After surviving 110 miles of riding on Day 1 for the Smartwool Ride to OR Show it was time for the Queen Stage, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is Part II of the Ride to OR. If you missed Part I, head here first.
Ride to OR Day 2: Granby to Estes Park 73 miles
Cold. That’s the best way to state how Day 2 started at 6 AM when we rolled out. It was 42 degrees; I didn’t have full finger gloves, and I didn’t put on my jacket or vest. Clearly, my mind was not on point. I was even so cold that I was nauseated, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it. At the first rest stop, I took some Advil and got on my cycling vest. Thankfully as I warmed up my stomach started feeling better.
We had time cuts for today’s ride since we were going through Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road. First up was getting into the park by 8 AM. I took the below picture while riding so I could make my time cut. The beginning of the park is a nice mellow ride with gorgeous views. I just wanted to stop and look around for wildlife, but that wasn’t in my timeline.
Stopping became more frequent the higher the road went. Having pushed myself hard the day before and knowing that I was heading up over 12,000ft I had to pace myself. I also had to take what I liked to call oxygen breaks. These included me just stopping to catch my breath. Going from sea level to over 2 miles high in a few days was tough. I was determined to make it the whole day without getting in the sag car so I had to pay close attention to what my body was saying.
The nice thing was that there were plenty of beautiful spots to stop and take an oxygen break. When you are on a bike you are traveling much slower than the cars (on the way up) so you really get to take in the views from the road.
When I finally made it to the top of Trail Ridge Road I was almost hyperventilating. Holy cow! I rode my bike up over 12,000ft in Rocky Mountain National Park. As a huge fan of our National Parks, this was such a big deal for me. It was a very special way to see the park. As I was catching my breath for the descent I told myself I would be back one day to hike in the park, but now it was time to enjoy 20 miles of almost completely downhill riding into Estes Park. The hard work for the day was over and now the fun of chasing cars was on. I did stop though at the Visitor’s Center in Estes Park to get a National Park Passport Stamp for my book (because I am a National Park Geek!)
Ride to OR Day 3 here!