My 2nd Ride The Rockies in five years is coming to a close; only Friday’s ride remains. In ’09 on my first RTR, I was 206 lbs at the start after making Weight Watchers Lifetime membership, 196 lbs when done. In ’14, I think I’m stuck at 237 lbs start to finish, as I took literally someone’s advice that “You cannot eat enough on this ride.” Those five years and 30+ pounds made a heck of a difference in my ride, and not all of them good.
But let’s start with the good: at age 55 and with three week-long Colorado tours behind me, I feel I don’t have anything to prove. I’m incredibly envious of and impressed by the fitness, endurance, and willpower I saw in my fellow riders. I’m grateful for the Alabama Gang who accompanied me on this trip: Johnny “Country Boy” Turner, “Reverend” Paul Roberts, Dr. Jim Link and his 18-year-old son Patrick.
I know from many of you met my fellow travelers. I can’t count the times when you all said “You’re the Gasper, aren’t you?” when you heard the Alabama twang, saw my trademarked poison tree-frog jerseys, or just said hello while also saying “On your left”. Or, “Hey ‘Bama – I met your friend Johnny” or “That Paul Roberts is a great guy”.
On my first ride, I was hell-bent (and capable) of doing every mile. I had my triple-ring ’04 Specialized Allez. No so fast, my friend. This year, my ’10 Specialized Allez has a compact, and I dearly missed the small ring and the few additional gears it gave me on the climbing. Sunday’s battle with the elements, Monday’s near-century, Wednesday’s headwinds, and worrying about the health, welfare and enjoyment of my friends along for the ride have taken their toll on me.
But I’ve really enjoyed being a Peak Pedaler blogger. On this blog, we’re limited to about 500 words and several photos. I’ve kept a more detailed and photo-filled daily update for my friends and family on Facebook — you can view them all by searching for Ken DeWitt of Tuscaloosa, AL if you wish. I’m told by Reverend that several people he’s been in touch with back home say everyone is laughing hysterically and talking about the antics of The Alabama Gang from those postings.
So I’m cutting myself a bit of slack. And this morning I’m enjoying the good times, and already beginning to forget the pain of the bad. That’s how life works, right? That’s why we come back for more, time and again.