The ride began in Sargents. After reaching the summit, they ultimately parted, one east and the other west and on to the day’s other tasks.
What a ride for the two of them!
I hope those of you who were able to ride your bikes/trikes today had a good time. I had a GREAT time here in western Colorado. I only rode 20 miles, but met (in person) a wonderful gentleman whom I now consider to be my friend.
I met Rafael right on schedule, at 7 AM this morning, in the parking lot of the Tomichi Creek Trading Post in Sargents. I was still unloading my trike from the back of my truck when Rafael rolled out of the campground. We ate breakfast together and rolled out onto Highway 50 at about 7:30.
The uphill climb started immediately, though modestly at first. Traffic was fairly light, and we were able to ride side-by-side for long periods of time. I kept my eye on my rear-view mirror and, whenever traffic was approaching from behind, pulled in behind Rafael until it was clear again to pull alongside him. After about three miles, the grade became steeper, I dropped down to my small chainring, and remained there for the remainder of the climb to the top (10.2 miles total). While we both acknowledged "feeling" the effects of the altitude after we passed the 10,000 feet mark, neither of us became ill from it — no lightheadedness, no severe headache, no dizziness. Just the general feeling that, "Hey, there’s not a lot of oxygen up here, is there?" We also both enjoyed the deepening of the blue color of the sky after we passed an altitude of two miles above sea level.
As those who followed Rafael’s SPOT probably noted, it did take us just about four hours to reach the top … my iPhone’s cyclocomputer app recorded an overall average of 2.6 MPH (I did not pause it during photo op stops and the app I use does not have an auto-stop feature). I haven’t examined the full track yet, but I believe I noted that our (my) top speed during our ascent was 7 MPH. Look out, Lance Armstrong <grin>.
What impressed me most about the four hours was the amazing extent to which we were simpatico, considering that our only commonality was that we both ride Catrikes. In that four hours, I found an intelligent, articulate traveling companion, ready and able to discuss his reasoned and carefully considered views not just on education (that was a given) but on international politics, geophysics, anthropology, the environment, and theological philosophy (or was it philosophical theology?).
That an old fart from western Colorado and an educator from Florida would have so much in common amazed me throughout our 1/2 day together. Frankly, the summit of Monarch Pass came too quickly for me. I would have preferred to have our ride together continue for another two or even four hours. Alas, after an hour or so at the top (during which time Rafael was the consummate ambassador for Catrike, for triking in general, and for bicycle-touring — talking to nearly a dozen people who stopped and asked about his burdened trike (OK, face it, from the right angle, his trike does bear a resemblance to Ali Hakim’s wagon; it is bound to prompt questions)) we realized it was time to get underway again. We parted with wishes for God’s blessings on each other, and Rafael continued east while I turned back to the west.
My descent was just a bit quicker than our ascent: the 10.2 miles back to my truck took just under 22 minutes, for an average speed of 28 MPH and a top speed of 47.9 MPH.
So, how was your ride today? Anything interesting? <very big grin>
Dennis, thanks for sharing and allowing me to publish your story here. –jim