So let me tell you about the ten miles I didn't ride today. Actually it was something like 10.75, but who's counting.
Starting point: 11,700'
Ending point: 11,200'
Total gain: 2,500'
Max grade: 6%
The ten miles I didn't ride today hardly compare with Berthoud or Guanella or Genesee Mountain...rides I have done easily in the last few weeks.
Now let me tell you about the 83 miles I did ride.
I rolled out of the apartment at 5:45am this morning and headed west, up Bear Creek Canyon, the Kerr Gulch. I got to the upper end of Kerr Gulch around 8am.
I rode the Evergreen parkway shoulder to Squaw Pass Road and then headed up. I reached Squaw Pass proper at 9am and was getting low on fluids. I started out with about 120 oz. I was hoping there would be water at Echo Lake (ironic huh?) and I pushed on over Juniper Pass, very cognizant that in a week and one day I'd be riding over Juniper Pass with not so many miles dragging behind me.
I dropped fast down to Echo Lake and went into the lodge/gift shop...HALLELUJAH! Restrooms with a sink and icy cold water!
I felt obliged to buy something so I picked up two packets of fruity snacks and a "Mount Evans" sticker. They had a cool magnet with a vintage cyclist riding up MER.
I stretched, ate, drank and rested. Finally I was ready to head on up. I paid my $3 and started the real climb. I felt good for a mile or so, but then the miles began to hit me. By the time I got to the Goliath Mountain area I was starting to feel ragged. I got on up, just above treeline and was forced to stop on the side of the road. I sat down for a few minutes and then decided I needed to press on. I was a little over ten miles from the summit and about 41.5 miles from home.
I threw a weary leg over the bike and clipped into the pedal. But after two cranks I realized my body was rebelling. I had no energy left for upward movement. My legs felt transparent, hollow and weak. I found myself headed down, almost without conscious thought and pulled over a few yards below where I had stopped a few moments before. I was facing downhill and east.
I pounded a mental fist and told my body "NO! We're going to the top! It's only 10 miles! TEN MILES!"
I whipped the bike around and started cranking upward...for two revolutions and that was when I realized I was not going to the summit of Evans today.
So I turned my front wheel east and let gravity have me. Unfortunately my climbing for the day wasn't over. I still had to climb back up to Juniper Pass and beyond and I had to climb from Bergen Park up to the upper end of Kerr Gulch, not to mention I had to climb the last few miles from Morrison (the whole town smelled like grilled burgers!) home.
I'm tired. I'm beat. I'm sore and I'm slightly disappointed with myself.
But on the other hand, I did the biggest ride of my life. I've never ridden 80 miles. And I climbed over 6,000'. The ride was amazing, the views doubly so. There were lots of cyclists out and about and I am glad I made my push.
So this was one life goal that I still can't tick off my list, but that's ok. GIves me something to aspire to in the future.