Bikes are primed and ready for ride-out.
You can read the energy in the air and know what the riders are thinking and feeling about the day's ride that lies ahead. Today the charge is 106 miles up and over Independence Pass, a Pass that is usually open only two months a year--too high, too narrow, too much snow to be open more than that. Riders were quiet, focused, and rallying their physical, mental, and spiritual mettle to climb 8,000' at an altitude of greater than 12,000 feet.
The first 40 miles were sort of a tease--a mostly paved bike path from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.
A little too much traffic for peeing along the road, but we did find this conveniently located church with 21st century outdoor plumbing.
I knew I don't do well at an altitude greater than 9,000' so planned to jump in the SAG wagon at about that level, and ride up and over the summit and get dropped off at about 9,000' on the other side.
Here's a pix of the profile of the ride--worth a click on the pix to see the elevation gain. The line markers indicate where I climbed to and where I was dropped off.
A function of the aging process is that we lose about 1% of our lung capacity per year beginning at age 25 and about 2% of our overall fitness every year from age 50 forward. I consider myself only an average, everyday "athlete", even in my "youth". The gap between me and the front runners on days like today make it very apparent to me that I am clearly aging, I hope with grace and gratitude.