Mountain Flyer: On the Road
As I pumped up my tires in the cool morning air, I was excited to begin our 93-mile day from Steamboat, Colorado to Meeker, Colorado. The road profile looked mainly flat with a few inconsiderable climbs. Morning temps were cool with a slight breezy and a cloud filled sky.
It was the first of four riding filled days, traveling from Steamboat to Park City with a group of Smartwool employees and reps. With many miles to go people seemed nervous yet excited about the pavement that lay ahead. As we rolled on, I chatted with an assortment of personalities from a variety of different places. Riders came from as far away as New Hampshire to take part in the annual ride to the Outdoor Retailer show.
Tim Reinhardt, a Smartwool/Timberland employee from Seattle, Washington offered advice to riders new to the sport of road cycling. “When you are pulling through don’t speed up, keep your speed consistent.” He explains to a rider. Tim previously raced road professionally, but now works as Field Service Rep. Traveling around the Northwest, giving clinics about Smartwool and Timberland products to store employees.
Cycling is a social sport. Whether it is at races, rides, or just showing them around our local trails. Riding bikes is something that brings people together. The joy and suffering shared during even a short ride is enough to bring people together. This is why Smartwool chose to do a multi-day bike ride just before a very busy week of work. “It is a very refreshing few days, before a bunch of work.” Said Mavis Fitzgerald of Backbone Media, who is in charge of Public Relations for Smartwool. “It’s also a great way to get to know people you talk to a lot via email or on the phone, but never really spend time with.”
Riding the first day is somewhat uneventful, except for one minor crash in the first few miles and countless flat tires due to excessive amounts of road debris. Arriving in Meeker, riders were greeted with lunch from the support vehicles and a dip in a chilly Rocky Mountain river.
The first evening was filled with beer drinking and hot tubbing at the surprisingly nice Meeker hotel. We were treated to an Italian Dinner to fill us with carbs for the next days 110 miles of pavé. Ice cream and milkshakes at a local ice cream shop was a great way to finish out the first day in the saddle.
Day 2 was another early day. With the alarm clock going off at 6 am, (I was fortunate enough to start in the second wave leaving at 7), riders were already heading out as I walked down for breakfast. It was supposed to be a hot, sun scorched day on the pavement. Temps ended up reaching the mid 90s, which turned out to be extremely warm riding in direct sunlight.
We were fortunate enough to have pretty smooth troublesome roads for a majority of the day. Our last stop of the day in Dinosaur, Colorado proved to be the turning point for our luck. The final 30 miles of riding included a 20-mile chunk of freshly chip-sealed pavement. Forcing riders to hug the rumble strip filled shoulder, making this possibly the hardest section of the entire ride. Mentally, riding on such soft pavement is demoralizing, especially after 80 miles of riding.
After that stretch of road the remaining miles went quickly and we were welcomed by a cool dip in the hotel pool. Right across the street from our hotel (next to the pizza hut and wal-mart, probably the best hotel location of the trip) was an authentic Western ranch store, which pulled easily pulled a few of us in. In hopes of finding a one of a kind cowboy shirt, we searched the store looking interestingly out of place with our Smartwool (knee high) compression socks on. Dinner included an overdose of pizza hut pizza, leaving us all extremely satisfied with the day’s activities. Surprisingly enough the evening also included a trip for milkshakes to wrap up the scorcher of a day. More updates to come from the road.
|Happy to be off the 20 miles of chip and seal, we stop and pose for a photo.||Another couple riders glad to be done with the dreaded chip and seal section.||A big group stops to refuel after the slowest 20 miles of the day.|
|A lonely climb outside of Vernal, Utah.||Turned out to be a beautiful day for a bike ride.|