Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2018 Colorado Mesa Double Century Recap

Views from the stunning Grand Mesa during the 2018 Colorado Mesa Double Century

Sometimes, the unimaginable happens...

Who would have imagined that on May 25, 2018, the evening before the Colorado Mesa Double Century, a semi-truck would explode in the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park along I-70 in De Beque Canyon, sparking a raging wild fire that would torch the state park and close I-70 in both directions? The unimaginable Memorial Day weekend wild fire, which stranded several participants in De Beque Canyon to the east of the fire, closed the short section of I-70 through De Beque Canyon that participants of the Colorado Mesa Double Century had to ride through the next morning to reach the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, the first major climb of the event.

With the entire event in limbo and without knowing when the fire would be contained, event volunteers made a late night decision with less than six hours before the start of the event to postpone the ride and open it to participants as an open, unsupported course when I-70 reopened, most likely on Sunday. Unbelievably, fire fighters were able to completely control the blaze, which had scorched 170 acres, and reopen I-70 in both directions shortly after midnight, less than two hours after the decision had been made to postpone the event.

With I-70 now open, many participants decided to head out as originally planned on Saturday morning in quasi-brevet (i.e., semi-supported) format. Event organizers scrambled to provide some support at key locations on the course (Colbran, Grand Mesa, and Kannah Creek), which was a good thing as temperatures soared to 97 degrees to the south of Grand Junction, which is unusually warm for the Western Slope during the month of May. However, participants were left to fend for themselves in Cedaredge, Delta, and on the south side of Grand Junction by self-supporting at convenience stores along the course.

In spite of the chaotic start to the event, 10 of 15 preregistered riders ventured out onto the Colorado Mesa Double Century course on Saturday. And two more riders rode the course entirely without support on Sunday! Kudos to all of this year's participants for keeping a positive attitude when the unimaginable occurred and all of our plans went up in a puff of smoke!

The twisty descent down Reeder Mesa forces riders to feather their brakes! 
Course
  • 201.8 miles, 13,000+ feet of climbing
  • 3 categorized climbs:
    • Grand Mesa Scenic Byway (North) from Mesa to Grand Mesa summit, elevation 10,875 feet: HC Category
    • Kannah Creek Climb, elevation 6,160 feet: Category 4
    • Colorado National Monument, south gate to Rimrock Drive high point, elevation 6,640 feet: Category 2
Participants: 
  • 15 pre-registered riders
  • 10 ride starters on Saturday, 2 ride starters on Sunday, 10 official finishers (83% finishing rate with limited support) successfully completed the course in less than 17.5 hours (>11.5 m.p.h.), 2 DNFs. Of the riders who started, 10 men, 2 women. 2 volunteer pre-ride finishers, 2 volunteer pay-back finishers. Given the semi-supported format, riders were given a little extra time to complete the event. All participants who finished, however, still managed to finish in < 17.5 hours! 
  • Congratulations to Caleb Carl who posted the fastest overall time of the day, total elapsed time: 10 hours, 36 minutes (19 mph), 39 minutes faster than last year's time! Smokin'! 
  • Congratulations to Corinne Warren who posted the fastest women's time of the day in 13 hours, 55 minutes (14.44 mph), her fastest double century to date. Great ride, Corinne! 
Special thanks to our volunteers!
  • Mark Lowe: Colbran and Grand Mesa
  • Erika Van Meter: Kannah Creek 


Jaw-dropping views from the Colorado National Monument!
Caleb Carl returns to Fruita after blazing the Colorado Mesa Double Century course.

Caleb Carl, Corinne Warren, and Erika Van Meter relax after a long day of riding and volunteering! 
Noah and Sparky Sears, mountain bikers by training, adventure seekers by heart, complete their first double century. Great ride, guys! So what's next? The Colorado Trail Race? The Tour Divide? Only time will tell! :) 
Harris Rosenthal is relieved to have survived the heat, the wind, and the Colorado Mesa Double Century! Great ride, Harris!
Ray Rupel survived a flat tire on his tubeless set up at Kannah Creek but still managed an impressive ride! 
Michael Bass completes the Colorado Mesa Double Century and is attempting to complete his first Colorado Triple Crown! Great ride, Michael!
Jason Turner kept the wheels rolling to successfully finish his second Colorado Mesa Double Century!
It is pretty obvious why the Colorado National Monument is considered Western Colorado's showpiece ride!

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