Ride the Rockies 17 June through 22 June 2001
Day 1

The first part of the ride was just delightful.  The temperatures were chilly; the cool
overnight temperatures had climbed into the low 40s by the time the troops left.  The
first 17 miles were mostly downhill, which was a nice way to start the ride.  When they
got to the first aid station (8,000 feet altitude), the course began a gradual uphill
climb for about 13 miles to the second aid station (8,700 feet).  The next part of the
ride continued uphill past Taylor Park Reservoir, which was just gorgeous.  A lot of the
riders took pictures before making a slight descent to the third aid station (9,400
feet).  Around two miles past that aid station, the road turned to hardpacked dirt.
There had been a lot of concern about the surface of the road, since the majority of the
riders are using skinny tires, but the RTR folks had graded the road the day before and
the surface was fine.  The next aid station came after nine miles, and they had climbed
to 10,500 feet.  The last aid station was at the summit of Cottonwood Pass, which was
above timberline.  That 7-mile climb took the riders to 12,100 feet.  The sky was really
clear, with very few clouds, and the sun was intensely bright, especially at that
altitude.  The last part of the ride was a 19-mile descent into Buena Vista (7,900 feet),
enhanced by a tailwind.  In fact, the riders enjoyed a tailwind for most of the day, a
very welcome relief from last year's ride from Wahlsenberg to Alamosa (we all remember
the horror stories about the headwind that plagued the riders to the point that they had
to pedal *down* La Veta Pass!).

Don had a flat tire just after the Cottonwood Pass peak, but he was able to fix it
without any difficulty.  Unfortunately, another rider was not as lucky.  That rider was
about 50 yards or so in front of Tom when he went down ... hard.  Speculation is that he
had a blowout on his front tire or that, when trying to turn in to get in line with some
other friends, his wheel went out from under him.