Stage 5, Wednesday, June 28
Start - Avon. Finish - Snowmass Village
102 miles / 164 kms
8,850 feet / 2,700 meters
Highest Point - 12,095 feet / 3,687 meters
Passes - Battle Mountain, Tennessee Pass and Independence Pass
Ride Time: 6:04:41
Stage Time: 3:27:58
TSS/Suffer Score: 326
Position on Day: 60
Overall GC Position: 70
50-59 Male Position on Day: 4
50-59 Male GC Position: 7
Haute Quote: "Independence Pass...it's just brutal."
"Stick like Velcro to Volker." Those are the last words I hear from my Team Director (aka Mrs. Bucket Ride) before I head to the start line. makes it crystal clear I'm not to lose any more time to him today, and if possible, gain back the precious seconds I lost yesterday.
(Read the Bucket Rider's Despatches From Each Stage of the MHRR)
(Catch up with all of John's Haute Route training HERE)
(Read Granfondo.com's preview of the Mavic Haute Route Rockies)
Now the real competition starts at the foot of Independence Pass. With 17 miles of road and 4,000ft of climbing up to the snow covered summit there is no easy way up this beast. It hurts - everyone.
Our group now dwindles to 10 riders, including Volker and my riding pals Sauli and Brooke.
I'm on Volker's wheel.
As we grind slowly up the mountain riders struggle to turn pedals, keep fatigue at bay and breathe. Several times I think "That's it. I'm done". Somehow I manage to hang-in until things ease up a bit.
I'm spent, wasted, done.
Volker rolls over 20 seconds later.
Mission accomplished. 30 seconds gained today.
Tomorrow we do it all again...106 miles from Snowmass Village to Crested Butte including 45 miles of dirt and my most hated climb - ever, Kebler Pass.
John is a former faux pro cyclist enjoying life as a geriatric rider in search of great bucket rides to keep him in shape and out of trouble - well, at least in shape.
He writes about his Bucket Rides in all their variety and glory for Granfondo.com. See his other pieces here.