Ride the Rockies 17 June through 22 June 2001
Day 3

This morning Dean, Don, Alice, and Tom headed out at 7:15a under sunny skies.  Judy and
Janelle were planning to head out early, so they were probably already out of town by
then.  A lot of riders were delayed somewhat when they put their bags on the trucks for
transport to the next town.  Apparently some 'bandits' had put their bags on the trucks
the day before, so the RTR folks were enforcing security today by checking wristbands
against luggage tags (the colors and numbers have to match, just as the numbers on
riders' wristbands and bike decals have to match when they take their bikes out of the
security area).  For those unfamiliar with the term 'bandit' as it relates to Ride the
Rockies, it refers to those riders who were not chosen during the selection process who
decide to do the ride unofficially.  More people than can be accommodated apply for the
tour every year, so the 2,000 participants are selected by lottery.  The official
participants pay a registration fee and are provided with a lot of support, including
first aid, food and beverages at the aid stations, and luggage transportation from one
town to the next.  Those who ride along as bandits are not eligible for these services.
Some of the folks yesterday tried to make their way into the system, but not without
notice.  I hope that the enhanced security measures do not cause delays every day for the
folks, especially on Thursday when everyone has to have their bags on the truck by 6:30a.

Dean mentioned that there were a lot of delays associated with this location ... rest
rooms, showers, food, etc.  In fact, while he and I were talking about it, we overheard
someone say that they had run out of breakfast food.  I am quite surprised about that, as
the Ride the Rockies organizers typically do an excellent job making arrangements for
good facilities.

Tom called me this afternoon at 12:45p to let me know that they were at the Toponas aid
station and that they had just had lunch.  They had ridden 42 miles (just over halfway on
today's 80-mile ride), and the day's big climbs were behind them.  When I approached
Idaho Springs on my trip home, the sky completely clouded over and the mountains looked
pretty gloomy.  Fortunately, the skies were clear and sunny over the riders, and the wind
was not the issue they feared it might be.

Tom called again at 3:45p to let me know that he had just pulled into the bike security
area.  Don and Alice were in the background shouting 'hi,' so they likely came in at
around the same time.  My guess is that Dean was ahead of them (he is a very strong
rider).  I will ask Tom about that when he calls later with the details of today's ride.
He was using an analog cell phone that assesses roaming charges (around $2 per minute),
so we kept that call very short!

Here are Tom's statistics for the day:
 80.08 miles today; 232 miles cumulative; average speed 13.2 mph; maximum speed 42 mph; time in
the saddle 6 hours, 3 minutes, 27 seconds; total time on the road 8.5 hours.

Tom's comments on the day follow:  "The ride from Edwards began with a short climb up to
the 4 Eagle Ranch aid station, followed by another climb up to Walcott Divide, a roughly
1,000-foot elevation gain over 5 miles.  Some of the rock outcroppings at the summit aid
station were very unique and interesting.  We then had a good 4-mile downhill ride, where
I reached my maximum speed for the day, followed by 7 miles of rolling hills.  The second
big climb of the day took us from 6,700 feet to 8,500 feet over about 10 miles.  That was
a very hot, hard climb, and I saw a lot of people sag on that portion of the ride.  We
then had a short descent to the Toponas aid station, where we had lunch.  There was a
slight headwind building after we left the aid station, but Alice, Don, and I got in a
pace line and we were able to ride at around 22 mph for the downhill descent.  Don
stopped at the next aid station (50-mile marker), and Alice and I continued on to the
next aid station at the 62-mile marker.  By now we had descended from 8,300 to 7,200
feet.  I had contacted a ham radio operator who lives close to the route, and he got on
his bike and came down and rode with me for a short time.  The rest of the ride into
Steamboat Springs, which was all downhill, was uneventful for our group.  Today's ride
took us through a non-wooded, sagebrush terrain.  It is desert-like, but the rock
formations are phenomenal.  After the ride, we heard that one of the ladies who was
riding with Gail Mock's group was hit broadside by another cyclist.  She was riding past
an aid station and the other cyclist was coming out to rejoin the ride.  She had to get
stitches in her face, and she may not be able to complete the ride.  Dean rode his usual
fast pace.  He joined in a pace line with a number of 35-year-olds for a long time.  They
averaged 25 mph, which pushed him pretty hard.  Tomorrow he wants to ride with Don,
Alice, and me so he won't have such a tough ride!"

For those who have asked, here are the elevation gains for each day of the ride:  4,900
feet on Sunday, 3,600 on Monday, 4,700 on Tuesday, 4,800 on Wednesday, 5,400 on Thursday,
and 4,200 on Friday (so much for the thought that the trip from Estes Park to Boulder is
all downhill!).  If you would like to see what the ride profiles look like, check out
www.ridetherockies.com and click on 'route' and then on 'view elevation profiles.'