Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 12_July 16-->Buena Vista, CO

Bikes are primed and ready for ride-out.
Bikes ready for roll out2
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.
40 miles of bike path 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.
21st century 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.
Route Profile
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.

The views on the up and the down were nothing short of breathtaking. Here are a few to whet your appetite to visit sometime soon.
independence pass summit3
Independence Pass Summit

river by bike path
road to be traveled
road to be traveled2
and upper up

Sure beat riding on the interstate :)


Sharon Hirsch said...

Good morning! Or good evening by the time you get this. What beautiful scenery. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your blog. It refreshes my spirit. Looking forward to riding with you when you get back. Love, Sharon

andrea said...

Hi Susan,
Ella and I are SO enjoying reading your blog and looking at your travel log photos. What a wonderful journey -- physical and spiritual.

We've been posting your progress at church on the "big map." Yesterday was the Ice Cream Social. It was a bigger than expected turn out, despite the RAIN!

Thank you for sharing your trip with us -- wishing you continued good health and a safe journey.

Best, Andrea

Susan said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying my ride! Looking forward to sharing stories with you when I get back.