On day three of the tour, we rode from Alamosa, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. It was a steady climb out of Alamosa for about 30 miles before we got into some rollers. From there it was a combination of rollers and climbing over two passes I hadn’t done before – La Manga (10,320 ft.) and Cumbres (10,022 ft.).
(Gale happily climbing LaManga. The ribs are tolerating eight pedal strokes out of the saddle today. Progress!)
While we had some tailwinds yesterday, today began and ended with unfavorable wind. Not just a little wind. It was relentless, strong wind that was blowing in our face most of the day. Downhill sections required pedaling. Ugh.
When we first rolled out of Alamosa, we got intermingled in a big group. I hate being in a big group of riders that I don’t know and are not categorized by riding ability. I’ve seen too many accidents happen when inexperienced riders get mixed into a group of experienced riders.
While I hated the situation, I hated the constant headwind worse. I worked my way toward the front of the group and looked for wheels of those I trust.
After the first aid station, a core group of people I know, and ride with often, were able to begin a rolling paceline were no rider stayed on the front for very long. We disallowed people to enter the paceline. We were fine if they wanted to sit on the back of the group and draft, but no one was allowed into the rotation.
No matter how the race is run it always ends the same Another room without a view awaits downtown You can shake me for a while Live it up in style No matter what you do I'm gonna take you down
CHORUS: Shakedown Breakdown Takedown Everybody wants into the crowded line
Bob Seger – “Shakedown”
I offered several riders the explanation of why we rode this way:
- We ride together often and can predict what the other rider will do.
- The formation is tight to shelter people from the wind.
- Please take no offense to your personal skill level, you are likely a great rider. Unfortunately, we’ve encountered people that did not have the group riding skills to keep all of us safe.
Most riders do understand, but I know some take offense. Sorry.
I will say it is a ton of fun to ride in a group like ours. We shelter each other from the wind and do our best to work together for the good of all.
Well…with a couple of notable exceptions:
- There are some city limit sign sprints.
- State border signs count double points.
(Left to right: Bruce Runnels, Scott Ellis, Bill Frielingsdorf, me, Ron Kennedy, Todd Singiser)
Though there was plenty of good fun ramping up the speed, I don’t think anyone can tell you the sprint or king of the mountain scores.
The reward for a hard, hard day in the saddle was the best Spanish rice I’ve ever had and killer green chili. I think it was called the Fireside Inn restaurant, next door to our cabins. We walked there for linner (late lunch, early dinner) and evening pie or ice cream.
Ride time 5:00, “out” time 6:34, 80.56 miles, 16.1 mph avg., 3216 ft of climbing
In another blog, I’ll give you more information on intensity each day. In the mean time, scenery photos below.
(Most blog photos for the bike tour were taken by Del Bernhardt)