Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ride the Rockies 2015: Day Five - Cottonwood Pass

Miles ridden today: 102.8
Elevation gain: 5,812 feet
Time in saddle: 8 hours, 21 mins

Total miles ridden: 358.92
Total elevation gain: 23,849 feet
Total time in saddle: 30 hours, 35 mins 

One of the reasons I wanted to do this ride was to see parts of this beautiful state that I didn't know.  Today, I certainly met that goal and saw some spectacular scenery.

With 102 miles ahead of me between Crested Butte and Salida, it was an early start. The route took me around Taylor Park Reservoir, up and over Cottonwood Pass (at 12,126 feet above sea level),
down through Buena Vista, past Mt Princeton Hot Springs and into Salida.

Given that a picture is worth a thousand words, I will write less but let you know how much I enjoyed stopping, somewhat frequently, to take these photos.  I was grateful for the panorama feature on the iPhone 6 camera - it makes for some wonderful photographs.  All of these were taken 'as is', no filter.

This was my first ever century ride. While it was the longest of the week, it was not the hardest physically (that honor belonged to Monday) or mentally (Tuesday).  It was a beautiful, though challenging mountain ride for the first 70 miles or so. The last 30 just felt long.

At least Salida had a fun whitewater river festival going on and we had a great dinner in town.
Chapel outside Buena Vista

Blogging about this ride for a week would not be complete without a heartfelt expression of gratitude to my beautiful fiancee Steph.  She has been here all week as a wonderful supporter.  Not only providing perfect and much needed words of encouragement and hugs (even when I probably don't smell too good at the end of a long day of cycling!), she has also been a fabulous logistical support - driving between towns, hauling suitcases, checking in on my every need.  She is awesome and you should all know that (if you don't already!) and I adore her!

Taylor Park Reservoir

Dirt road up Cottonwood Pass

Panoramic view close to the top of the pass

view close to the top of the pass

The road I just climbed

Made it!

Rest area at the top of the pass

Whitewater festival in Salida

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