We made it! What a trip. Michael, Dwayne and I with Dan Libby for a few days had a picture perfect trip in the mountains with the help of Jim and Judy. It started after an all night drive with almost no sleep by first picking up Michael in Denver Friday morning. Breakfast and picking up supplies and we were soon in Breckenridge at 9600'. Little time to settle in and go for a 3 mile ride with over 1000' of climbing. Tough to get much sleep that night.
Dwayne woke up first at 4am bouncing all over the crowded room like he was on crack, we couldn't stop laughing. I soon rose to nervously get ready for our 6am start (total sleep in the last two days, about 6 hours). 5:15 and we were off, riding to the staging area with everything we hoped we would need for the next 14 hours.The race began with a slow ride to the gravel road that led to Wheeler Pass. As soon as we got to the dirt it was on and we began our 7 mile, 2900' climb, 1:35 for me, a lot less for D and a ton of others. A killer downhill with a near death experience at the bottom made it worth it. The next 5 miles was a downhill bike path and we had a serious advantage with the typically over geared 44 X 11, 29" wheeled bikes, dropping all the 26" bikes. The remaining miles were beautiful but really tough, climbing another 1200' to finish the 30+ mile loop in a little over 3:35, six minutes behind Dwayne. The second loop did me in. Tons of climbing (not my thing), an intense sun and a lack of acclimation made any steep climb nearly impossible. My heart rate would remain low, legs were weak but still fresh and my breathing out of control. I had to walk a lot and stop a lot. I would let everything go any chance I could going down. I rode with Michael and Dan for a bunch of it, although Dan was just hangin out with us. We thought we were almost finished when we began a long ass gravel road climb with about 1000' of climbing. Before that I was thinking about finishing the race, after I was done. We finished at 2:30. Dwayne was over an hour ahead by this time. He took over 5 1/2 hours to do the last loop with a little bad luck. He missed a turn and added a bunch of miles and a fair amount of climbing. He said I made the right call, the last loop was hard. He finished in 12:47, I'd probably still be out there right now. I had about 8900' climbing we figured Dwayne had well over 14000'!
The next morning we drove to the base of the first descent and rode(walked) up to Wheeler pass the opposite direction of the race, another 2650' of climbing in about 3 1/2 miles topping out above 12400 feet! We looked around, took pictures and cruised to the bottom. Both Dwayne and I felt better climbing that morning than we had all through the race. I had a close call with Dwayne on my heals but pulled it out with some fan fair, only he knows just how close! At the bottom both Michael and Dan avoided the section I almost died on the day before. It was a series of big drops with bad spacing and we were going crazy fast in the race so I had no choice but to hang on and I made it. Dan went back to Denver and we made our way to Jimmer's.
J&J then took us out for a fast 13 mile ride that was a blast. Some BBQ and we were off to bed.Monday morning, day 4, ride 5, Monarch Crest. We shuttled to the top of Monarch Pass after leaving Judy's Jeep at the bottom. I won't go into detail but the Crest, Silver Creek and Rainbow trail is a must. You climb to way above tree line and ride there for a long time, ride scree fields(rock slide remains), fast stuff, technical stuff, flowy stuff and everything in between. Jimmer-4 flats. Dwayne-2 flats. Michael-2 flats. Me-1 flat. Add em up, NINE. Oh, Judy-no flats! We used every tube we had and still had a blast. Crossed 3 snow fields but no bad weather. I would do it again tomorrow. 35 miles with 2700' climbing, 6200' descending.
Michael, Dwayne and I drove north a little to the Mount Elbert section of the Colorado Trail the next day. A two mile climb took us to some of the most beautiful single track you will ever see, I'll leave it at that. We got to see a male and female Moose reasonably close, a rarity. 12 1/2 miles with 2200' climbing. Dan met us the next morning after sadly parting with Jim and Judy to ride the Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass section of the CT. As soon as we started the thunder began as did the rain and lightning. We retreated at 3 1/2 miles in and rode back to a dry parking lot, Oh well.
After driving back to Denver, spending a nice evening with Dan's family and staying the night, the next morning Michael caught his flight back to camp and Dwayne and I rode every trail Mount Falcon had to offer. As dusty, hot and dry as could be, we loved every minute of it. Another 13+ miles and 2600' of climbing. Topping out at 7800' we noticed easier breathing.
Dwayne and I had hoped to ride Landahl on our way home but woke up this morning to a rain soaked parking lot in KC. Got home early and surprised the kids. Thanks to Jim and Judy, it couldn't have been more perfect! Thanks to Dan and his family. Thanks to Michael and Sherri for the use of the van. Thanks to Michael and Dwayne for making every minute fun. Thanks to all our families for letting us go! Mitch
I could not have said it better my self. climbing for me in the mountains was awesome, it made me realize how much more I love going up! Following Mitch on some of the downhills was totally crazy!! As for as the race I think sometimes we have to question how far we should go and I think its easy to know when its enough. Mitch found his limit for this day and did the right thing by stopping and recovering. When I was on my way down from the last mountain Mitch had met me about half way up to see if I needed anything. He had recovered quick and was ready to ride again. If it wouldn't of been for the time cut off I thing he probably would of went and finished the race. Everyday of this trip Mitch and Michael were always ready to ride. For me the race was
awesome and maybe I will actually do a write up of my own....