Haute Route Rockies Journal: An ode to ice

Colorado may not have some of France's charm, but it does have plenty of ice, which makes long, hard days of riding that much nicer.

The correct pronunciation is “oat root,” but if you’re speaking Coloradoan, it’s HOT route. On stage 2 of Mavic Haute Route Rockies, we faced highs over 90 degrees, no cloud cover to speak of, and plenty of long, slow climbs to let you bake until you’re golden brown (or a reddish hue).

I love riding in France, love speaking the language (well, trying at least), love the culture, but I’ve got to ding the place for its dearth of ice. That’s the beauty of the Rockies — it’s hot, but we’ve got ice.

Packed into panty hose and stuffed down my salty jersey, the cubes are magically reviving after toping out at over 11,000 feet on the last mountain pass of the day. And now, I have a nice pair of black nylons to wear out tonight.

Of course, once you start melting these beautiful translucent chunks into your bottles, Skratch becomes infinitely more delicious as well. And could we really drink Coke without it being chilled to the point where it’s cold like the Rockies? I think not. Pas possible.

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And where do you think that terrifically cold mountain creek came from — the one we sat in until our feet were numb after the 85 miles of type 2 fun? Yep, more ice.

You have to draw the line somewhere, however. Vanilla Ice stuck in your head on that final 13-mile climb? Not recommended.

Monday will be a paltry 6,782 feet of climbing to today’s 12,000, but it’s 113 miles (ouch), so the forecast is looking pretty icy, so I better peace out and get some rest.