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Estes Park, CO

July 12, 2012

Today was absolutely the most challenging ride of the trip.

Within a 2 miles of leaving the host, we were already on hills so steep that we were by only in our granny gear, but many of us were out of the saddle in our granny gear.

I was honestly ready to give up 3 miles in when I got to our first flat resting place to see a team member throwing up in a bush. After turning the corner we were greeted by a steep downhill gravel road that took us back down lower than where we had started. That felt terrible. Icing on the cake was that the road was not only downhill, but also unpaved. The gravel and sand of the road was so dangerously loose from the day prior’s rain that we had to walk our bikes down the hill.

The climb up to Ward is something I would never like to speak of again. It was grueling, agonizing and just plain terrible. Why of why are we on compact drivetrains!?!?

In Ward, many of the cyclists we had met headed back down to enjoy the decent, but we had many miles left to cover, and couldn’t indulge in such a luxury. We kept heading for Estes Park.

The climb let up a bit, so we could finally look around and take in our surroundings.

The first series of descents were beautiful and certainly an excellent treat. One of my teammates, Chris, took some videos of the ride which I will hopefully be able to share with you!

After a few short descents, we climbed right back up before hitting Peak to Peak road.

Along Peak to Peak, my teammate Ali lost a screw from one of her cleats that resulted in her not being able to unclip from her pedals. One of her shoes could not be taken off of her pedals, so whenever we stopped she hobbled around attached to her bike.

We finally made it to lunch. This was the most earned lunch of the trip, but unfortunately for Ali, she was at the mercy of someone helping her undo the velcro on her attached shoe before she was free from her bike. She then ate lunch with one shoe on, while her other hung attached to her pedal.

After lunch, we kept climbing and climbing. It was a beautiful climb, and the 7 mile decent into Estes Park made it all worth it. It was surreal.

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