This was suppose to be the hardest day ever. Jessica and Lloyd decided to take the day off because their bodies absolutely couldn’t imagine doing 91 miles the day after doing 86! Pains in back, knees, ankles, pinkie toes and pinkie fingers, elbows, wrists, everywhere! Danielle and I were thrilled because we could show them all the good sweet parts of Pagosa Springs: the river walk, the cute shops, sweet dining. Ben, however, wanted the challenge of the ride and decided to go for it. He suited up and took off at 6 am.
After shopping and finding a few souvenirs, we strode along the path next to the river and took pictures of the hotel we want to stay at next time: they have hot springs pools right along the river bed (that is flowing with snow melt off.) What an experience that has got to be: swimming in the hot pool, right into the river. 🙂
I met a goal: I wanted to take off my shoes and wade in that beauteous river, and I did it while everyone watched. It felt luscious on my poor feet that have blisters on them the size of the full toes.
At noon, we hopped in the car to drive to our next destination: Alamosa. It is always so much fun passing the riders, although it made Lloyd (who was driving) very nervous because at times, the riders had no shoulder which forced them to ride very close to traffic. The first riders we saw were struggling up the 24 mile incline. Some looked very strong; others look as though every stroke was a huge effort. We wondered, why did they start so late? While Ben had left at 6 am, these stragglers probably had waited till 9 am or so to leave. They had a tail wind (a wind that was pushing them from behind), but it didn’t seem to help some of them much. They were making us feel sorry for them. Jess made the comment that she was feeling guilty for not riding today. I told her not to worry, that she would have plenty of other opportunities to make up for lost time and I was glad she was with us.:)
We past aid stations no 1, then 2, and guess who we saw? There was Ben waving wildly at us. There was no place to park so we didn’t pull over, but were thrilled to know Ben had made it to the summit and now the rest would be cruising downhill (his kind of riding.)
We checked into our hotel, a rather seedy looking place that turned out to be not so bad. It had an indoor pool but the pool was 5 blocks away so we never got up the energy to go to it. It even had a free breakfast at a real restaurant. 🙂 Ben called Danielle around noon and told him he had ridden 60 miles and was worn out, that he was going to take the sag wagon the rest of the way. This meant that he missed the last aid station with the free gigantic baked potato bar and all the toppings you could want. It also meant he missed the last grueling 30 miles of narrow shoulders, high winds and construction. He didn’t mind. The sag wagon was a tour bus with AC and his bike was picked up by a semi truck, and he was good. He arrived at the fairgrounds were we were eating our picnic lunch under the only tree we found in that whole city. I would not recommend Alamosa for a destination vacation! –the city had very few trees and not much character.
We had a relaxing night and prepared for the next day. We heard rumors about the fires happening all over the state, including the suspension bridge that the riders were suppose to take over the royal gorge. Our last day is suppose to be celebrated in Colorado Springs but we have heard there are horrendous fires that are threatening that city as well. In fact, 8 homes have been destroyed and over 2,000 homes have been evacuated. Canon City (our stop prior to Colorado Springs), even evacuated one of their prisons so we do not know yet if we will be re-routed or not. I am about 90% sure we will, but so far, we do not know the details. It is a huge endeavor to re-route and change hotel reservations and change the gym and high school campers will be staying at. There probably are more than 5,000 people who descend on a city with ride the rockies. I am praying fervently for all those affected by the fires.