Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
47Trip End Jul 26, 2011
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Now onto today's bi-polar ride. This morning started out as maybe the best morning ever. We had an early breakfast at the Patio Pancake where I had a stack of banana pancakes that were outstanding. Since today's ride took us near the Royal Gorge Bridge a few riders (including Scott) and I decided we would split off and take the 10 mile round-trip hilly detour to the bridge. The ride from Salida to the Royal Gorge turnoff was nothing less than stunning. We were bombing downhill through an incredible canyon alongside the raging Arkansas river for forty miles before we took our first stop. We rode with the "A-Team" which was a first for me
The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist trap of the highest order (just click the link and you'll see what I'm talking about). It felt like I was walking into a six flags, complete with the outrageous admissions price ($25), merry-go-round and fountain in the plaza, gift shops, overpriced ice cream and pizza shops, and amusement rides. The only thing worth seeing was the Royal Gorge Bridge itself, and in my opinion, it was less impressive than the Golden Gate Bridge, which was free. The Royal Gorge Bridge is a rickety bridge with wooden slats across the deck that spans a relatively short distance over a large and scenic canyon. We had some fun riding our bikes across it and taking pictures on and around the bridge..
The day started with cool morning air, consistent down-hills, beautiful scenic canyons, and a strong tailwind. The day ended in 100 degree heat with roaring crosswinds or headwinds, and rolling hills. As Scott put it, the last 30 miles of the trip had the three "H"s that are never invited to a cycling party, "Heat, Hills and Headwinds". We had a support stop about 30 miles from Pueblo that offered us food and water but little shade and relief from the hot sun. Scott and I hung on with the A-Team all the way to that stop, but after about eight miles of trying to keep up with them while also competing with the three Hs, I had to drop off. Dad wasn't interested in suffering any more in the heat to take the extra trip to the bridge so he was about at the hotel when Scott and I dropped off on our own in the hot hilly suffer-fest. I was so thankful that I was riding into a rest day.
Scott and I finally rolled into the hotel and standing in the elevator I realized that I had never been more exhausted in my life
Dinner was my first experience at a Golden Corral. Not to sound judgmental, I know riding my bicycle every day doesn't make me any better than the next person at the buffet, but... well, I better not say anything. My mother always reminds me of what Thumper said in Bambi; I think that applies on my blog as well. For the record, I had a great time at Golden Corral. I didn't pig-out... I just didn't have the appetite for it, but I thought the food was decent and I liked the wide selection I got. I had a steak that was yummy with an assortment of vegetables and a huge salad with all sorts of toppings. I wouldn't be opposed to going to more Golden Corrals in the future.
Distance: 105.91 mi - 1,476.52 total
Time: 6:26:07 - 103:06:20 total
Elevation Gain: 5,822 ft - 63,911 total
Av. HR: 139 bpm - 130 overall
Calories: 6,536 - 101,521 total
Flat Tire Count:
I did almost nothing on my day off, which is exactly what I planned on doing. I slept in, walked to lunch with Dad and Scott (which should have been Chipotle, but it was closed permanently. Then it was going to be Arby's, which ended up being closed for remodeling. It was ultimately Boston Market, which has never been more than a huge disappointment. Golden Corral quality food without any where near the choices is not a good combination.) We cleaned our water bottles, our bikes and our clothes
Tomorrow we leave at 5 am to beat the heat on our 121 mile ride. I intend to ride a few extra miles to score my first "double metric century" (a 200-km ride (124.27 mi)). The conditions won't be ideal, but we do have some downhill to our advantage as we descend from the Rockies to Kansas. It may not be fun, but I will survive (and here's a Bowling Palace worthy 90's music video to end the blog).