Climb out of Durango to Bayfield via Vallecito Reservoir road, to Ignacio, Arboles and toward Junction 160 to Pagosa Springs – 87 miles
Feature Below: The Mobile Showers
There were beautiful sites like old barns along the route
After yesterday’s mechanical, today I’ve switched over to ride my mountain bike. The day started with about 14 miles of climbing out of Durango. During that climb, my knees felt like the knee caps were being pushed over and out of my leg. Besides my physical pain, the air smelled of clean pines, which soon gave way to the rolling countryside.
A super efficient pancake making system
All along the tour I had heard about the pancakes that were at Aid Station #1.
Getting tired of eating the standard breakfast burrito, I thought I’d try some flapjacks.
What an amazing system! This guy had created an efficient pancake griddle, such that, the pancake batter dispenser was on a rolling system that seemed to dispense batter with the flick of a wrist. Thus, about 30 to 50 or so – pancakes could be made at once.
They were absolutely deliciously divine. I sliced some banana pieces on top and proceeded to eat 7 pancakes. (It’s all you can eat.) There was a long day ahead after all.
After the climb a wonderful, pleasant, very welcome descent began, and continued for about 35 miles after.
Also at the aid stations, along with food, liquids and the porta-potties, is sometimes an announcer that plays music and gives away limited addition Ride the Rockies tee-shirts in various contests. At one such aid station, during one of the contests, if a state patrolman would get sprayed with water, all the patrolmen would win tee-shirts.
The highway patrolmen were all very cool, this one especially
One did it! All the state patrolmen were really good guys. They went back and forth, back and forth… making sure that everything was okay, as we cyclists slooowly made our way to the day’s destination. I’m curious as to how many miles they put on their motor bikes.
The old farm houses and ranches soon gave way to sagebrush hills around Chimney Rock. The joy of descent was followed by rolling hills and a punishing gradual climb. During the ride to Arboles to Pagosa, there were times when I felt like I was totally alone because I didn’t see anyone ahead of me or behind me.
Chimney Rock - And someone with a road bike getting a sag!
I wanted to take a picture of Chimney Rock, but not at a time when I had a lot of inertia, so I took this shot (not that good of one) near the crest of a hill and caught someone getting a personal sag! We even had a tail wind during this day! I think the only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that last final push into Pagosa was a nice descent.
A welcome sign along RTR
This was one of my most favorite sites during the tour: Aid Station. The other was my sleeping bag.
A note: In my younger days, I was a bicycle racer. I like the shelter that can be awarded in a draft (behind another bicycle) but Ride the Rockies is first and foremost a bicycle tour. I think that most people have not ridden in pelotons and typically do not ride in that type of manner. Some riders ride a straighter line than others, but the common established courtesies of the peloton are different than on a tour. There definitely were operational pacelines in Ride the Rockies, but more typically, it is a tour, and I found myself and many others pushing forward alone. But that’s okay, because there were glorious showers at the day’s destination.
The Mobile Showers
After arriving in the evening’s camp, one needed to figure out where all the amenities were located.
The mobile showers above the tent village
The mobile showers in Pagosa Springs were located at the top of the hill in the two semis.
Unfortunately, yet another hill needed to be climbed in order to shower. On that particular day, I hoofed it up the hill and after getting to a shower stall, I realized that I had forgotten to bring a towel. This almost made me cry, but as I went through my clothes (cycling clothes were really stinky and were out of the question) I found an extra tee-shirt that could be used in the place of a towel.
I love these shower trucks
There are two sections of showers in each semi truck. Each section seemed to have about 8 shower stalls.
Notice the row of sinks off to the side
On the other side of the semis, are two doors with steps that lead to the shower stalls. A nice thing about being a woman is that there were rarely lines to take a shower as there are less females than males that participate in Ride the Rockies.
There are also 6 sinks, with hot and cold running water, located between the two shower doors.
Every shower that I took had hot running water! This was really fabulous, and it was a hard working crew along with an amazingly efficient system that made this happen.
Hot water tanks in the back of the truck
The hot water heaters are located at the back of the trailer. Thanks goodness for these!
The amazing crew for the showers tapped into the existing resources, going into the draining systems and getting water from the street hydrants.
Water from the hydrant
The water went into the sewer system
The crew sometimes took the whole system apart the same evening and drove to the next destination the same night.
Thank you to the hardworking mobile shower crew!