Day 1: This is harder than I thought

Well, Day One is over, and I’m having a panic attack.

We left Glenwood before 7 a.m. and hit the road (actually, the bike trail, for a while) south toward Hotchkiss. Temperatures were in the 50s, so it wasn’t too cold. The biggest obstacles of the day were the distance — 80 miles — and the first pass, 8,700-foot McClure Pass.

We climbed pretty steady toward the pass, until we got to the 34-mile mark. The road really kicked up over the final three miles to the top, with some grades at 8 percent. I was pretty shocked by the effort. I did plenty of 8-10 percent climbs in north Arlington in preparation for RTR, but none of them were more than a quarter-mile long.

At the top of the pass (with John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High playing over the PA) we took pictures and then headed down for what we thought would be an easy 40 miles into Hotchkiss.

Turns out, though, that the run-in wasn’t so easy, thanks to a headwind. I think I ended up going a little too hard because I was so pumped up about making it up my first pass.

Either way, I felt great on the ride but absolutely horrible later in the evening, sparking the panic attack. Not sure how I can do this for five more days.

One pass down. Two to go.

One pass down. Two to go.

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