Saturday, July 7

I Am Not Jerome Morrow

Anton: Vincent! How are you doing this Vincent? How have you done any of this? We have to go back.
Vincent: It's too late for that. We're closer to the other side.
Anton: What other side? You wanna drown us both?
Vincent: You wanna know how I did it? This is how I did it Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back.

Much like Vincent, I didn't save anything for the trip back.

At 6am I headed west on The One. I had three liters of water, three gel packets, two energy bars, an apple and a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans.

I made good time to Golden, up Mt Vernon Canyon, and on to Squaw Pass Road. I converged with a couple of roadies as I turned onto Squaw Pass. One took off and left us behind, the other guy meandered slow enough that I passed him quickly and left him behind.

I felt pretty good as I climbed away from Bergen Park. The skies were ugly, but nothing ever came of them. I ate regularly, drank frequently, and it seemed like I was doing pretty good on keeping my energy levels up.

The second roadie passed me after a couple of miles, standing up on his pedals and leaving me behind. I resisted the urge to mash down on the pedals. I was determined not to go anaerobic if I could keep from it.

A few minutes later I overtook the roadie on the shoulder. He was pedaling back out onto the pavement as I passed. He quickly caught me and matched my speed. We chatted for quite awhile as we continued up Squaw Pass Road. He was headed for Winter Park from Bergen Park. I kept up with his easy pace for a time, but as we neared Squaw Pass proper my tank was running low. I begged off to stop and eat some more and the roadie continued on toward Winter Park.

From Squaw Pass on I began to feel the miles. My food was gone except a couple of handfuls of chocolate beans. Soon after I turned off of the paved road onto the dirt road that goes to the summit of Squaw Mountain my Camelback gurgled dry.

I was 30 miles into a 70 mile ride and out of food and water.

A couple of miles from the summit I was off the bike and walking up the steep road. I had been repeating over and over in my head the line from Gattaca: "I never saved anything for the swim back." I knew I had enough gas left in my tank to get to the summit. From that point it was 6,100 feet back to the plains. I knew I could coast back. I knew as long as I could reach the pinnacle I had a good chance to to make the trip back.

A few times I almost gave up. I remembered the Leadville mantra "dig deep." And I kept going.

Finally I reached the top. I left the bike and hiked the last few yards to the fire lookout and then headed down. It was a long ride down.

As I bombed down Squaw Pass Road I schemed to stop at the Bagelry in Bergen Park to get a bagel. From that point I couldn't think about much else.

With a bagel and a Gatorade I felt a bit renewed and continued down, down, down and back home.

Round trip I rode 70 miles. I gained 6,100+ feet to a high point of over 11,000 feet. I returned home right at 7 hours out. I hung on through everything for an overall average of 10mph. I'm not down to a 9 hour pace for Leadville yet.

Much like Vincent Freeman, I don't have the superior DNA of Jerome Morrow. I have to do it all with heart and determination.

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