The start was at the park-and-ride off of C-470 in Littleton at 4am. The climbing starts immeidately, covering 7000' in the first 50 miles to Kenosha Pass. I told myself to take it easy to start, and I did for a while, but I was feeling really good. 2nd in to the checkpoint at Conifer, and 2nd at Kenosha Pass. (1st place was long gone, he was trying for sub-10 hours). The next 60 miles through South Park to Buena Vista were tough - two smaller passes and strong headwinds the whole way. I was wishing I had gone a little slower just to ride this section with some other riders. Dropped to 3rd when I had to get some water in Fairplay, and maintained that position to the check point in Buena Vista.
Then I slowly started to run out of gas. At least there was a tailwind up the Arkansas valley, and I traded pulls with Steve until the Rte 82 turnoff to Twin Lakes. Really bad westerly headwinds off the lakes nearly stopped me in my tracks, and unfortunately I had to let Steve go. Needed to regroup at the Twin Lakes checkpoint.
Again I was overtaken for 4th place by the day's 2nd place women's finisher. She had just been clipped on the helmet by a camper's wing mirror! Thankfully she stayed upright, but the camper did not stop, and she was rightfully both shaken and extremely pissed off. She stormed out of Twin Lakes and went on to finish 4th, a half hour faster than me.
I'd had enough of Perpetuem, so after a Mountain Dew and Hostess Cupcakes, the endurance fuel of champions, I headed for Independence Pass. I was not feeling good, but recovered on the long rollers to the base of the pass, and found to my surprise that I was enjoying the climb. Alternating headwind and tailwind depending on which switchback you were on, but a really nice steady climb, topping out over 12,000'!
|Final break at Independence Pass|
30 downhill miles to the finish at the Woody Creek Tavern, one of Hunter S. Thompson's former hang-outs. Final time of 12:49, 5th place, and first in my age group. And the back felt strong!
OK, that's two 5ths in a row - time to step up a spot or two at the Death Ride, the next round in the Colorado Triple Crown series on July 3rd!
1. Mark Lowe 10h 4min
2. Andrea Koenig 11h 39min
3. Steve Rudolph 12h 5min
4. Diane Benoit 12h 17min
5. Michael Henderson 12h 49min