“You can say that climbers suffer the same as the other riders, but they suffer in a different way. You feel the pain, but you’re glad to be there” – Richard Virenque
As I began the climb out of Fruita, I couldn’t help but think that there was much to see and do, and we squandered an opportunity. The ride from Moab took a lot of me, and I couldn’t muster the strength to do more than tell my new RV neighbors about it from the pool.
Besides, the climb up Montgomery Pass promised to be a bear, and there were more than 20 uphill miles and 2,000 vertical feet to get there. The vista was lush, beautiful, and what I was told and knew about Colorado—a sharp departure from yesterday’s introduction to the Centenial State.
I decided to pull the climbing rig out of the RV storage. It’s an Ax Lightness and, true to the name, the perfect bike for a ride like today. After I worked out a few kinks from the road, I headed toward the lower slopes of the pass. Then I climbed!
And climbed some more!
When I finally conquered the 8-mile climb, with its many switchbacks separating sustained sections of 8% and the frequent 12-14% pitch, I felt satisfied. The twenty-plus-mile rise to look up at Montgomery Pass was tough enough and softened my legs pretty well.
The climb was one for the memory bank. I wouldn’t rate it as high as Mt. Washington, Pike’s Peak, or even Appalachian Gap in Vermont, but I rank it higher than Bear Mountain or Vail Pass. It’s a solid top-ten effort.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do all the day’s work. There was still the down part, and it was about 40 miles worth. The run-in to Rangely, CO was attractive, and I wished I could have enjoyed it more.
If not for the wind that is forever on my nose. It was not a celebration of my climbing accomplishment. That’s for sure! Although, I am now the proud holder of a podium placement for the 70-mile segment from Loma to Rangely. There’s that!
And a 3-minute flat tube change, bitches!
Rangely, Colorado, is a one-horse town with two dollar stores and no traffic light. The Buck N’ Bull RV park is adequate and a 4-star step up from the place on the other side of town we had booked. That excuse for a fee was too basic for me, and that’s being kind.
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Eighteen—Jason Long
I missed my DIRT Dad Fundo climbing partner Jason Long today. Jason, my cousin Jaclyn, and their son Jackson were our gracious and generous hosts for the trip’s first few days. Jason joined me on the road for the first three days, including the epic 12,000 vert day 2 through Yosemite.
He showed me something that day, and I missed him on this one. I’ll never forget what he and his family have done to support the DIRT community and us.
Here is what Jason had to say—”Love indoor training for the convenience, structured training plans and helping out fellow riders by supporting an excellent friend and my cousin in law with the DIRT Dad Fund!!”
Amount Raised to Date—$3,980
Thank you to my cousin-in-law and fellow DIRT, Jason Long!
Now off to Baggs, WY!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!