Ride the Rockies with Lisa Crujido

I work hard, play hard, train hard and compete to my greatest ability.  But when June arrives, my full concentration turns from racing to the mountains of Colorado…..specifically, an event called Ride the Rockies, or, a.k.a. my therapy. This event never disappoints!! The course changes annually are announced on February 1st and the lottery is on March 1st (maximum number of riders = 2000).  It is hosted by the Denver Post who does a stellar job at logistics, lodging, and support.

2017 was my fourth RTR tour and my last two RTRs have been with the Davis Phinney Foundation Victory Crew.  For the first time, I was able to share this experience with one of my teammates, Tori Troche.  Our road trip started off in Prescott, AZ and early on in our trip while stopping for coffee, Tori’s bike was stolen off the back of the car! Note to self:  No matter how brief your coffee stop is, lock it up because straps are not enough to deter a thief! Good news: we were able to find an identical bike to borrow that was equipped with upgrades!  Amazingly, everything worked out and Tori had a great experience in the mountains.

This year was a southerly route and probably the nicest weather that one could ask for.  Brisk mornings of 40 degrees, warm mid-days that rose to high temperatures in the mid-80s.

For you number crunchers…7 days of cycling (add in a little pre-ride in Durango) = 481 miles, 27,404’ of climbing, and 34 hours in the saddle.  A few highlights:

Day 1: Wolf Creek Pass 10,850’.  Century day.  35 miles in, the crosswind turned to a full-on head wind and spent 3 hrs dealing with that.
Day 2: Yellowjacket pass 7,785’. Beautiful weather.
Day 3-4: Durango loop and then on to Ridgway. Iron Horse Classic on steroids – Purgatory – Coal Bank – Molas – Red Mountain Pass. Big day: 7,800 ft of climbing. 15 waterfalls.
Day 5: recovery ride
Day 6: Cerro Summit, Blue Mesa Summit. One flat tire, fast pace line into Gunnison
Day 7: Monarch Pass 11,312’.  By far, my favorite day – best climb!

Daily expectations …….. Flipping Flapjacks at aid station 1, 14-27 miles from the start, Davis Phinney Foundation VC Sag complete with Pb & j sandwiches, radio DJ at the summit playing John Denver music (what else??), contests and games, amazing vistas, tough climbs, fast downhills, great host towns with street parties and beer gardens, DPF VC camp at headquarters complete with chocolate milk, turkey wraps, and “what’s in that cooler” refreshments.

There is so much more to experience during this week and each day, each year is so different from the others.  For me, it is the one time of the year that I can count on working hard without necessarily racing. And it is great interval training!! I would hands-down recommend this event for those of you looking for a climbing challenge. And if you are looking for a fun group of cyclists, riding for a great cause, consider riding with the Victory Crew of the Davis Phinney Foundation….check it out!


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