This past Saturday, I wrapped up my riding season with a spectacular ride in the inaugural Icon LASIK TOUR of the MOON, Hell of the West Cycling Classic, in Grand Junction / Colorado National Monument, CO. The Tour of the Moon was made famous in the 1980's Coors Classic and later in the 80's film American Flyers starring Kevin Costner. This ride was the second stage in the film's fictious Hell of the West Bicycle Classic. The weather was perfect, especially in comparison to the frigid weather that had rolled into the Front Range the day before, and the scenery may have been the most beautiful I'd ever experienced.
I rode the 62 mile route (~3,500 of climbing) from Grand Junction, up through the monument, down through Fruita and then back into Grand Junction. My goal was to ride a sub-4 hour time even though this wasn't at all a competitive event. I was quite pleased with my ride (I've posted my data from TrainingPeaks.com). I felt strong climbing and cruising and very comfortable letting it roll in the descents. It was a great day all around on the road and I am already looking forward to doing this event next year.
Another cool thing about this ride was that I got to ride 10 or so miles with Tom Danielson, a professional road racing cyclist who currently rides for UCI ProTour team Garmin-Sharp. He rode in the 2011 Tour de France, riding well and finishing as the highest placed America in 8th place and placed 3rd in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. He is a great guy and an amazing rider. I won't soon forget this experience.