Thursday, Day 5
(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Kathy Wrote:

Well, it was another good day for a ride in the Rockies.  Our gang left Leadville around
7:50a this morning, delayed somewhat by long lines for breakfast.  Anticipating cold
temperatures, Tommy had dressed in warm gear, but he quickly realized that it would be
warmer than he thought, so he removed a few layers before they set out.

The first part of the ride took them around Turquoise Lake, which is one of the components
of Tommy's and Dean's (and Jim's and John's) annual Aspen trip.  He had never seen the
lake that early in the morning, as they typically do that part of the ride later in the
afternoon, and he said that it was really pretty at that time of day.  The Turquoise Lake
loop was an option for the RTR cyclists, and a lot of them opted out of it.  Tommy and
Alice rode together most of the day, including the lake loop.  At several points in the
ride, they did not see anyone around them.  Because it was a relatively short ride (36 or
52 miles, depending on whether or not you rode the loop around the lake), a lot of folks
left later than usual, which really spread the cyclists out along the route.

Tommy said that his ride over Fremont Pass (which was in the opposite direction of the
annual Aspen route) was harder than anticipated, perhaps because of the fatigue factor.
His quads are sore, and he said that he feels a lot of burn when he begins pedaling after
a few minutes' rest.  This is similar to what he experienced during last year's ride in
the last few days, so he is not too concerned that it will hinder his ability to complete
the course.  The medical support folks are handing out Advil like it was candy, so he
clearly is not the only one feeling a few aches and pains.

According to one of the medics following the ride (and participating, as well), there have
been a few serious injuries beyond the strains and sprains.  On the first day, before the
first aid station, a rider was involved in a collision with another bike and he broke his
collarbone.  That ended his ride very early in the course.  On Tuesday, one of the wind
gusts caught a rider and he broke his arm in the ensuing fall.  Yesterday a husband and
wife collided on their bicycles.  It was his fault, and she was not very happy about it.
In fact, she was climbing back on her bicycle (and sending a few unpleasantries his way)
as they put him in the medical transport vehicle.  She clearly was not going to let him
spoil the rest of her day!  :-)

The weather was great today, and there was no wind (!!).  There was a lot of sunshine and,
in spite of the SPF 50 sunscreen he is using, Tommy has ended up with a sunburned lip.  He
will be looking for sunscreen lip balm tonight before dinner.

He also is planning to take in another bike seminar today.  He really enjoyed the one he
attended yesterday.  The most interesting thing he related to me was that a cyclist,
pedaling on the flats at around 12 miles per hour, burns 450 calories an hour.  Clearly
our gang has earned the right to eat big dinners, given the work they have done during the

Here are today's statistics:

Total miles:  52 (bringing the total for the week to 353)
Time from start to finish (including stops at the aid stations):  5 hours, 15 minutes (for
Tommy and Alice, Dean rode ahead of them again today)
Time in the saddle:  4 hours, 8 minutes
Maximum speed:  49.5 miles per hour (and that was using the brakes!)
Average speed while riding:  12.6 miles per hour

Tomorrow's ride to Granby will be longer (71 miles), but it is a seemingly easy route.
The first 43 miles are downhill, and the rest of the route is a slight incline (a 600-foot
gain in elevation over 28 miles).  That will allow the troops to rest up a little before
the final day, which takes them over Berthoud Pass - a 3,300-foot gain in elevation over
32 miles, taking them to close to 11,500 feet!  At least they will have a nice downhill
ride from the peak in to Idaho Springs - an almost 4,000-foot loss over 23 miles!!

Day 5...Leadville to Frisco (with Turquoise Lake option), 51 miles.

The highlight of the day 5 ride was the ride around Turquoise Lake.  Although I have done this ride many times before, this was the first time in the morning.  The beauty was exquisite.  Pictures A through J are of this part of the ride.  Picture I is of Tom, Alice, and Dean and Jay is shown in picture J.  The ride up Freemont Pass which followed was supposed to be easy, but I found it difficult.  The ride down the other side into Frisco, on the other hand, was a very fast and pleasant ride.