Revisiting Ride the Rockies from a Bird’s Eye View

As our Tea Spot team flies to Las Vegas for the 2011 World Tea Expo, beautiful Colorado opens up beneath us like a topographic map in Kodachrome. The pronounced mountain ranges, rivers and canyons, ski hills and few highways make everything easy to identify. The routes which we cycled just last week on the 26th annual Ride the Rockies look formidable from this perspective. Seeing Winter Park and Berthoud Pass North of I-70 triggers a vivid memory of our final day of the ride.

Ride the Rockies

That day began with a 30 mile climb, culminating at the top of Berthoud Pass, and our third and final crossing of the Continental Divide of the week’s ride. I had to hold back tears of joy at the summit – we’d made it up in an amazing time – more than 30 minutes faster than we’d planned on. Our window for riding was perfect. We’d checked the hour-by-hour forecast from the weather service, and avoided all the early morning rain and snowflakes in the Winter Park area. We saw nothing but clearing skies and warming temps throughout the ride. The top of Berthoud Pass felt like our finale. It was the end of our exertion and effort for the past six days of cycling about 80 miles a day. We took our final team picture and said our goodbyes to some friends before beginning the easy 20-mile soar down to Georgetown.

But we didn’t quite glide in as high as expected. About three miles into the descent, my brother Alex suffered a catastrophic flat on his front tire. A sudden flat on a front tire at high speeds is a great recipe for disaster. As his bike swerved out of control, he pulled his weight way back and got his chest on the saddle, and managed to get it to the side of the road upright. After fixing the flat, we made it down to Empire and stopped for tea to re-group, just five miles from the finish. The town of Empire, by the way, was welcoming and thrilled to have all of us RTR riders coming through on joyful finale. I am grateful, Rocky Mountain High, for all the memories from last week – the highs and lows and experiences we’ll carry with us always. There’s nothing like Ride the Rockies to make you thrilled about being in Colorado.

Some habits remain constant in my routine, whether I’m camping, cycling, or traveling for business. Loose leaf tea is a daily ritual I never deny myself. For serenity and health benefits both, it’s an indulgence that I’ve now learned to take with my wherever I go. So it’s probably a good thing that my work is taking me to the World Tea Expo… with my Tuffy Tea Steeper in tow!

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