Katrina Nowak – Tales From the Ride

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Finally in Colorado! Less humid than Houston-yay! Less oxygen in the air –oh no!

For me, Day 1 was an eye opener. Due to the change in altitude and pressure, all of the potato chip bags were super inflated. The long steep climbs with no break were definitely new, but I seemed to manage it okay. Then there was a new challenge. For some reason, my mom and I didn’t get around to practicing setting up the tent. How hard could it be?

It turned out that we put the rain fly on backwards for the first night, but we fixed it on Day 2 of the ride. Another thing that amazed me was how warm and cozy the tent was, even when it was in the 30’s at night. The worst part of it was taking the tent down with frozen fingers and toes.

Speaking of temperature, another challenge has been managing near freezing temperatures at the start of the ride and ending in the 80’s. I don’t understand how some people start out in just a jersey and shorts… While I am bundled up in arm and leg warmers, a jacket over the jersey, and long finger gloves. I also start with my RTR buff covering my nose, mouth, and ears. It’s the greatest welcome ride gift!

During Day 2, my chain fell off. No big deal… to other people. But this was the first time for me. It was on a steep incline. I slowly came to the realization while… I was falling over. I couldn’t clip out in time because everything happened so fast!

There were official ride photos on days 1 and 2. It was hard to stay steady while looking at the camera on a 7% incline. I think I got kind of wobbly while trying to look at the camera! Luckily, I didn’t run into my mom (which I have done in the past).

On Day 3, I was finally lucky enough to win a tour T-shirt. The contest was all odd digits in the rider number, and I was the first person to get to Pat!

I was worried about Day 4, because I had never ridden 94 miles before. The first long climb seemed to be ok, and I was really looking forward to the break in the middle of the climb at 12.9 miles. Then, the mileage went past 12.9, and there was no Aid Station. 13 miles… 14 miles… nothing! I wondered if I had (gasp) missed it. Finally, at 15 miles, it appeared. Thank goodness! I have never been so glad to see an Aid Station.

Overall, I loved all the snacks provided for the RTR riders. My favorites were the honey stinger waffles and energy chews. For the vendor food, I think we had chicken quesadillas and mango smoothies every day!

Looking forward to the rest of the ride! Like my bike jersey says, Let’s play bikes!