McClure Pass has to be the best day of RTR so far and I am blessed to be given the opportunity to write about it today. From the profile it seemed the climb would begin right out of Carbondale, but after getting on the bike path with friends new and old to start the ride, it seemed to be an easy beginning to Day 5. I rode with my Air Force friends and some new friends we have met along the way and from camp. Together we tackled the initial climb with ease. Then after the first rest stop we made a turn and the real climb began. It was not long but it sure was steep. After a few miles we started to hear cheers and music which meant we were near the top. There was some lively music and excellent support as usual to be found. The descent down McClure Pass was a dream; long, fast, flowing corners where top speeds could be broken with little effort. After stopping at the descent aid station and regrouping, we continued together more downhill. Then came the winery, it was incredible. I ran across several familiar riders and support personnel there. It was a relaxing area in the shade, next to the river and offered a bonus of some Colorado wine tasting. There I met someone who had a mechanical failure on her bicycle and she was about to SAG into the final town of Hotchkiss, but convinced her the bike was fixable and we added another member to our ride crew for the final ten miles. Once in the town of Hotchkiss the fairground met us with music and delight of a welcoming community. From there several of us took off on a white water rafting adventure leading from Paonia where we had just rode through and into Hotchkiss along the river to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon in the sun together. This had to be the best day of the ride so far, thanks for the opportunity to share my story from it today and I hope to meet many more of you on the road over the next two days.
~ Steve Carter
What an experience, amazing routes, safe and brilliant volunteers. I have done two previous multiday rides in Colorado and thought that I had seen most of what was to be seen, I have visited each start town before, but there was something about how routes were put together that were indeed unique.