Sunday, September 12, 2010

Race Across America 2010, Chapter 6

Fitful sleep...the RV was driving through windy mountain roads and I was being launched around on the trampoline! I finally just got up and hung around for awhile waiting for Willie to finish his pull. We are outside of Pagosa Springs, and definitely in the mountains. My first pull is a short, 3.6 mile pull to get us to the main highway into Pagosa Springs. Remember, we are close to 8000 feet, and I busted it out at 172w and 15.2mph.

JV takes a short turn and then I am back on the road. We are now trying to predict pulls more accurately to stay in the 20 minute range. This means more pulls per shift, but a shorter duration. I get a pull into Pagosa Springs...20 miles to Wolfe Creek Pass. It is definitely getting dark and stormy out. Off to the left, I can see rain, lightning and snow in the mountains. JV's van ahead of us reports hail, but by the time I finish my 6.9 miles, it is just a light drizzle. I'm a bit cold and my power is down to about 165w.

I guess it's time to test out the rain gear! I'm just praying that we don't have to climb the Pass in the snow...not my idea of fun! I get another short, 6 mile pull, getting closer to the base of the pass. It's definitely getting pull I will whip out the heavy rain gear!

(my power data shows an extra pull in here that I don't remember...must have been having too much fun!).

JV gets on the road and we shuttle ahead to the sign that says "Summit - 8 miles". I get set up to go, and the rain has stopped completely! JV and I do an exchange and I start up the official Wolfe Creek Pass! I signal for music over the PA, and Bill fiddles for a few minutes until he settles on Bruce Springsteen. I'm rocking now...and I don't even like Springsteen, but the music fit the mood perfectly and I rock my way 2 miles up the Pass, enjoying the beauty! 171w never felt so good! Stan and PJ, our errand van crew, were waiting for me at the turnout, and both got big, tearful hugs as we stood there, overlooking the Valley below us, taking in the splendor.

(Side note - I think endorphins affect people differently. I get very happy and very emotional. Seems I was always getting tearful about something. What a wonderful way to spend time on the bike...except when you can't see!)

We decide to scale back the pulls to 1.5 miles. I have two more pulls to the summit, and JV will get the descent (which was fine with sounded cold, but he would get his revenge later). Another 1.345 miles at 155w (remember, we are over 10,000 feet here!), and the final 1.25 miles at 152w and I'm feeling great (note, this was about red-lined for this elevation).

JV takes off down the descent...we have a hard time keeping up with him at 55+ mph, let alone passing him to get to the RV! We finally arrive in South Fork to Willie and Kent, eager to get on the bikes!

Pagosa Springs

Leaving Pagosa Springs

Closing on Wolfe Creek Pass

Up Wolfe Creek

Getting close to the top!


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