When I last left you I was tossing and turning in bed after the epic and exhausting first day of the The Death Ride Tour.
Day Two would be much easier starting in Telluride and ending in Durango. Yeah, it is 111 miles but look at all that easy-peasey downhill and those tiny little hills at the end:
We woke up on Sunday morning to beautiful blue skies. It was a bit chilly, so I put on the same outfit I had worn and washed the day before with the exception of the mittens since they were still really wet.
Judy and I went to get breakfast at the B&B we were staying at, but alas, breakfast would not be served before we had to leave. We set out to find the one cafe that was serving breakfast and met up with about 20 other cyclists who had had the same idea.
I opted to a bagel with egg and cheese as I could not bring myself to pay $7 for a chorizo/egg/cheese breakfast taco (apparently this is exotic food in Colorado). We then headed over to drop of our luggage and start the second day of the ride. I was pretty tired and so glad that this would be an easy day with the least amount of climbing. We would head out of Telluride to Lizard Head Pass, then coast 40 miles into Delores. The map indicated a little hill before Lizard Head Pass which would be a nice warm up.
Judy and I rolled out with another new friend Trey. For the first few miles he told us entertaining stories about rides past. He told us he was from Kansas, which I seem to recall is a flat state. But as soon as we hit that hill, he was a speck disappearing over the horizon. While it had been chilly that morning by the time we got to the top of the hill I was sweating profusely and Judy was half naked (well, she had removed half her clothes).
After a short rest at the top for Judy to put her clothes and gloves back on (because we had learned something about the descent that day before), we were flying down a pretty nice sweeping hill. And while it was not cold out, it did cool us down quite a bit.
After that little respite we were back to climbing Lizards Head.
Apparently, this is quite a scenic ride, but I was too busy looking down and trying to keep my breathing under control to truly appreciate it. Once we crested the summit, though, the view was amazing!
We stopped for a bathroom break and to replenish our nutrition and hydration in preparation for the glorious 40 mile downhill cruise. We hooked up briefly with Jeff and Sean again, but they both could descend much faster than Judy or I (fun fact: Judy is fearless on the descents, while Red imagines all the horrible things that could happen).
Judy flew down the hill, and I knew I would catch up with her a bit later. I also raced downhill:
…when it started raining. Actually, it didn’t start raining. It started hailing some of the most painful pointiest hail ever. Instead of enjoying my free micro-derm abrasion, I pulled my buff up to cover my face and aimed for the sunlight farther down the hill.
The first 12 miles were pretty glorious despite the brief hail, but after Judy and I hooked up in Rico the hill kinda sucked.
How could a 40 mile downhill suck? I know, right? Well, add a 25 mile an hour headwind. Judy and I took turns pulling. Each time we switched positions we would comment on how riding downhill shouldn’t be so much work.
At one point we stopped to eat and take off some layers as we were working up a pretty good sweat. How would we ever make the people at home understand that this downhill sucked? See, you’re not even believing me right now. I can tell.
A fella rode past just as we were getting back on our bikes and asked “How much farther?” (case in point, no one who is coasting down a hill asks how much farther). Judy said, “About 5 miles.” A half a mile later we saw a sign:
Oops. But how could it be another 15 miles? We felt like we had been out there all day. And that was just 15 miles to Dolores. There was still 30 more miles of climbing before the end of the day once we got there. See, and you’re still not believe that a descent could be this disappointing…
We finally arrived in Dolores, where a rest stop and lunch awaited! We refueled and Judy got a bit of work done on her bike, then we were back on the road.
We quickly turned out of the headwind and back into the hills. The rest of the ride would be rollers and worse (but it was still better than the descent). We rolled into Mancos where we stopped for water and some food (we were both down to our last gel, so we wanted some insurance should the next rest stop be farther away than anticipated). When we got back out on the road we hooked up with Jeff and Sean again. They were riding about our speed so we just stuck with them.
As we hit the next good hill Jeff went off the front and I took off after him. He smoked me, but I held my own and came in far before Sean (as did Judy). The next big hill came along and once again I tried to stay with Jeff and failed but did alright. We each waited for everyone to come up the hill before starting the descent. I also believe there may have been some smack talk going on.
We got to the final big hill and once again Jeff took off, I went to go after him but all of a sudden Sean is not letting me pass him. Every time I pull ahead, well there he is. WTF? (sandbagger!)
When we got over the last big hill we were met with a big smooth blacktop shoulder of sweeping turns and a killer descent of 10 miles into Durango. THAT was pretty damn fun!
But holy cow that was a long day. I was a bit worried about day three and it’s 30 miles of 6700 feet in elevation gain, but I pushed it to the back of my mind. We went to check into our hotel and it ended up that we were in the wrong Best Western. We were booked into the one clear across town…without a car… and with luggage and bikes. That was not going to work, and we were too tired to fight, so we just booked a room in another hotel closer to where everyone else was staying and got cleaned up for dinner.
At dinner Barry introduced us to Bicycle Bob, who is this crazy cat who has ridden the Death Ride 18 times all in one day with a record time of 12 hours and 50 minutes. Very cool, very easy to talk to guy.
We were also introduced to Mike, who was a Cat 3 racer diagnosed with ALS just a short time ago. Knowing his past talents and seeing the devastating effects of this disease on his body in such a short time is startling and really does drive the point home of the seriousness of this disease.
After dinner we hung our stinky clothes out air out as there were no laundry facilities, but at this point I was too tired to care. Since I hadn’t slept well my first two nights in Colorado I was sure I would be out like a light after this tough day.
I was wrong…