With only 67 miles listed in the ride guide today seemed like it should be fairly easy. Oh how wrong I was. The first 20 miles or so were across the backroads of Delta through all the cornfields. This part of Colorado is famous for its sweet corn. Unfortunately the roads aren’t great and we spent over an hour riding some miserable roads. Being the fourth day of riding for me, my bum and crotch were already pretty sore and the rough roads were not helping. It was downright agonizing!
We finally hit the aid station in Montrose and fueled up with energy bars, grapes, and animal crackers. Dad was not having fun today and decided to take the sag wagon. I think he was exhausted. I was so impressed that he did the entire ride yesterday. He said it was the hardest thing he’s ever done on a bike. Carrie, Marge, and I rode together to Ridgeway. Much better roads but a lot more traffic because we were on the main route into Ouray. We had a wide shoulder most of the way but it still wasn’t fun having semi trucks roaring past you for hours on end.
Once we got close to Ridgeway the view improved dramatically with Sneffels on one side and Uncompaghre on the other (both over 14,000ft). The aid station was a much needed break from the monotony of the gradually uphill ride. The last 10 miles into Ouray were the hardest. The road got steeper and the temperature went up. At one point I started to overheat and had to stop in the shade and pull off my jersey. My temperature regulation has been all out of whack since I got pregnant. This was really the first time in four days that I felt too hot.
I was almost as tired when we pulled into Ouray after 67 miles as I was the day before riding Grand Mesa. They had all the campers piled into the grassy athletic field next to the famous hot springs pool. Because dad had jumped in the sag wagon, he got to spend most of the day in Ouray. He got us a good tent spot, close to the bathroom and food.
Riders have two choices for accommodations on Ride the Rockies. You can either camp for free or spend the extra money to stay in local hotels. This is my 4th year and we have always camped. Hotels get so expensive. Camping usually isn’t too bad. They always have us stay at the local high school or college campus. You can pretty much pitch your tent wherever you find room. For riders arriving late in the afternoon that can be a challenge. Tent space becomes extremely tight. Luckily we are always on nice green grassy lawns, which is heaven for camping. The high school is opened up and we have full access to the bathrooms, gymnasium, locker rooms, hallways etc. The locker room showers tend to run out of hot water by mid-day so most of us take showers in the shower trucks. If you’ve never experienced a shower truck it is quite amazing. The shower truck is a huge semi turned into 16 indoor showers. They hook the truck up to the local water supply and the large hot water heaters at the back provide a continuous supply of hot water for the entire day. Outside the truck they set up carpet, chairs, and a large sink to brush teeth, hair, put on makeup etc. It is quite an elaborate set up. The best part is you are always guaranteed hot water. The worst part is the line can be huge. The number of men on Ride the Rockies far surpasses the number of women, so the lines for the men’s shower are enormous compared to the women. Same for the bathrooms and port-a-potties. I think all us women enjoyed watching the men have to wait in line for a change. Haha!
After getting settled and showered, we walked into Ouray to the community dinner. I had lasagna and a yummy salad. They had live music and a beer garden as well. It was a fun evening and felt good to relax. Everyone was in bed early again because tomorrow was another huge day.