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  1. #1
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
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    Assault on Grand Mesa

    Grand Mesa. The world's tallest flattop mountain.
    For years it has taunted me every morning as I go to work, its siren call -- "Climb me! Climb me!" -- growing louder each year. Five times I've mounted an attack, five times I've failed.

    Last week a friend (who also has failed to make the grade) and I committed to riding to the top this summer . . . the next morning he called and said he was so inspired that he got up early and slogged up to the top. I was crestfalled until he described his ride, including the fact that he drove to a neighboring town which cut the distance and total climb in half.

    So yesterday I got up early and mounted my sixth assault on Grand Mesa, determined to ride from my house to the mountain and back, a 65-mile trek with more than 20 miles of a steady 3-4 percent grade. Rather than set a speed record, I was determined to keep a high cadence and a steady pace up the grade. I ticked off the past turn-around points and at the 22-mile mark stopped at the ice cream shop -- the highest I've gotten before. Pausing for a brief stop, I assessed the ride so far. I had been riding 2 hours, was halfway up the 5,000 ft. climb, and was feeling really strong. I knew the top was within reach.

    As I sipped down a little water and enjoyed some dark chocolate, two roadies came up the road. They offered to let me tag along. It was tempting, but I knew their fast pace would soon burn out my thighs. So I told them to go ahead and I'd plod along on my own. So with a smile and a wave, they were off and within a mile were quickly out of view.

    And so I continued on my personal quest. I kept my cadence up, setting a comfortable pace of 6-7 mph. With each bend of the road my confidence grew and I started to enjoy the ride. My pace climbed to 7-8 mph. Deer poked their head up from the oak brush, marmots whistled as I passed, and a couple of rabbits came out to laugh at my turtle pace. I even caught a glimpse of a black bear amongst the aspen . . . okay, it could have just been some shadows.

    After 3 1/2 hours of riding I had to face reality -- I had the ability to reach the top but did not have time to get up and back in time to go to work. So I paused at a view point about 4 miles from the visitor center, taking in the vista (wishing I'd brought a camera along), and relishing the knowledge that the Grand Mesa was mine for the taking. Although I did not reach the top, I was turning around on my terms and know I can ride to the summit any time I want.

    The 30 miles back home flew by and I got back just in time to clean up and get to work. 4-3/4 hours on the bike, 60.1 miles and just under 5,000 feet of climbing. Not a bad way to start the day!

    Next time I'll take the camera along.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Only one word. WOW






    That climb is as good as Ventoux- except you have to put in miles to do it.

    Next time take the Camera.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Nice report... sounds like a place I'd want to ride.
    On Saturday I set out for a 40 mile ride down the coast on a road I know well - I drive it to a gig every month. The last mile and a half is a long steady, 4% or so but I believed I could do it. Slowly -might take a stop or two- but I'd get there. I sat at the bottom of that hill, eating my Atkins bar, and looked at my watch. I promised my wife I'd be home a half hour earlier than I knew I would be home if I turned around there. I thought about the wrath of she who must be obeyed and, discretion being the better part of valor, I turned around. I ended up with 36+ miles. Had I made the climb, I'd have had my 40. But I'd also have been really, really late.

    You will go back and finish that mesa off, no doubt about it.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  4. #4
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Only one word. WOW.
    +1 And all this before going to work
    =============================================================
    My cancer updates:
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    Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
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  5. #5
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    Now you can take the hill on your terms. Its taunts are meaningless. It knows it is conquered. It's just a matter of when YOU want to. Nice ride and nice report.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  6. #6
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    If I had been that close and feeling that good, I would have been late to work.

    Sounds like your next assault should be on a weekend. Go and conquer it!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
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    Such is the life of the boss . . . while tempting, I don't want the rest of my crew showing up "whenever"!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  8. #8
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    If I had been that close and feeling that good, I would have been late to work.

    Sounds like your next assault should be on a weekend. Go and conquer it!

    +1, and on the way back down I would have stopped for ice cream. Sounds like you had a great ride, and I do wish you had taken some pictures. I'm starting to get my wander lust back again, and my wife is starting to say " I really do like it here". Thanks for the report, I'll really be anxious to get the next one.
    George

  9. #9
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    You da Man!!

    I want to do this ride!!! What a great description and report. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
    --Ben Franklin

  10. #10
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    What's going on with this forum lately, everyone is blowing through goals like s**t through a goose. I've done 95 miles this week and feel like a slacker. Great job CP, like Larry says "git er done"
    Tim
    Singing Do Wah Ditty, Ditty Dum Ditty Do

  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Another sign of continued improvement and progress on the bike. Keep up the great riding.

    Sounds like I need to put Grand Mesa on this list to check out one of these days.

  12. #12
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    Great ride report! Makes me want to do it!

    Just curious, what time did you start, what time did you get back?

  13. #13
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    If you rode 4-3/4 hours and still got to work on time, you must have arisen at 0-dark-thirty! You're one dedicated dude! For that much climbing, you had a good average.

    That was a great report, and the Grand Mesa sounds like a piece of real estate worth hootin' and hollerin' about. Please do take the "Kodak" when you get the time and get to the top.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
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    Started the ride at 6:30 a.m. and was headed for the shower just past noon. Quick bite to eat and off to work at 1 p.m. I'm not a dedicated rider, I just had to be up at 5 a.m. to deliver my papers to the post office after the Fourth of July holiday. Rather than go back to bed, I opted to hop on the bike.

    Definitely wanted to stop for ice cream, but settled for a peanut butter cookie from my stash for the homeward leg.

    Thought of doing this ride on the Fourth of July, but spent the day canoeing on the Gunnison River -- saw a couple of river otters! Decided late Wednesday to do the Grand Mesa ride. Truly, I am blessed to live in western Colorado with incredible rides and plenty of other things to do in between.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  15. #15
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Well done! And what a great report!

    I haven't been up on the Grand Mesa since '78. We did it on horseback, too. I wonder how much more fun it would be on a bike?

    Can't wait to read your "I made it to the top" post. Soon, CP, soon.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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