The Frazier Valley quickly becomes high desert as soon as Highway 40 begins to descend from Winter Park. Evergreens give way to sage and open grasslands, and mountain peaks recede into the distance behind mesas and hills of crumbling rock. It was across this moonscape that we pedaled today in 40-ish degree weather.
The first 35 miles were mostly down hill, and we averaged close to 20 mph. As we came into the country below Muddy Pass, the hills began to reappear [along with the sun], and finally gave way to one CAT 3 and one CAT 2 climb to the top of Rabbit ears Pass. If you’re lost with all this CAT talk, you can find an explanation of the rating system here.
Today was a redemption day for me. After failing to complete the ride yesterday, my hope was to finish strong today. First you get humbled, and then lifted up in due time. Today was my day to be lifted up: 80.1 miles, 4936 feet of climbing and an avg speed of 16.6 mph…easily one of the strongest days I’ve had in the saddle.
In hindsight, I’m still recovering from the beating and concussion I received when I crashed a little more than two weeks ago. I’ve been battling tension in my back and shoulder since the crash, and these things get in the way of keeping a consistent climbing cadence. After a restorative massage last night, the body parts seemed to be working together in closer harmony. It’s downright pleasant when all the parts are singing the same words and melody, isn’t it?
Below, the view from a rest stop on the way up Rabbit Ears Pass.