|Matt, Joe, Bryan, Nicole, Chris, Todd, Alan (L to R)|
This was our warm-up as it was pretty flat and we wanted to stay together as a group. These trails can be croweded, but not this early! Occaisionally I turned my head and saw a beautiful orange and pink sunrise. A great day was ahead! My legs were feeling good and this was a comfortable pace for a warm-up.
We got off the trail and picked up Morrison Rd and had the first hills. Hill warm-up! Getting those legs prepped for what was to come. Just under an hour after leaving Joe's we made a water/pit stop at the Conoco in Morrison/C-470.
|getting mentally prepared for the climbing after our warm-up|
|pit stop on hwy 74|
|refueling before we get to Squaw Pass|
I felt like I was working a bit hard today. It was a little more difficult to keep my breathing under control here, and my heart rate was in the upper 160s. Would prefer it to be in the lower 160s, but I was going to chalk it up to "event day nerves." I pass several people going up this hill (not in our group) but it's always fun to pass folks. I hung on to the wheel of a guy for a couple minutes before continuing on. They were cool about that. About two thirds of the way up, Joe comes screaming past me. He's doing great, Alan's back there a bit and Todd's coming but hurting. As I'm climbing, I'm forcing myself to eat and drink. At a heart rate of 167 or so, breathing is a tad labored, so eating and drinking is not the easiest. But I take my Perpetuem, swallow my endurolytes and drink my HEED. This 18 mile stretch (well, 17.35 by my GPS) took 1:52 riding time and had 3500 feet of elevation gain.
We regrouped at Echo Lake. Our SAG support vehicle (Julie, Liz and Radar) were up there with all sorts of food and drink. We waiting for everyone to show up, rehydrate, refuel. Todd didn't have the best climb (some stomach trouble) so the stop was critical to him.
|The Magnificent Seven (and Radar) at Echo Lake|
I headed off first (any guy to get "chicked" would be my servant at the after party) so I could use any head start I could get! Soon after Todd and Joe come flying by. They really wanted to win the first to summit prize. Personally, I just wanted to summit. By mile 4 I passed Todd (he was walking) as his knee was causing him serious grief. He was going to summit no matter what!
This is a steady grind climb. I kept an eye on my heart rate and power, and wanted to feel good (as good as one can feel after 47ish miles and 5000+ feet of climbing already in the legs! I remembered the climb from a couple weeks ago, and it was actually mentally easier this time. I felt probably as good as I could and just kept riding. I made a quick pit stop at Summit Lake (mile 9) and the closer and closer I got to the top, the more I knew I was going to make it. It was slow going, but I was going. here are some pictures that Julie and Liz took as they drove the support vehicle to the summit:
|not quite yet to treeline|
|it's not as flat as it looks|
|still many more miles to climb|
|Made it! At the support car at the summit!|
|dressed for the descent|
|Joe riding with honor|
|Joe, Julie, Liz, and Alan behind BeauJo's in Idaho Springs|
|Todd and Alan called it a day, Bryan is calling for motivation to climb Floyd Hill|
Then the after-party began! Joe's mom had helped Liz and Julie get everything set up for us. Great mexican food, drinks, oh, and shower! I got served drinks by Alan and Todd, as I "chicked" them to the summit. Really an Epic Ride that we won't forget any time soon!