So what is it like making a steep climb? As you start up you begin shifting to a lower gear. You glance up and inwardly moan at the steepness. In my case, I drop my head and begin grinding. Pretty soon I watch Pat disappear around a curve. My legs slowly spin. I check my altitude, which is displayed on my odometer, watching the altitude slowly creep higher. Each curve gives you a short steeper climb. You pray that around the next curve it will flatten out, it doesn't. It's cool but sweat starts dripping like a cheap faucet. Happiness is reaching 9000 feet. I take a break for a few minutes. Back on the bike, Pat is completely out of sight. I try to convince myself I won't stop again but settle for another half mile. Off again, at 10000 feet I begin calculating, only 1300 more feet. Rod and Sal pull over frequently to check our progress. At 10,600 feet I see the van ahead and Pat. He's stretching and waiting to escort me to the top. He tells me not to whine and that I can't get in the van. Off again, I wish I had lower gears. Half a mile to the pass and I tell Pat I am taking another break. Pat continues on, and I finally grind to the top a few minutes later. The climb took about one hour and 45 minutes.
Tomorrow we will begin one more climb and hopefully arrive in Pueblo, Colorado and the end of the Rockies.