Elizabeth Philbin

Kim Sharp-LeybaPeak Pedalers 2019

Spring at 9,000 feet in Crested Butte, Colorado typically means it’s time to bust out the road bike from storage. In a primarily mountain bike town, it’s often the only time road bikes are spotted cruising around the Gunnison Valley. Road bikes make their appearance as we wait for our single track to melt out. With snow and cold temperatures most days this spring, road bike season has still hardly even started. Instead of planning which route to take for a ride, it’s been, which stationary bike should I hop on today? Intervals and longer rides are a little more interesting when you let your mind wander thinking about Independence Pass, McClure Pass and Taylor Canyon, all familiar places we’ve been before and destinations we will see soon. The gym views aren’t bad here in Crested butte, but wind on the face and getting up high will be even more cherished this Ride the Rockies. Until then, I’ll continue to embrace the bike to nowhere!

Our riders on the Adaptive Sports Center Team are from seven different states and Puerto Rico, so luckily, everyone on the team has had better training weather than our ASC staff. Jose Santiago, one of ASC’s long time RTR cyclists is located in Denver, CO. He stays in touch with many of our riders throughout the year. Most team members have been riding independently during the week and then going on strenuous rides together on weekends to train. Jose gets out every week and focuses on climbing at least twice a week. With over 28,000 feet of climbing on Ride the Rockies, Jose prepares by getting 2,000-3,000 feet of climbing in on every ride.

Getting training miles in is a huge part of a successful Ride the Rockies, but it’s not the only prepping we’ve been doing. The Adaptive Sports Center’s staff has been out of the saddle and arranging logistics since early January. Our main purpose for Ride the Rockies is to provide support to our riders so they can focus on tackling the ride. We arrange lodging at local hotels through coordination with Ride the Rockies and Summit Cycle Solutions. We provide flights for our veterans and transportation to and from the airport. We provide meals throughout the week. We try to eliminate the challenges of logistics, so our riders can focus on what they’re here to do and what they’ve trained hard to do. Once the ride kicks off, our SAG vehicles are prepped with bike tool kits, water, snacks and first aid. We are able to transport all of our bikes, including handcycles. We provide SAG when needed so our riders can focus on various sections of the ride over others.

When asking Jose what tips he has for first time RTR cyclists, he says, he just learned about the differences in chamois. There are long distance chamois that can make a difference in your RTR experience. Check those out!

While road biking is what brings us together, Jose is most excited about being with the whole crew, ASC staff included, for a week. We encourage riding together on and off throughout the week because socialization is an important part of the week as well. For our first time riders, we look to our returners to mentor and provide support throughout the tour. Digging deep and helping each other through makes it easier.

The temperatures are rising in the mountains and it’s more than time to get out and explore the Gunnison Valley. We are looking forward to sharing our small town so more people can experience the joy of Crested Butte! See you soon and bike for now!

Elizabeth Philbin