RTR Day 5 – Durango to Pagosa Springs

Ride the Rockies Day Five
87 Miles, 3,500 Vertical
Max. Speed 42.5 mph
Max. Headwind 0 mph
Durango to Pagosa Springs – Low Passes and a Tailwind
Riding with my friend Stan Spencer

The highlight of my night life in Durango was an $8.00 buffet all you can eat pizza and salad joint across the street from the Quality Inn in Durango. They were invaded by ravenous bikers, completely swamping the kitchen and wait staff. We had bikers bussing tables, working in the kitchen, and even occasionally paying before leaving. It was the first time in my life that I saw a restaurant owe more to the diners for services rendered than diners owed for food. It was a model of self organization.

The ride today from Durango was simply wonderful, but quite long. We did two minor passes and rode a long way through fruit orchards – beautiful but not awe inspiring. In addition to level going, we enjoyed a tailwind most of the day. It is a great rest day before tomorrow, which includes Wolf Creek Pass stuck in the middle of a 93 mile ride.

In terms of colorful characters today, I’m joined this evening by Stan Spencer, a friend since 4th grade, and a co-conspirator in most of the more colorful transgressions of my youth. Stan is self-described as “a fat, one-lunged diabetic”. Most of this is at least partly true. He is diabetic and lost half (not all) of a lung in a skiing accident in A Basin a few years ago. He is skinnier than me, and therefore not fat, at least on a relative basis. We compete, among other things, on the basis of excuses prior to any athletic undertaking. Fortunately, the mileage I’ve done this week, together with my normal litany of replacement parts (hip, back etc.) gives me an unassailable position in excuses. He’ll probably show up on crutches or with a missing limb.
The other character was a guy I rode in with for the last ten miles or so. He was a good bicyclist, and beat me in at the end. In talking to him afterwards, it turns out that he is from Jackson Mississippi, and used to work for Paul McMullan, the brother of an old friend, Pat McMullan, who is one of the people receiving this blog. I told him that I had about had it with riding bikes with guys from Jackson MS, as I’ve only ridden with two of them, and they both kicked my butt.

I hope to get that very sore butt into the hot springs for which this town is named this evening. We may even find a restaurant where they do the cooking.

Wes Chapman
Written by Wes Chapman

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