Telluride. But after pricing out hotels in Telluride (yikes!) we split those days up differently, making for one harder and one easier day.
By the way, I have now traveled more than one third of the miles of the trip; riding 1353 miles and climbing almost 77,000 feet (elevation gain).
Day 21: 95 miles, 5571 elevation. (2 wheeeees and 2 aarrgghhs)
This ride had a wide range of experiences. We rode together for the first 10 miles or so and then the climbs separated us (me being dropped and riding alone). We started up the Dolores River Canyon for a mostly gentle (1-2% grade) 48 mile climb to Lizard Head Pass. There were a few steep spots. We stopped along the way for coffee in the cute Western town of Rico. We later stopped at a Conoco station outside Telluride but didn’t take the time to go into that town. We had long descents before Telluride (wheeeeee!) and after (aarrgghh! - too much traffic and gusty wind). Traffic after Telluride, the last 30 or so miles, was generally heavy. About 10 miles outside Telluride I turned toward Ridgway and headed up the Dallas Divide—a 10 mile climb with mostly modest grades (~2%)—before descending into Ridgway.
Day 22: 30 miles, 410 elevation
Today was an easy riding day. We only had to ride 30 miles (me a bit more since I went back to the hotel—see reasons in my story below. Mostly downhill into Montrose. Not many pictures as the ride was pretty simple.
Routines and checklists
When on a journey like this, I have learned the value routines and checklists. As much as I enjoyed seeing Chris, it did throw me off my daily routine. My days tend to start at 3 or 4 in the morning. Not out of choice, I just have trouble sleeping. I fall asleep about 9-9:30 at night and usually cannot sleep past 3 or 4. So I lay there for an hour or two trying to fall back asleep before waking up and reading ESPN.com, The New York Times, or play Spelling Bee. Some days I meditate (wish I could make that a routine). I also start drinking—water and Gatorade (or Body Armor)—as I pre-hydrate before each day’s ride. I have all my stuff laid out ready to put on or pack up. I am not a big breakfast eater, but will usually eat something before we depart, usually scheduled the night before for 7:30-8:30 depending on distance of the ride and/or weather.
Before I leave I go through my morning checklist. I made a checklist that pops up on my iPhone every day. This may seem silly, but it reminds me of stuff to do while I wait.
When I almost forget something, I add it to my list. The first day of the trip I almost left some chargers behind. Add to list. Today, I got out on the road and heard something fall off the back of my bike. Sure enough, a baggie with deodorant, fingernail clippers, and toothpaste fell out of my seat pack. When I went a half mile back up the road I found the gym shorts and shirt I sleep in laying in the middle of the road. I rode a mile or so back to the hotel and was happy to see I didn’t leave anything else behind. This morning my “routine” was thrown off and I forgot to properly close the bag. I learn best when (almost) make a big mistake. Let’s hope adding “all bags tied up“ to the checklist keeps me from doing that again.
The evening has its own routine, depending on how long the day’s ride took. The first thing I do is text Chris that I made it. Then I shower and stretch. We might do laundry (in washing machine or sink/shower). From there it might be going out to dinner or grabbing food at a grocery store. We also might stock up for the following day’s ride depending on stores along the way. I usually get back for a call to Chris and some reading before my early bedtime. I have watched less than 5 hours of TV total on this trip.
Photos and stories from Days 20-22
Day 20: Ridgway
After our long ride, we had the good fortune of having Scott’s car. After riders we look for restaurants or grocery stores close enough to walk. Tonight we drove into town and let Yelp recommend an Asian fusion restaurant named GNAR. It was great! I had a salad with Ahi tuna. Good margaritas, too. After some shooting the breeze I went to bed a little later than usual (9:45 ha!)
Day 21: Montrose
After our short ride, we had a lot of extra time and extracurricular fun. After arriving in Montrose, Dave texted me that they were waiting for me at McDonalds. I walked in and said, “Do we have breakfast plans, I like McDonalds breakfasts.” Apparently this won Dave $5 from Bruce. Dave had told Bruce that I liked McDonalds breakfasts (I really do), but Bruce didn‘t believe him and they bet $5. I gave the answer before they could even ask.
From there we went to a Trek Bike Shop in town where Dave was looking for a possible new crank for his bike. We had a grand old time as Dave got Bruce and a woman in the store singing Queen’s “Bicycle Race” (a song we sometimes play, often when we are not sure we want to ride—it does motivate you). See below.
From there we went to a bagel shop for breakfast, swam in the hotel pool, ate lunch at Qdoba, and visited Scott’s cousins’ winery. LaNoue DuBois Winery. We enjoyed a tasting and I bought a bottle of wine. Scott is sagging for Bruce and Dave, so it can be kept cool until I can give it to Chris in Pueblo. Tonight I wrote this blog post and did some travel planning for next week, when I will be breaking out on my own.