What the hell is Ditch the Tiara?

Redefining the word beautiful...one dirty, sweaty, bruised up mile at a time, with a few downward dogs along the way...

Friday, July 3, 2009

to hell (at 12,000+ feet) and back

4:20am came and went as I either a)snoozed the alarm or b)snoozed setting it. Either way, when we woke up at 5:20am (departure time), heart rates raced and we scrambled to get our stuff ready. We were supposed to meet Wicked Pissah at his house at 6am but had to forego that plan and meet at the corner of 75th and Hwy 66 at 6:30am with the rest of the riders. Mike was NOT happy with me. I didn't sleep well and quite honestly, knew there was a reason I needed that extra hour of zzzz's. It would come in handy later on.

Met up with about 12 or so other riders and the weather looked OK. It was cloudy but we were hopeful. The guys (and 1 girl) were really fast. Had a really hard time keeping up and totally clung to the back of the pack - was holding on for dear life and my little legs were really pedaling fast. Somewhere around mile 15 we fell off and just rode our own pace. I was much happier with that as we hadn't even gotten to Big Thompson Canyon yet. And when we did, disaster stuck! About mile 20, Mike rode over a sharp rock and it slashed both his tire and tube. Now, between us, we had 2 spare tubes but an extra tire? Yeah... not so much. Called my parents (they are visiting) and rushed them out of the house to drive out a tire from my TT bike so Mike could make the switch. We waited for 2 hours (thanks Mom and Dad!!!) However, I was BORED within 2 minutes. We befriended a big horned sheep who gave us a little entertainment and Mike created a new superhero, "Beanie Man."

Being set back 2 hours was a total DRAG!!! Thankfully, it wasn't raining otherwise we would have been screwed. Made our way up the Canyon to our next destination, Estes Park. Unfortunately, it started to pour. We piled on the clothes (jacket, leg warmers, booties) and kept climbing. It was tough but we finally got to Estes - had ridden 44 miles and I had a total meltdown. The rain was really getting to me and when I looked towards Rocky Mountain National Park, the black, ominous skies, well, I got pissed. and I cried. a lot. Mike had to slap some sense in to me and told me we would keep going. I just wanted to ride back to the car. Screw Trail Ridge. but I sucked it up, or more appropriately, I HTFU'd but man, was it hard to get my head back in the game.

We shed our warm clothing when the sun came out. Paid our $20 to get into the park and the ranger told us we had about 3500 more feet of climbing to do over 22 miles. Piece of cake I thought...as long as there's no more rain. BUZZKILL. about 45 minutes later, started raining again. WTF. On went the clothes. Got to the top of the road that would then lead us to Trail Ridge and I totally debated calling it a day when my parents stopped. Mike and I sat in the car, mulling over the situation when the rain stopped. Crap. Shed the warm clothes. Off we went.

One direction the skies were blue and in the other, black. Mother Nature could not make up her mind today. We saw the Wilson's somewhere around mile 55 or so. They explained what was ahead - and I thought we were in the clear - literally, it looked like the weather had finally broke. Got to the observation deck and hooked to the left, where we were riding into what I can only describe as HELL. It was black, it was pouring rain and it was windy. I guess the temperature was somewhere around 44 degrees. No amount of clothing would protect us at this point.

At approximately mile 62, I called it a day. I stopped and huddled behind a parked car for about 20 minutes until someone finally stopped to help me. If I could have gone fetal and sucked my thumb, I would have...Ricidulous! I have no idea how Mike had the will to go on, I had almost been blown off my bike at 12,000+ feet. It was the scariest moment of my entire life and I thought no ride is worth risking death. We finally met up with parents as they had come back to get Mike too. I learned a lot about myself today. I can wear pink, cry like a little girl, almost get blown off the side of a clifee and still ride my bike up 9,000+ feet of roads in the pouring rain. I am one bad-ass little Tiara Ditcher...boom boom POW!

1 comment:

knopfler said...

solid.
I haven't forgotten your arm warmers - they are on there way..

(boom boom POW!)