You all know it…it’s THE Colorado bike ride. It’s Ride The Rockies and as it entered its third decade, this girl in her third decade finally got to get a taste of what its all about.
Through the efforts of some amazing people, I was able to ride the first day of Ride The Rockies from Grand Junction through Colorado National Monument. 47 miles, almost 3,000 feet of elevation gain, almost all in the first 20 miles. But climbing is always made easier when the scenery is BREATHTAKING!
Colorado is home to some pretty epic views, and living at the base of the San Juans, my daily route is no slouch when it comes to beauty. But there is something truly humbling about the majesty of Colorado National Monument. The first few miles were a grind, as we climbed switchback after switchback up towards the vibrant red rocks. At Aid Station One, I had my fill of Skratch mix and a banana from the friendliest aid station guy, Banana Don. I got to run into a few familiar faces, and then as I continued my climb, I got the great opportunity to ride alongside Ron Kiefel, owner of Wheat Ridge Cyclery and the first American stage winner at Tour de France. Talk about another humbling experience!
The entirety of the Monument loop was perfection. The people, the landscape, the descent, all of it incomparable. It was a little bit of a letdown to ride out of the park, but Fruita had such a warm welcome for the cyclists, it was quickly forgotten. And to make the perfect end to the ride, Primal Wear greeted us at Mesa University with chocolate milk, water, and lots of snacks to help with a quick and healthy recovery.
I love my solitude on the bike, my time in my mind and in my thoughts, but there is something to be said about a group ride, about camaraderie and encouragement and the feeling of accomplishment you can share with others. And Ride The Rockies has done an amazing job in making this experience embody everything I would want as a cyclist. Huge thanks to all those who make this ride happen, especially those who sat back and worked so others could ride. I know how much of a sacrifice that can be.