The entire experience was just fantastic!
imagined! I always wanted to do RTR and figured I would end up doing it alone or with a couple friends but never did I think I would be training, riding, sleeping, eating and playing with an entire crew!
The training was fun although there were moments when I wondered if I would be prepared. Between travel and other obligations it is hard to find/make the time to sit on your saddle for 5-8 hours both days on the weekend and a couple times during the week. In fact, the time commitment was so big that I let go of swimming almost entirely and I only ran once a week or when I traveled, which of course makes running much harder. NO regrets about the training. I was as prepared as I could be and I knew that I was strong enough to ride each day. It was always a question of how lousy I would feel getting on the saddle the next day…fortunately, aside from some wicked saddle sores, my muscles responded and I had no problems.
I think the mental aspect of doing a 6 day ride is much more challenging if you have done the physical training…especially when you know you have at least 1 if not 2 mountain passes every day. The 2014 RTR was recorded as the hardest RTR ever due to the 35,000 feet of elevation gain over 6 days. The mileage was shorter than other years but the climbing was fantastically challenging. Knowing that we were rolling into a big fat day every day was what made if extraordinary for me and the rest of the crew. AMAZING! Many years ago, thanks to my friend Laurie Nakauchi, I discovered a chip in my brain that allows me to keep going long after I want to stop and it shifted what used to seem hard so that things like RTR and the Double Triple don’t really seem that scary to me. This is not to say that they aren’t hard but for some reason I always know I can do it. It might not be pretty but I don’t fret, worry or spaz out because I know I have that chip. Phew!
My friend Barry has done RTR many years ago so he knew he could get it done too, although he has tipped 60 years old and he struggles with cramps so the heat was going to be the unknown for him. The rest of the crew, John, Keith (he has the same chip I do) Nancy, Nicole and Michele were on adventure the likes of which they had never attempted and I will always be grateful that I got to share every single moment of pride and moment of pissiness with them! Simply an incredible accomplishment for each of them to no just train for it but to get up every morning, slap on your kit, slap on a smile, slam some snacks down your gullet and pedal pedal pedal! I couldn’t be prouder and more impressed by the mental fortitude and good humor we started and finished each day. I love you guys!
We also had the very best CREW EVER! The first couple of days my college roommate and her husband, Alice and Cary, came to SAG, meet my friends and see our home. It was by far the very best birthday present I could ever receive! I have always felt like a freak compared to all my friends from Homer and college because I don’t have the same life that they all seem to have…kids, husbands, back yard parties, PTA, etc. Instead I have been running and riding around the world with friends who are as crazy as me! Sharing my life with Alice and Cary was so special I can’t even explain. The best part is that they fit right in, mocked me at every turn and made us all laugh! MAROON 4 SAG CREW was what made our experience tolerable! They met us all along the course each day with food, butt butter, drinks, clothes and laughs! Thank you so much to Alice, Cary, KB, Priscilla, Margaret and Maelynn. Special thanks to Priscilla and KB for being there at every turn with our every possible need and for humping all our stuff from hotel to hotel. We really never would have been able to do it without you!
The very best way to share the experience of RTR with anyone interested is by the photos we took.
Prep – The Davis Phinney Foundation – the organization we raised more than $20K for Parkinson’s Disease, had a soiree the night before we started! Huge thanks to the DPF crew for taking such good care of us and for doing our very nasty laundry! I was so proud to ride with the DPF name on my kit! I am incredibly grateful to the DPF team of Polly, Lauren, Jenna and Cydney for taking great care of us and for committing your time and energy to helping support people with PD!
Day 1 – HAHAHA! Boulder to Winter Park. Gorgeous ride over the Peak to Peak highway! And there is a reason it is called Peak to Peak! Whoa did we climb! Yes, that is snow. We were not able to get over Berthoud Pass due to snow. NICE! We still covered 90+ miles and 10,550 feet of elevation!
Day 2 – Winter Park to Steamboat Springs. Phew, only 101 miles and one big fat climb up Rabbit Ears Pass into beautiful Steamboat Springs! 4,300 feet of elevation!
Day 3 - A gorgeous tour of the Yampa Valley - only 58 miles and it was advertised as a recovery day! NOT! So hard and so fun! I hooked up with some guys and blew through a great pace line! 5,300 feet of elevation gain is NOT recovery!
Day 3 – Fly fishing? YES! Our friend John Carlin took the Sag Crew fly fishing! So fun to hang with John and Quinn! Fantastic friends that I hope I get to know better and better!
Day 5 – Avon to Breackenridge – why did I think this would be easy! HAHAHAHAA! 2 big fat passes! Tennessee Pass, after we climbed Battle Mountain, and then Freemont Pass! Wicked wicked day and I LOVED IT! 78 miles and almost 6,000 feet of climbing!