The day started out kinda cloudy, which was nice, since it kept away the heat. Swan Mountain is a shorter, steeper climb, so we all kind of separated right away.
We had all kind of separated on the climb and coming down, I was colder than ever. I felt like I couldn't wait because I didn't want to get chilled, so I continued onto Keystone.
Riding through Keystone was beautiful and where the sun came out.
It is also where I got lost. If there is one area that the CRMBT can improve on it is signage and directions. There were many people that got lost at many different points in the ride-- not just me. Anyways, it was kind of good I got lost because by the time I found my way back, I got to hook-up with the rest of the group. Yay!
So, we continued on through Keystone, went a few more miles before passing this:8 miles of pure climbing. Great. Well, this will be a warm-up for tomorrow, I thought. (28 mile climb.) Luckily, there was an aid station a mile after this. We re-grouped and I told myself "just" 7 more miles.
So I went and I went and I went. I saw people pull off and take breaks. I thought about it, but then I thought I might not start up again. So, I continued on. I passed A-Basin, where we ski, and thought it was only going to get worse. I have driven over the pass and the switchbacks had to be the worst part. Ironically, when I got there, they weren't. They only seemed easier than what I had gone through. Hallelujah! So, up, up, up I went. I could see the end. Well, kind of. I knew where it was. Just up there.We passed that bend and there was still about the longest mile I had ever ridden (until the next day). But, I was excited, I was at treeline. That means 12,000 feet baby! I looked at my Garmin, which read just over 12,000 and I was happy.
After lunch it was another ten miles or so to Idaho Springs, our final destination for the day. It was time to settle in for the day. I met Sue at our hotel just outside of town. We went for some drinks, appetizers and later met up with a bunch of the group staying at our hotel for dinner.
Another good day of climbing in the books. Steeper and longer, but I knew nothing like what we had to look forward to. The following day we would be climbing Mt. Evans (if we so chose to) and that had me nervous. Still, I enjoyed my time at dinner and we settled in for a good night's sleep.