The short one

Today is the day that many have been looking forward to since rear-ends got sore earlier on this week with a bunch of longs days in a row. We had only 55 kms to cover between Kremmling and Winter Park. Ed mandated that the morning wasn’t allowed to start until 6:30 with breakfast. Many of us rejoiced prematurely expecting to get that extra half hour of sleep which wasn’t to be, clanging of tent poles began as usual around quarter past 5 am. Some said it was below 10 degrees this morning when they woke up. By the time I was on the road it was plenty warm enough for just a jersey and shorts though. There really is a difference between 5:00 am and 8:30 am, and one is certainly better than the other in my opinion.

I did my best during breakfast to recruit a few other riders to come with me for a climb up to the local ski hill before getting to camp. I figure that I’ll likely not have the opportunity to train at altitude again for at least a couple years so should soak up the opportunity while possible. That argument didn’t convince very many people, it was only Eritia and myself who were headed for Sol-Vista today.

Before reaching our little detour we passed through sulphur springs canyon just north of the town of Hot Sulphur Springs. It was amazingly beautiful, so beautiful in fact that we decided to do it twice just to make sure it was also amazing in the other direction. Here’s the video:

I have a good internet connection so I got another video online from Monday it’s posted along with it’s corresponding blog entry

We did indeed then make the climb up to the ski hill which was pretty interesting. I’d guess that three or so years ago plans were made for a massive resort expansion surrounding the village, the roads were paved and the lots went up for sale. The bad news is that most of the lots are still up for sale. The good news for us was that there was nice pavement weaving all over the mountain side. Eritia set a personal best for top speed on the way down by drafting off me but the same cannot be said for myself. I cracked 80 kph but what once was a huge milestone isn’t quite as special anymore unfortunately.

Last night Dave Geerlings suggested that we try riding with only one gear on our bikes today. It would give us the opportunity to meditate a bit on what it means to be stuck in poverty. The focus of the effort supported by our fundraising is to try and break those cycles of poverty. After riding 100 miles on Wednesday with only 2 gears and knowing that my knees wouldn’t be pleased with another round of it I didn’t stop shifting gears just made a point of thinking about the luxury each time I had to. What begins as the obvious limitation is selecting a gear that is easy enough. In so many ways many individuals wind up in poverty due to being dealt tough cards. Their place of birth, their family, their acquired skillset, their vulnerability to addiction. What Dave’s exercise with shifting gears did for me though was teach a lesson about the other end of the spectrum. When the gear isn’t hard enough, when there’s no way for me to spin my legs fast enough to make any progress with the pedals. When situations are subject to massive inefficiencies it’s just as difficult to make much progress. When there are loops to jump through to ensure that welfare cheques arrive the focus can wind up on maintaining rather than escaping the situation. When farmers in the third world sell their crops into multinationals corporations for unfair prices their inefficiency in lifting their standard of living is too big an obstacle to overcome alone. It’s here that I feel like I’d like to make a comment about the need for co-operation, about looking out for the bigger picture, Maybe relate the experience with one gear to drafting in one another’s slipstream. Unfortunately the metaphor breaks down about 2 sentences ago so I won’t try to continue.

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