Day 2: It’s all in your head

Woke up this morning feeling much better than when I went to bed. My legs (quads!) still hurt and my stomach has been better, but a little sleep (albeit in a tent) did wonders.

My plan was to ride to the first rest stop (in Crawford, at 11 miles) and see how I felt. And so on. I hate to say it, but I was so freaked last night that I could easily have been talked into heading home. I’m blaming the altitude (since Hotchkiss is below 5,500 feet, it’s possible that I’m just a big baby).

Anyway, today we faced a long, gradual climb right off the bat and then a little downhill before a mostly flat run-in to Gunnison.

We did have to climb about 1,300 feet in nine miles (between mile 25 and 34) and I was a little nervous about that.

I basically continued to feel bad until the second aid station. But as we started the steeper part of the climb, I felt better and better and once we got to the top — and saw the view of the North Rim of the Black Canyon — I was having a great time. And feeling kind of sheepish about my terror moment last night.

My buddy Kevin, an AME at the Denver Post, climbs up to aid station 3.

My buddy Kevin, an AME at the Denver Post, climbs up to aid station 3.

Today’s was another 80-mile ride, but the scenery was amazing. After the Black Canyon, we descended to Blue Mesa Reservoir and had a view of the massive body of water for much of the way home.

This time, I was restrained on the flat roads home, staying at around 15 mph except when the tailwind kicked up. I was in a much better frame of mind when we arrived at the campsite at Gunnison Community School.

Tomorrow, Monarch Pass!

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