1998 Ride the Rockies Reports from the Field, Day One

Sunday, June 21 - Boulder to Estes Park

57 Miles - 6500 Feet of Climbing
Report Sent on 21 June 1998

Mike Hogan said he thought to avoid accidents on the downhills for this year's Ride the Rockies the ride director designed a route that doesn't have any downhills at all. Indeed today's route includes 1100 vertical feet of biking for every 10 miles traveled. However, the brake compound coating the front fork of Mike and Jeremy's tandem at the end of the day clearly demonstrated that today's ride wasn't all up hill.

Lou, Joe, Jack, and Dan on Trailridge Road

Our group consists of five riders from Madison, Wisconsin and one from Cleveland, Ohio. Mike Hogan and his 13 year old son Jeremy are aboard a brand new tandem. Jack Graham and I have been out to Colorado before and this is our fourth of the previous five Ride the Rockies. Dan Spencer was with us on three of those four rides (including this year's ride). Lou Priem, who lives in Cleveland, we met last year doing Ride the Rockies. We hit it off so fabulously last year that he through his fate in with us - either we would all get into Ride the Rockies or none of us would.

When we do the ride we tend not to ride together. Instead we look for each other at rest stops and take pictures of each other when the opportunity arises. I knew that Mike and Jeremy would climb the hills slower than the rest of us, for example. Tandems are more difficult on hills and except for Lou, we all have more hours on our bikes in training for the ride. So when we arrived at aid station one I told Mike where we would meet at the end of the day because after this aid station at mile eleven it was mostly up hill for the rest of the day.

Evan and Adam in Steamboat

Mike did report that they had a mixed day of good climbs, difficult climbs, fast descents, rain, and mochas. His bike computer reported his top speed at 53 mph. The front of his bike indicated that it could have been much higher. When I first saw his bike at the end of the day I assumed that he had gotten lost in Estes Park trying to find our hotel. It was covered with a fine white powder so, although somewhat puzzled, I assumed it was gravel dust. Mike corrected this thought by telling me it was from his brakes. The brake pad and or the rim produced a substantial amount of this powder when he was slowing the bike on the downhill. Fortunately, the brakes worked flawlessly. He and Jeremy completed the long day tired but in high spirits which rebounded from a low point of biking in the rain after stopping for mocha coffees.

Mike and Jeremy on the road to Avon

We all agreed that today was a tough day with some very steep climbs. Dan, Jack, and I finished near 1 pm and Lou rolled in about an hour later. We ran into each other during the day at rest stops and on the road. Jack and I biked together under the dominating presence of Longs and Meeker peaks. We also made new friends along the way.

Lou shared a bus ride with Linda Nelson from Olympia, Washington. Linda and her friend J.P. Palmer from Lincoln, Nebraska joined our group plus Evan and Adam Blanchard, also from Madison, for dinner. Linda and J.P. are real athletes competing in triathlons and the like. Linda competed in the Iron Man several times and has finished as high as second place. J.P. is fresh from a triathlon last week and will head off to do another as soon as Ride the Rockies is over. What to us are challenging rides to them is, I think, a fun diversion. I'm afraid I don't know much about the "go fast" world of cycling but it was fun to hear the perspective of those that push the really big gears.

Evan's son Adam is 14 and is doing the ride on his own bike. A couple of weeks ago we did a training ride together in Dane and Iowa counties west of Madison, Wisconsin. Adam, although young, is already a skilled cyclist. For them, the ride starts tomorrow as we take Trial Ridge Road over to Granby for day two of the tour.

Joseph King

Go to Ride the Rockies Reports from the Field,
Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, or Day Six.

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