For those of you who do not know, RIDE THE ROCKIES is a bike tour that allows a maximum of 2,000 riders to join. This year there were 2,200 (I guess they had soft hearts and allowed a few more in.)–every year they bike around 60 to 90 miles a day, every day for a week, through the mountains. They provide all kinds of support to the bikers along the way: food, first aid, fixes to bikes, gyms or out door areas for sleeping bags and/or tent camping, and lots of camaraderie. They also provide stations all along the route for rest and rejuvenation–will provide water and food, and stations for fixing bikes if needed.People like me will tag along in order to have a nice vacation and provide support to our family members who are riding. This year, Danielle, I and baby Benjamin (11 months old) were support, while her husband, Ben, my husband, Lloyd, and our daughter, Jessica, rode the roads of the mountains. It was an amazing experience and I will try and encapsulate it here. You may also read more about the experiences by going to Jessica’s blog and reading the account from a riders’ perspective:
The night prior to starting on our 7 hours trip to Telluride, I spent the day trying to get ready. I had everything under control. I babysat the baby so Danielle could get some work done during which I baked granola bars, and sewed some much needed T-shirts. Jess wanted all of us to advertise the Reporter Herald. Therefore, Lloyd and I wore jerseys that said:”My daughter works for the Reporter Herald”; Danielle wore: “my sister is a reporter for the Reporter Herald” and Jess wore “I am a reporter for the Loveland Reporter Herald.” Even the baby wore “My aunt is a reporter for the Loveland Reporter Herald.” Someone on the trip joked with Jess that she should be wearing a jersey that said, “My dad is wearing a jersey that says I am a reporter for the Loveland Reporter Herald.” Jess made all the logos but I had to iron them onto t-shirts and sew Lloyd and Jess’ onto their special jersies. We even added Ride the Rockies logos on the front of each t-shirt. They turned out pretty cool. Then when we went to get the UHaul trailer, we realized all 5 bikes (including Ben’s recumbent which will take up most of the base in the trailer,) plus Benjamin’s bike trailer, plus all our luggage and tents and sleeping bags for Jess and Lloyd and the baby’s pack and play small crib, could not fit into the 4X8 trailer as is. So, the genius that Lloyd is, he had to build a shelf in the trailer –that meant a trip to Home Depot at 7 pm and sawing and screwing until 9 pm. It turned out perfect and everything fit! But Lloyd and I still had to pack.
I THOUGHT I could get to bed at a reasonable time, but that all changed of course. I got to bed at 1 AM and Lloyd had to finish up work stuff—he crawled into bat at 2 AM and we were all up at a crisp 4:15 AM so we could get a good start to our drive. (we wanted to make it to Telluride with plenty of time for the threesome (Lloyd, Ben and Jessica to check in), and then carouse the vendors.
In spite of a very squirmy baby, causing us to have to stop about every 3 hours, we arrived into Telluride at 3:30 pm or so. Benjamin actually did quite well. It was delightful hearing him sing along with us when we tried to comfort him. A 7 hour drive is no fun for adults, but even worse for a baby. A couple of times I dozed off and was awakened by a screaming baby because his ears hurt—the altitude change was to blame and of course he does not know how to yawn to help his ears to pop. We gave him lots of juice and milk to help him but of course when screaming, he could not close his mouth long enough to swallow. 🙂
JUNE 8, 2013 The beginning of Ride the Rockies, from a support – persons’ point of view
ARRIVAL INTO TELLURIDE, COLORADO: Have you ever in your life experienced a format where 2,000 riders and all the support staff and families descended upon a city and set up tents in the back yard of a school or set up sleeping bags in one of three gyms? They had two gyms for early risers (strict rules include lights out at 9:30 pm), and the other required lights out at 10:30 pm –that was for late risers. –it was quite a site, but well organized. They had gobs of venders—Jess was even able to get the brakes on her bike oiled and fixed for free and she was able to buy several pairs of socks she realized she needed. Lloyd purchased a rear view mirror for his helmet and Ben tried to purchase a jacket to keep himself warm during the early morning hours but none fit him—even the XXL seemed like it would fit but the arms came to his elbows. So he went away with no new equipment but other than that, my men and Jess were ready for the 70 mile ride they embark on the next day.
I did not know that Telluride was the scene of a huge ski slope did you? We stayed in Mountain Village, which is at the heart of the ski slope. Bear Creek Lodge was at the foot of a ski slope and very close to a gondola (which, fortunately, runs all year—we were able to ride the gondola from our hotel to the tent city and Telluride High School)—during ski season, we would have felt like rich people, being able to hop out of our hotel room, right onto a ski lift. According to some very talkative men on the gondola, this is one of the best ski areas in Colorado—who knew? I had never heard of “Telluride” before, but of course I would not want to drive 7 to 9 hours to go skiing either, haha.