The climb up out of Castle Rock is a real doozy. Starts deceptively easy and then really hits you. Plus, the start of the steep part had a bunch of cattle crud on the road. It was slippery and wet, but not muddy, if you know what I mean. Ugh! You did not want to fall here. I was abel to ride in fairly clear tire tracks.
Then rollers across country to 1st aid stop. A nice view of Pikes Peak, which kept getting closer. We finally turned West to head towards the tiny town of Palmer Lake. This section is very big rollers, like HHH in Wisc. Steep downhill and long slog up the next hill. In fact part of the road is named Roller Coaster Rd. Somewhere along here is the high point of the ride @ 7,000 ft. 2 yrs ago when I did this ride, I was not in shape and had to stop 2-3X. This time I only stopped to take pix.
Palmer Lk was Aid Stn #2. Fortunately this time there was no train blocking the road. There is a short but painful climb out of Palerm Lak but then you head north and nearly all downhill for about 15 mi. A bonus was a southerly tail wind. Be very glad. :)
Then the 3rd and final aid stn. Just after this the road begins a long slog over Tomah Rd hill. 2.4 miles avg 5% grade, but the last 100 ft is the steepest and toughest part. I did this w/o stopping. 2 yrs ago I had to stop 2X. The fun part of uphills is going down the other side. aero tuck, and I quickly pedaled out the top end of my gears, so just rode it. I think somewhere along here was my max speed of 47 mph. Try not to be scared of it.
Big route change this year. At the bottom, frontage rd along I-25, we turned R (south) for 3.5 miles of slight uphill into that nice southerly wind. heh. Then across I-25 and north along E side frontage rd. Then a turn into town and another cool roller coaster ride north to the fairgrounds and the finish. Yeah!