Ride the Rockies 17 June through 22 June 2001
Day 4

Here are Tom's statistics for today's ride:  81.5 miles today; 314 miles cumulative;
average speed 14.1 mph; maximum speed 41 mph; time in the saddle 5 hours, 46 minutes, 18
seconds; total time on the road 7 hours, 15 minutes.

Tom's comments on the day follow:  "We left this morning at 7:15a and rode 4 miles to the
base of Rabbit Ears Pass.  We then began the 10-mile climb to the first summit and aid
station.  This was a climb from 6,700 to 9,200 feet.  The view of the valley from the top
of the pass was spectacular, and I took some pictures that will appear on my web site
once I get home and set up a page for this year's ride.  I spoke to a ham operator friend
who lives nearby (the one who rode a short time with me yesterday), and he said that he
rode the pass 25 years ago and did it in 36 minutes.  Last year he made the same ride and
it took over an hour.  Youth definitely has its privileges!"

"The climb to the next summit was relatively easy, traversing 8 miles with a lot of ups
and downs (a few more ups than down, as the overall gain was 300 feet).  When at the top,
I looked to my left and saw a rock formation of two 'ears.'  That is how the pass got its

"The descent from 22 to 40 miles was really nice, and we got to that aid station pretty
quickly.  Because I had breakfast so early (before catching the shuttle at 6a), I had
lunch at that aid station, while the others joined the majority for lunch at the next
stop.  The next portion of the ride (between 40 and 64 miles) was relatively flat, with
some rolling hills, and we enjoyed the benefit of a tailwind along the way.  Don, Alice,
Dean, and I rode a lot of the route separately, but we kept meeting at the various aid
stations.  After the fourth stop, Dean picked up the pace and went on ahead of the rest
of us.  Don stopped at the fifth aid station (mile 69), and Alice and I drafted off each
other for the last 11 miles of the route.  We pulled into Granby at 2:30p."

The weather has been especially kind to the riders this year.  Tom said that today was
another good day, with the added bonus of a tailwind at one point.  I am pleased that
they are not getting the weather that is in the eastern part of the state tonight.
Around 7:30p, a severe thunderstorm passed over the Denver airport that included
golf-ball-sized hail.  The news report showed snow plows clearing hail from the runways
after the storm, which closed the airport for a while.  The storm has passed, making its
way to the southeast corner of the state, but not without taking out the power in
Watkins, a town not too far from the airport.  One news report indicated that there may
have been a tornado that touched down in Watkins, but I have not heard any confirmation
of that.  Thankfully the outdoor campers at the school (including Dean) were spared being
pelted with hail.  I fear that not a lot of the tents would have held up against such
fury from Mother Nature.  The damaged cars and siding on the houses shown on the news
certainly came out the losers in that battle!