Day 6. Breakfast on the back patio of the St. Julien Hotel. A second mug of coffee with extra cream. Freshly laundered kit waiting to be collected. A twinge of sadness as the “last day is here” realisation sank in.
Enough of that. There would be plenty of time for reflection. There was a ride to be done. This time to Jamestown and back.
The Cognoscenti guys weren’t going to let us off too lightly on our final ride of our Boulder experience. 6.5km / 4mi out we hit Lee Hill Drive. We had raced down this road at the end of our Day 5 ride. Now it was payback time.
I think I paid the most. I had to stop twice to catch my breath as the gradient rose to 10% and my lungs gave out. The rest of the group kindly waited at the top of the climb while I ground up the hill at 12kph / 7.5mph.
I had some time to recover while going down the other side before the long drag of the day, up Lefthand Canyon Drive to Jamestown. I think I had Andrew and Tristan for company on that climb.
Richard and the rest had of course arrived well before I did. As did Dan Cavallari, one of our guests from VeloNews.
Everyone was itching to go downhill. Less than 10 minutes after rolling into Jamestown I was putting my weight to good use on the descent.
All good things must come to an end. After 9km / 5.6mi of zippiness I had a hill to climb. We had blasted down Olde Stage Road less than an hour earlier. At an average of 50kph / 31mph. My average back up Olde Stage Road was somewhat slower!
The last 10km / 6mi for the week was downhill into Boulder at the back patio of the St. Julien Hotel. We sat under the Cognoscenti tent at the Southgate, tearing into breakfast burritos. I was introduced to breakfast burritos when I lived in Houston. Really delicious either during or after a ride.
Once the burritos were polished off, it was time for goodbyes. Matt, Mindy, Pam, Richard, Scott and Steve were very nice and very friendly. I had a great time with with them over the six days. I didn’t feel it so much at the time, but I do feel sad now at the thought of perhaps not ever seeing them again.
I came into my Cognoscenti adventure not knowing what to expect. Well, if I had arrived with expectations, they would have been wildly exceeded.
I had a brilliant time. 415km / 258 mi covered. 7,000m / 23,000ft of climbing. All in beautiful natural surroundings. For what it is worth – 17,200 calories burnt. I am sure at least double that number was consumed during the mid-ride lunches and in the fabulous dinner restaurants that Cognoscenti took us to.
As promised, the level of service and support was incredibly high. Well-deserved kudos go to Andrew and Karl, the co-founders for bringing their “Ride First Class” vision to life.
Well-earned thanks also go to the Cognoscenti guides who made real the “Ride First Class” vision. Jon, Russ, Tristan and Patrick. I know how much planning, coordination and plain hard work goes into making an experience like the Cognoscenti one run like clockwork in the eyes of your guests. Bike prep, erecting the Cognoscenti tent, making drink mix and filling bottles, making sushi cakes, driving support vehicles, providing mid-ride mechanical support, leading rides, setting up lunch stops before we arrived, doing laundry. The list goes on and on. You guys are stars.
Much appreciation to the breakfast guests, the Pro guest riders, and the VeloNews editors who took time out of their schedules to ride and share their experiences and expertise with we amateurs.
And finally, the man behind the lens. Without whom this would have been a largely unillustrated blog. Kevin.
What an adventure. I highly recommend a Cognoscenti trip to anyone who wants to experience great riding and dining experiences in the company of a great support team and professional guest riders.
Contact Cognoscenti for their 2016 dates by clicking here.
I will certainly save my pennies to Ride First Class with Cognoscenti again.