There is a time for ego and there is a time to come to grips with reality – reality hit me square between the eyes today and it came in the form of an unrelenting climb. The truth is that the Grand Mesa kicked this Michigander’s butt. I did Berthoud Pass last year, so I was filled with all kinds of confidence that this climb would be no different – boy was I wrong! The ascent (as you well know) had no flat recovery areas – even though I begged for them to come. There was no shade, so not only did the climb test me, but the sun did as well. All that was left to do was to keep pedaling – there was a moment that my average speed was a blazing 4.99 mph and I was all right with it because I was going all out.
I want to thank all those Coloradans with all their extra red blood cells for all their encouragement. I can only assume that “onya leff” is an Native American word for “you’re doing great” because I heard that pretty much the entire way up! And just when I thought I was done climbing and the pain would finally recede, I left Cedaredge and was unpleasantly surprised by MORE CLIMBING. No, it wasn’t as bad as the climb up the Grand Mesa, but mentally it crippled me. At that moment it turned into more of a mental battle than a physical one. I found myself looking at my odometer about every other minute, which was a big mistake because it NEVER moved! I was never more happy to see a finish line than I was today. Thank you people of Hotchkiss for the warm reception – I thought somebody must have told you what kind of day I had and that you were cheering just for me! THANK YOU!