Monday, June 25, 2012

Colorado Death Ride: 2 Days and Counting!

The picturesque Mt. Sneffels Range, photographed from the Dallas Divide

The Colorado Death Ride is the second stage of the 2012 Colorado Triple Crown. At 225 miles, the Colorado Death Ride is the longest double century event on the UltraMarathon Cycling Association (UMCA) UltraCycling Cup calendar and arguably the hardest single-day event on the RMCC calendar. The Death Ride has LOTS of climbing! The total vertical gain for the Death Ride is 16,000 vertical feet, climbing over three mountain passes that exceed 10,000 feet in elevation and one pass that exceeds 11,000 feet! No other event on the UMCA calendar has so many individual climbs that expose riders to high altitude! The Death Ride has jaw-dropping mountain scenery that is second-to-none! The San Juan Mountains are frequently one of the most-photographed regions in the state of Colorado. After riding this route, you will understand why this is the case. Be sure to keep your digital camera in your jersey pocket. You'll definitely want to have it on this ride!

Red Mountain, photgraphed from Red Mountain Pass

General Information:

**Weber Fire: 6/29/12, 9:07 pm...

Here's the absolute latest on the fire near Mancos along Hwy 160:

Weber Fire Containment Increases to 45%

Firefighters continued to make good progress today in preparing containment lines around the Weber Fire. The masticator worked on creating a fuel break in a critical area west of East Creek. Crews and dozers continued to clear fuels in other areas of the fire perimeter. Firefighters made progress in mopping-up today, including around structures and along the northwest edge of the fire. With firefighters' hard work the containment has increased up to 45%. Tonight, firefighters plan to work on the containment lines, mop-up, and patrol the perimeter watching for flare-ups and other potential problems.

For the second day in a row, the Weber Fire didn't show obvious plumes of smoke. The cooler weather and higher humidity made the fire burn with less intensity. Although the smoke has laid down we still have uncontained fire line. The potential for fire spread is still in the extreme category. With the forecast of warmer, drier weather the next few days, some of the embers smoldering in large chunks of wood or underground in tree roots are likely to flare up. More smoke is likely to be visible, and some residual patches of vegetation in the fire interior are likely to burn.

Difficult and treacherous terrain on both the northern and southern ends of the fire has not allowed firefighters to safely construct hand lines directly on the fire perimeter. The northern location is downhill from the communication site, south of Highway 160. The other is on the south end of the fire, near the junction of Weber Canyon and East Canyon. Fire personnel have been closely monitoring the downhill spread of the fire in these areas while preparing the indirect containment lines.

Operations Section Chief, Ed Waggoner stated, "Firefighters have made great progress in preparation for the burn-out on the north end, which we expect to do tomorrow. Completing the burn-outs will bring us much closer to full containment on this fire. With the number of fires burning in the west, it is important to wrap up this fire safely and efficiently, freeing up resources to help with other fires."

Fire meteorologists will be watching the weather tomorrow afternoon to make sure it is favorable for a successful burnout operation.

Highway 160 and Mesa Verde National Park are open. County Road 41 is open south to County Road G. County Road 46 and the portion of County Road 41 south of County Road G are still closed.

In spite of the fire, the "Death Ride" will procede in one form or another. We have created an alternate course based out of Ridgway that we will use if Hwy 160 if conditions along Hwy 160 are not safe or tolerable for riding. Clearly this is not the ideal situation, but I know that many of you have planned your entire Independence Day holiday weekend around this event and I don't want your holiday weekend to go to waste. So plan to make the journey to Ridgway this weekend! We will ride on Sunday...

We won't make a final decision regarding which route we will use until Saturday, but if conditions remain favorable, we'll ride the San Juan Skyway loop in its entirety. We are still planning to have a brief pre-ride meeting Saturday afternoon at 4 pm and the Ridgway Lodge and Suites to get riders signed in, talk about which course we are going to use, and address any questions that you might have. If you can't make this meeting, please let me know and plan to sign-in Sunday morning at 1:30 am.

cell: 303-895-9532

P.S. If you're reading this after 10:00 pm, you need to get to bed! Tomorrow is going to be a very short night!!

1) Ride Date: Sunday, July 1, 2012

2) Host Hotel/Start and Finish Location: Ridgway Lodge and Suites, 373 Palomino Trail, Ridgway, CO. Phone: 970-626-5444.

3) Registration: Riders need to be pre-registered AND pre-qualified to participate. Registration for this event has been extended until June 28, 2012, 7:00 pm and is avaible on the RMCC website. For questions about registration or pre-qualification, please e-mail Mark Lowe:

4) Ride start/check-in: Rider check-in at 1:30 am in the motel lobby. Ride start at 2:00 am. Yes...this is an early start, but we want participants to finish the ride during the daylight hours, especially on a holiday weekend. Consider setting two alarm clocks as this can be an easy start to miss! Lights and reflective gear are required!

5) Official support vehicles: We will have one support vehicle to SAG this ride AND one volunteer support vehicle which will provide additional support in Dolores and Rico. The RMCC support vehicle will be driven by Charlie Henderson (Charlie's cell phone: 720-480-9714). Participants riding without private SAG support should plan to use this support vehicle to transport gear bags. These gear bags will be accessible at checkpoints along the course. Participants riding with private SAG support need to register their support vehicle with Charlie prior to the start of the ride, letting him know that they will have support from family or friends. Riders with private SAG support may be asked to support other riders.

6) Time limits: Please keep in mind that this is a timed cycling event! Participants have 19 hours to complete this ride to earn an official finishing time and to receive Colorado Triple Crown credit. Riders can only begin riding at the official start time and must reach all checkpoints before the following time cut-offs to receive an official finishing time: 1) Silverton, 5:00 am, 2) Durango, 8:30 am, 3) Dolores, 12:30, 4) Rico, 3:45 pm. 5) Ridgway, 9:00 pm. If riders are going to leave Rico after 3:00 pm OR ride over the Dallas Divide after 8:00 pm, please call Charlie to let him know!

7) Checkpoints: We will be using event passports for this event. All riders should plan to have their event passports validated at the following official checkpoints: 1) Silverton, gas station, 2) Durango, Exxon gas station on Hwy 160, 3) Dolores, Dolores Food Market, 4) Rico, Conoco gas station on the left side of CO Hwy 145, 5) Ridgway, Ridgway Town and Suites Motel. Finishers should have their event passports validated by RMCC staff at the finish.

8) Additonal Support Points: Riders with private SAG support may also receive additional support at these locations: 1) Molas Pass, 2) Lizard Head Pass, 3) Telluride Junction, 4) Sawpit/Placerville, 5) Dallas Divide. Note: The Conoco Station at Telluride Junction can be extremely busy. Please watch for traffic at this support point. Special notes about support: 1) If the weather turns nasty, support can be anywhere! 2) Faster riders may out-run the support vehicle after Rico and will not be to access their gear bags after leaving this check point. These riders need to plan ahead and bring the supplies and gear that they will need to complete this ride!

9) Abandonment: If you need to abandon the ride for any reason, please call Charlie Henderson at 720-480-9714 as soon as possible to let him know! Additionally, if you are going to leave Rico after 3:00 pm or arrive at Ridgway after 9:00 pm, please call Charlie to let him know! We don't want to spend all night worrying about where you are! Please note that we do not sweep the course!

10) Emergencies: If you have an accident or injury that requires emergent attention, please call 911. Please call Charlie ASAP to let him know!

11) Event Rules: Please review the event rules before the ride on Saturday:

Mountain waterfall, photgraphed from Imogene Pass, not far from Ouray