The Stonewall Century was a blast! Paige and I took off from NM at around 5:30 PM, a bit later than we wanted, but oh well. We rolled into La Veta, CO at about 10:30 PM after stopping for a quick bite to eat on the way. We took I-25 all the way there…talk about a boring drive! So, we’re trying to find somewhere to eat (Paige hadn’t had dinner yet and wanted some pre-ride chow). We decide to get some gas and check out Springer, NM…don’t ask why, there was just nothing else out there, and we figured we’d check it out before hitting Raton, the next town down the way.
Springer, home to male juvenile delinquents (some of whom were my ex-students from my principal days), was a bad idea…we rolled through town, apparently at 37 mph, where the speed limit was 30. We get pulled over by the po-po at a gas station. Being girls, we decided to put on the charm, you know, smile, be sweet, make a little small talk, act a tad on the ditzy side. It worked, the police officer was very nice. After finding that Paige had no warrants out for her arrest, we were free to go with a warning.
So, we made it to the next town, Raton, and grabbed a bite to eat at Denny’s. Then on to Sammie’s Motel and RV Park in La Veta. We thought we were pulling into a trailer park. Turns out, that’s the motel. Each trailer is split in half to form a motel room. Actually quite roomy and clean. Refrigerator, 2 beds, room to store our bikes, great showerhead, can’t ask for more than that…oh, an alarm clock would have been nice. Well, I had an alarm on my heart rate monitor and another on my cell phone. We didn’t quite trust those, so we called my sweet, loving husband and asked if he’d set his alarm for 4:45 AM and call us too. Paige and I owe him big time for that one!
60% chance of thunderstorms–
4:45 AM rolled around way too quickly, and all 3 alarms worked. We ate breakfast we’d brought with us, got showered, and rolled out of the motel. The tour starting area was only 2 blocks from where we were staying. It was wet outside and it had been raining all night. The temps were pleasant early in the AM, so we decided on arm warmers, rain jackets, and that was it. The directions were easy, the lady at the start pointed to her right and said, “You go that away, turn left, and keep goin’ straight. You’ll get to Segundo for lunch, then you’ll come back the same way.” Hey, even I can follow those directions!!
This was an exceptionally run event for only $40! We had break spots about every 12-15 miles along the way (with home baked goodies at every stop–boy did I ever want to eat some of those brownies and cookies, but I refrained), and there were SAG vehicles driving up and down the route the entire time. Not only were there SAG vehicles, there were also about 4 motorcycle cops that drove up and down the route, making sure drivers were cautious of the bikers. I don’t think I ever went more than 5 miles without seeing some sort of tour support. About 10 miles out of town, there was an area where dirt and mud had washed into the road overnight. The tour crews and a police officer were out there shoveling and sweeping the road for us!! Talk about service!
Well, the ride outta town was a climb, but only for the first 24 miles or so, then mostly downhill to Segundo (50 mile point). Nothing too significant, other than a ton of earthworms that had washed into the road. At lunch, Paige and I noticed that we had earthworm all over our bikes–yeck! We made our own sandwiches for lunch. I should have made it to the lunch spot extremely fast, but my bladder had other things on its mind. I don’t think I hydrated THAT much for the ride, but I was going to the bathroom about every 30 minutes.
The ride back was almost all climbing. I was very glad I had invested in a compact crankset for this tour. It did wonders for the knees, and allowed me to ride in the big chain ring almost all day. Paige and I ran into a couple of guys, one from Durango, and one from Colorado Springs. We took turns pulling for a bit, but the CO Springs guy was beat…his Durango buddy hung back with him, and Paige and I continued on. From here on out, I continued to have bathroom issues…I didn’t think I was drinking too much, but who knows. Paige pedaled on, and we didn’t see each other till the end. I’d been leap frogging these 2 “Ward Cleavers” along the way. Seemed they had to go to the bathroom about as much as I did so we’d say hi as we took turns passing each other. Anyway, it seemed that every time I’d get close to their rear wheels, they’d take off like bats outta hell and I poop out. Turns out one of them, Robert, was really afraid of snakes. There were several on the road today, so I yelled out “Snake!” as I passed one on a climb. Robert thanked me as they passed and went whizzing by, too fast for me to catch onto the rear wheels–again!! Finally, on a steep climb, I pushed it fast, literally blowing by everyone (I have no idea where I got the energy). One of the Ward Cleavers yelled out, “There she goes!!” They eventually caught up to me, as usual, and this time, I grabbed their wheels and hung on…for about 12 miles, until one of them had to pee. It was a great pull, and just what I needed to finish the last big grunt up to Cuchara Pass.
I got to the top and a support lady came up to me and told me that I’d better put my rain jacket on because there was lots of rain ahead and there was a lot of water running across the roads. She wasn’t kidding. For the last 20 miles, I was pelted by rain that really hurt when it hit you in the face! I kept a pretty fast pace on the downhills, which didn’t help. There was dirt and mud everywhere in the road. I had to take the lane all the way down. People were bailing left and right, hitching rides from SAG vehicles or spouses who had been following them all day. There was no way in heck I was gonna bail now, so I hunkered down and made it to the finish, totally drenched. There was a BBQ at the end of the ride, but Paige and I were going to meet at the car and change first. I get to where the car was supposed to be, but no car!! What the?!? Well, I was a tad concerned that something had happened to Paige, but I was wet and cold and needed to get warmed up, so I went over to the BBQ in the park. I got my chow and sat down to a picnic table under an awning (still raining out) with some other folks. My shorts squished out water when I sat down…that’s how wet they were. Eck! Turns out Paige had gotten to the car just before me, and had driven back to the route to see if I was okay. We missed each other, probably by seconds!
After drying off and getting warm clothes on, the sun came out, of course. We saw the CO guys we had ridden with on the return home and chatted with them a bit, then headed out to find a coffee shop for some java for the ride home. On the way home, we saw a huge brown bear walking along a creek, probably fishing. It was a really neat site! We arrived home to find Matt had put a new wheel on my Kind SS. I’ll take it for a test ride on Tuesday.
The Stonewall Century was 102 miles of pure fun. Paige and I are planning on coming back next year to do it again! Ride time was 7:16, total time 8:48, average speed 14 mph, max speed 37 mph, almost 3000 calories burned, average heart rate of 142. Yep, I’ve got lots of room to improve. Nothing to brag about, but I’m just thrilled that I got in my 2nd ride post-surgery over 100 miles long!