Thanks Mike for this DCC thread.
I’m afraid I have not been here much due to the time my recovery process takes and the fact that I owe a daily progress report to brother cgeib...filled out in triplicate Nevertheless, some comments regarding the DCC:
I did not have my camera with me but Bob Barnes took some pics via his phone. Perhaps he’ll have some time and share soon. TC, no worries sharing Ana’s shot from FB. While she was a welcome site as we all rode up the final climb to the finish line (yes, another climb) unfortunately the western sun washed out the gang.
Achieving the Century Jersey was an awesome goal to have accomplished with close friends. In fact it was ten months to the day of the accident. I remember back after the first surgery when wrapped up like a petrified mummy flat on my back hearing Bob Barnes and cgeib discussing that we’d all ride the Deer Creek Challenge. I thought they were crazy. I had no concept of riding a bike again let alone taking a step forward. But with Betsy and friends Lgeib, Weems, eadjbrown, cgeib and Bob Barnes in the room I had a feeling nobody would forget the goal. I’m glad they remembered.
The evening before the DCC the gang came over as we were launching from our pad the next morning. I had an HD replay of the Queen stage of the ToF on my TV to motivate our little peloton before we all headed off to bed. As all the alarms went off at 4 AM each of us went through our individual pre-race preparation along with individual breakfasts. Military efficiency came to my mind. We fired up the vehicles in the early morning darkness and headed over to the staging area and then start gate. Wow, I should not have been surprised…the spandex racing kits were out in such volume I got dizzy with colors. Welcome to the world of serious road cycling nutcases. Gotta love a “good morning” knowing we are now into 100 miles and 12,750 feet of gain with this bunch.
They were letting us Century riders out of the start gate in groups down an 8.5 percent pitch every two minutes so as to not overwhelm the canyon…and each other. Unfortunately eadjbrown launched with an earlier bunch. No worries as she made fast friends chatting while riding at a pace climbing that would have most gasping for breath. She has a monster of an engine.
It was truly a well organized event with staff, mechanics, Local Law enforcement, aid stations (great road nutrition), quick mileage check points with sag and officials constantly looping the entire course. The course was swept and monitored, roads closed where appropriate along with local only traffic ID’d.
The class of cyclists was at a high level and generally well mannered. Of course the serious cat 1 individual and teams were present to try and rip it up contrasted with the usual blokes showing off their steel legs with 40 pound hybrids. But all in all, not much bumping about with good spacing. There were a number of injuries requiring ambulance and/or a sweep of the sag wagon…but nothing catastrophic that I heard of.
Our group rode well and rode through just about everything imaginable for a 100 mile course. From darkness and cool air to sunshine and heat to a rainstorm that opened with such force on a climb that I thought my rain jacket was being cut open. Some steep and fast descents on the wet pavement oozing out oil and grim with newly painted white lines acting like ice along with the often water roster tail of a lead rider that felt like sleet on a cold face. My eyes could not have been wider opened. But no problem for our grupetto as the bike handling was superb …no issues…however we rather quickly looked forward to yet another sustained climb to warm up and dry out. We finally enjoyed the clouds passing and with a quick repack of rain gear we focused on the approaching last enduring climb of City View and eventually the finish.
There is no pro grand tour, grand Fondo or classic that I know of that has a single day vertical gain that matches the DCC. I’ve pedaled squares on some grades of over 20 percent elsewhere, but it's nothing like the sustained climbing that this challenge represents in 100 miles of riding. It’s the accumulative grades and gain that bites you in the butt while you are lured into a false sense of ease throughout the beautiful ride. Legs hurt, lungs hurt but man was that century ride a gas!
So proud of our group and so meaningful to me to have them all around as we approached the finish line, happy and exhausted. What a goal to have achieved with friends. And what motivation it has been for Betsy and me hearing from so many of our epic friends in the last 10 months. You all have helped in so many ways.
Now with bikes in tow we’ll be off to Vail and then Steamboat to watch the pros go after it in the Tour of Colorado…err…USA Pro Cycling Challenge*. We’ll see Finn in Steamboat for a race finish and a race start the next day and sounds like we’ll see a few bears about Vail for the climbing TT.
Then what? Well; my guess is we'll be seeing everyone on the slopes once the snow falls till then we ride!
(*…an edit regarding the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. ..Wow, I can’t be more thrilled seeing such enthusiasm and attention to cycling in Colorado at such beautiful altitude on such a grand scale. Seeing just the VS HD telecast of Levi taking the stage today in Crested Butte was thrilling. We can’t wait to see them up close in the next days. Hope you all can view either via VS channel or somewhere on the course )
Edited by DonDenver - 8/23/11 at 3:46pm