September 16 2009, 1:46 PM
Endurance bike races, by definition, are difficult. So difficult, The Denver Post writes, that a significant number of the 40 handpicked riders selected for last weekend's fifth-annual Vapor Trail didn't even finish the race. VaporTrail125.com points out some "fun" aspects of the race: It is, as you might have guessed, 125 miles long and includes 20,000 feet of climbing and descending. The site's authors also boast that participants start at 10 p.m. and will endure rides over several Colorado 14ers. Bad weather, however, changed the circumstances, forcing organizers to downsize: The riders endured just 108 miles and 17,000 vertical feet of climbs and descents, and set out at midnight as opposed to 10 p.m. Josh Tostado of Alma was first to finish, completing the ride in about 10 hours and 43 minutes. The last rider to complete the race, John Fulton, crossed the finish line a little more than 18 hours after he set out. There are perks, though, besides the self-satisfaction of completing one of the most demanding bike races in Colorado. Riders pass through some of the best looking scenery in the state as they battle through the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests near Monarch Pass, and the final descent in the morning leaves riders plowing through thick forests with trees "decorated with fresh snow melt and dewdrops shimmering from fir trees like tinsel on Christmas morning," according to the Post. Sure hope that makes it worth it.