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.
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!