Done. Dusted. The 2019 Ride the Rockies is in the books. And what a ride it was. Great job to all 1750 who participated in the 34th running of this one-of-a-kind tour. Just like the rest of the week, Saturday’s weather was all but perfect, making the mostly flat 31-mile pedal from Gunnison to Mount Crested Butte a breeze.
Well…except for that final climb up to the Crested Butte Mountain Resort base area. But honestly you can’t have a day without a least one challenge. And hey, most of that final ascent was on the town’s super scenic rec path that winds along the base of its namesake mountain. It was a perfectly appropriate end to this magical week on the bike.
So what did the week entail? Glad you asked. Here are just some of the salient numbers (based in part on my personal GPS data; yours may vary).
Days ridden: 7
Miles covered: 431
Feet climbed: 26,287
Tour high point: 12,095 at summit of Independence Pass
Continental Divide crossings: 2 — Monarch and Independence Pass
Primary towns visited: 6 — Crested Butte, Gunnison, Buena Vista, Snowmass, Carbondale, Hotchkiss
Aid stations: 26 + 2 water stops
Best aid station: wine samples anyone
Bananas eaten: 1500 pounds or about 4500 total bananas
Water gulped: 3000 gallons per day or roughly 2 gallons per person
Cokes drank: about 6000
Bags of chips scarfed: about 9000
Honey Stinger product consumed: 10,000 units (waffles, gels, chews)
Oldest rider: 87
Youngest rider: 10
Volunteers: 77 traveling with tour + 100 locals in each community — all of you were amazing
Colorado State Patrol along for ride: 7 — thank you, thank you, thank you
Eddyline Beer chugged: literally boatloads
Memories created: enough to last 1750 lifetimes
Best part of the week? Where to begin… How about zero rain; the raging waters of the Arkansas River (and all the other rivers, creeks, and streams); climbing Monarch Pass, climbing Independence Pass, climbing McClure Pass; descending all those passes; rolling countryside so green even the band of Irish riders were wowed; massage therapy; reliable tech support; enough majestic mountain views to fill a volume of coffee table books; working together in pacelines to break through the wind; Black Canyon; Blue Mesa Reservoir; the best tailwind ever on day 6; live music; amazing host communities that welcomed all with open arms; that guy on the side of the road ringing his cowbell and cheering — every day; making new friends; reconnecting with old ones; being on the bike enjoying life.
Who’s ready for Pedal the Plains?
~ Jason Sumner