The Queen Stage – Third Day

002In multi-day cycling events [known as stage races], the most difficult day is referred to as the Queen or penultimate stage.  As I write and sip on coconut water, I must confess that today’s stage was more of a prince than a queen. I certainly did aspire to a more royal result, but I hit the proverbial wall 1500 feet below the summit of Berthoud Pass – and elected to shuttle 10 miles.

HOWEVER…there’s more to the story. There were three CAT 4 climbs, two CAT 2 climbs and one climb rated HC – which means nothing is harder. Due to construction we had an unexpected detour on Squaw – Juniper Pass [11, 040], which added enough difficulty to bump the climb rating to HC. In the process we climbed 3838 feet without a break – which is a new personal best for me.

In the end it takes core strength more than leg strength to climb. After some back spasms and two more attempts after resting, I made the call to Deb. A friend of mine calls this going 10 rounds with a gorillaSome day are like that. More importantly, I’m basking in the afterglow of the most compelling and beautiful ride that I’ve ever done.

In three days we’ve ridden 185 miles and climbed 17,123 feet.

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