It’s taken me a while to put this post together for a couple reasons. One, because I am just now starting to recover from my utter exhaustion after Ride the Rockies and two, because there are so many photos I love it took me ages to go through them all to compile a blog post.
So some of you have probably heard of Ride the Rockies. It’s a 6 day bike tour across Colorado that has been happening every summer for over 20 years now. Each day, 2,000+ riders cover 60-100+ miles as they wind their way through mountain passes to a town where they’ll rest for the night before starting again the next day. The tour starts and stops in different cities each year. This year, it started in Gunnison and it ended in Fort Collins.
Well it just so happens that my husband works for the newspaper in Fort Collins. He covers the bicycle and beer scene (pretty sweet gig!) and he thought “Well, I’m already going to be covering the end of the tour since it’s in Fort Collins…I wonder what would happen if I just asked to be a part of Ride the Rockies and report on the ride each day…” Long story short, his editor thought it would be a great idea and before long, David found himself registered as a rider in the 2012 Ride the Rockies.
After months of training, the time had come for Ride the Rockies. I was able to freelance for the paper, so I got to tag along for the week taking photos and being David’s personal sherpa.Neither of us knew what to expect. We knew we’d be camping every night in a field with about 1500 other people. We knew there would be some long days. We knew we’d get tired of sleeping outside every night and chowing down Power Bars every day. But aside from that, we went into it with no expectations.
I still have a hard time describing what our 6 days were like. It was an absolute blur of bikes, music, Gatorade, pictures, people, food vendors, beautiful mountains, tents, Porta-potties, cheering, pit stops and daily victories each time we reached a new town. David did absolutely amazing. He finished the entire ride without complaining, walking or hitching a ride in the SAG wagon (vans with bike racks for riders who couldn’t make it any further due to injury or exhaustion). And let me tell you, a lot of the ride was hard. Like really hard. Like riding uphill for 7,000 feet in elevation hard. Like going up and down 2 mountain passes in 100 miles hard. Like riding for 12 hours in 90 degree heat hard. And he did it all. Watching him ride through the finish line in Fort Collins was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had!
So without gabbing on and on anymore, here’s a few photos from our time at Ride the Rockies 2012!
Along each route were “aid stations” where they had water, food, medical stations, bike repair stations and music, it was pretty cool!
Independence Pass between Aspen and Leadville was definitely one of the toughest parts of the entire ride. It was over 7,000 feet in elevation to get to the top of over 12,000 feet! This was one of the most beautiful sections of Ride the Rockies too, especially at the top!
One of the many fields where all of us camped each night. This one was in Leadville, it was really pretty!
Smoothies were bit hit at the aid stations…yum!
For riders who didn’t have awesome personal sherpas, semi trucks carried their gear from town to town, there was a lot of bags!
One of the highlights of the ride was going over Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake into Estes Park. What a beautiful road to ride!
The last day of the ride went into Fort Collins, where the finish line was. Due to the High Park fire, a good chunk of the last day had to be rerouted. Some of the roads near Masonville and Horsetooth Reservoir had been closed due to the fire, so the ride was diverted into Loveland and then into Fort Collins.
If you’re a road cyclist and ever have the opportunity, I would highly recommend signing up for Ride the Rockies! It was absolutely one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had, and I wasn’t even riding in it! It is such a cool way to see different parts of Colorado, stay in some cute little mountain towns and get in some good exercise too. Hands down one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of!