Day 5 – Riding to New Heights
I’m still suffering adverse physical effects of the altitude, but managed to rouse myself early for a morning motorcycle jaunt up U.S. Route 6 to the top of Loveland Pass. This twisty mountain road reaches 11,990 feet in elevation, peaking at the continental divide. Although it is the highest mountain pass in the world that regularly stays open during the snowy winter season, it is crawling with semi-trucks because they are required to take the pass if they are carrying hazardous material or too big to pass through the I-70 Eisenhower Tunnel 6,800 vertical feet below.
It is a spectacular road with so many tight curves and magnificent views that I rode over and back several times instead of going a longer distance. Even the trucks couldn’t dampen the spirit of the ride.
Later, the AMA kicked off the Women & Motorcycling Conference with Welcoming Ceremonies featuring a speaker line-up of female motorcyclist celebrities. Over 1000 women riders turned out to hear the historical and empowering perspectives on women motorcyclists from speakers such as: AMA President, Rob Dingman; 2008 AMA Racing Female Rider of the Year, Leslie Porterfield; Director of Harley Davidson’s General Merchandise Department and great granddaughter of William A. Davidson, Karen Davidson; and more. The highlight of the evening was 18 year-old professional Motocross racer Ashley Fiolek who brought many in the audience to tears as she described her rise into the professional ranks in spite of the challenges of being female in a male dominated sport, and being profoundly deaf.