Tommy, Dean, and I drove down to Trinidad, Colorado (just north
of the New Mexico border
on Interstate 25) on Saturday to pick up the start of the event. The trip went well, in
spite of the heavy traffic on I-25 until well south of Colorado Springs, and we noticed an
increase in bike racks as we approached Trinidad ... all fellow RTR cyclists. We found
the high school, the guys registered, checked their bikes into the secure area*, and we
spent some time walking around the various displays (bikes, bike equipment, Ride the
Rockies souvenirs, Gatorade energy bars and drinks, etc.) set up at Trinidad High School
(home of the Miners). We then headed off to find our hotel. After checking in, we went
into town to get some dinner ... no surprise, the guys wanted Mexican food. We ate at a
real hole in the wall, typically the best place to find authentic Mexican food, but
unfortunately the guys' meals were somewhat disappointing (the guys' enchilada tortillas
were deep-fried, but my chicken fajita was pretty good). Undaunted, we went into the
center of town to see what kind of festivities the townsfolk were hosting. There was a
live band, but the crowd seemed more interested in the beer coming out of the taps in the
18-wheel tractor trailer than in the band. We all agreed that drinking a lot of beer the
night before a long ride was not a great idea, so we went back to the hotel to get some
sleep in anticipation of Sunday's big ride.
*Each host town provides a secure area for overnight storage of
the bikes. We figure
that, with just over 2000 participants, the value of the bikes contained in the enclosure
is between $1 and $5 million. It is no wonder that the RTR organizers insist on having a
guarded enclosure in each town!
Sunday dawned with the wind blowing, not a favorite condition
for cyclists. Since just
about everyone staying at the hotel was an RTR participant, there was a lot of activity
(and spandex pants) in the parking lot, even at 6a. We went back to the high school, had
breakfast offered by one of the local groups (the pancakes and syrup were a particular hit
with those wanting some carbohydrates before setting off on their ride ... Tommy had 4!!).
The guys retrieved their bikes, I took a few pictures, and they set off around 7:15a.
Day 1...Trinidad to Walsenburg, 82 miles.
Sunday morning, 18 June 2000 marked the first day of this year's Ride the Rockies. Photos A through D show Dean and Tom claiming their bikes for the first day's ride from Trinidad, CO to Walsenburg, CO over Cucharas Pass.
Photos A through H
are at the first aid station near Segundo at mile 15. The lines are
for the rest rooms which are provided at each stop.
The last part of the climb to the summit of Cucharas Pass was hard (~6%
grade), but we were greeted on top to music, food and drink. Pictures
through E show some of the activities. At this point it is
about 12:30p and we have 34 miles to go which are all down hill after we
Finally, we are in Walsenburg after an 82 mile first day. We arrived
at about 3:00p with my computer showing 82.5 miles, an average speed of
14.1 mph, a maximum speed of 39 mph and the time on the bike being 5:45:16.
The ride was beautiful through the Cucharas valley and over the pass was
beautiful. We encountered wind, rain, hail and sun for weather, but
no weather was severe or long-lasting. Photos A
and B show Dean and Tom, tired but