December 22, 2021 § Leave a comment
It rained most of the night, but when I awoke it had abated long enough for us to break camp and grab some breakfast. Though the rain had abated it wasn’t done for the day, and we’d be lucky to see the sun at all on this day. We didn’t really have all that far to go with the pass at maybe 2-2.5 and then another 1.5 down the other side. Remember from an earlier post that we were advised to take a site in the upper Chicago Basin where few, if any, of the Needleton access 14er-seekers will bother to hike up to. With a sense of urgency we broke camp while our water heated, and with no sun to dry anything, packed all our wet gear as it was. Sure it would be heavier, but we didn’t have to go far. With the main gear packed we took in our morning breakfasts and coffee drinks; we took care of our morning business and then we were off for Columbine Pass.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2021 § Leave a comment
If you recall, we broke two long days into three shorter days, and today was the second of those days, and this day would be nothing but regaining most, if not all of the elevation we lost yesterday. Distance-wise it was a little shorter, but terrain-wise we would hit some big gains in two sets of switchbacks, where I believe each set was 20-30 turns. The feeling was that we would find something between the second and third set where we could pitch our tents, but until we got there, we wouldn’t know. We hadn’t seen anyone we could ask.
The morning was another fine morning where the mountains to our East shielded us from direct sunlight until long after we hit the trail. Our fourth morning, and everything is very routine by now. Before I even leave my shelter, I have dressed, re-stuffed my sleeping bag, deflated the air mattress and returned it to its carry sack, deflated my pillow, and broken down and rolled up my tarp. Then it is time for hot water and a little relaxation while I watch everyone else do their thing. Of course Kevin is already up, as is Jim, and by the time I sit down, everyone is up and moving.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 9, 2021 § Leave a comment
We met a lot of people on this adventure. Way more than in past adventures excepting Banff. The least number we ever saw was in the High Uintas where we met a Ranger, and then a guide with two charges, all on horseback. After that, nothing. This day would not be a high volume people day, but the two characters we did meet (Father/Son) were a real eye opener.
Our second morning was a little different than our first. For one, we weren’t in a hurry to get over two passes as all we had on the agenda for the day was mostly all downhill, or perhaps it is better to say our net elevation gain today would be a loss. About 1000 feet (304.8 meters) loss. No need to hurry for that. We would probably be done by 1 or 2 and then have the rest of the afternoon to relax, and maybe even cleanup a little in Vallecito river/creek. Another difference was our tree cover was greater, so the view of the surrounding mountains was obscured. That wouldn’t last long once we started to hike, but until that began, we were in the shade of mountains we couldn’t really see, and it was a cool night. I had my usual 3 times up for personal business, and my usual sleep issues, but that doesn’t keep me in bed.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 7, 2021 § Leave a comment
It’s been awhile since I last climbed the Continental Divide under my own power. I crossed it as a bus passenger in June, but that doesn’t count in my book. We were in the Pacific drainage when we both started and ended this day, but we hiked in the Atlantic drainage for a short while, which meant that we had two passes ahead of us. I can’t find a name for the first pass, and maybe there is a definition of “Pass” that I am unaware of that this first “Pass” doesn’t meet, but I feel like if I cross from one side to the other, say from one valley to another, that is a pass. The second for our day would be Hunchback Pass. A real name.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 31, 2021 § 2 Comments
If you read all of these posts regarding my first participation in The Denver Posts Ride the Rockies event, I laid down some groundwork for this last piece early on by noting that I could have/should have expected what was about to go down, but I didn’t, and it went down. When we last left off I was telling you how I needed to finish the Friday ride with enough time to break down and pack my bike, clean-up, and get to the bus before the 5pm departure. Paul (my new friend) and I were walking over that way at about 4 when we said our goodbyes to each other, and he re-iterated the offer that if I wanted to ride with them next year in the comfort of a motor home, I would be more than welcome. Something, I can assure you, I am seriously considering.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 25, 2021 § 1 Comment
People kept saying the words “The Million Dollar Highway” all day the day before. When I re-read the route description, those words were front and center alerting us that this day would be unlike any other. Except of course we would be on our bikes going uphill and down. I could have googled it and at least gone into this day informed, but I was as ignorant as a rock. All I knew was we had three passes to get past before we would reach Durango. If you type that into google you will be directed to the Wiki page for 550, and there is one sentence in particular that accurately names which part owns this moniker. “Though the entire stretch has been called the Million Dollar Highway, it is really the twelve miles (19 km) south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway its name. “. If todays ride was just this 12 miles it would be a ride complete. Those 12 miles were some of the most scenic miles I have ever witnessed on a bike in these United States, and I have witnessed a fair number of miles in these United States. More than a lot, not as much as some.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 23, 2021 § 2 Comments
I will try and take it easy on my audience in this one. It was a short day, so let’s see if we can make it a short post.
Rise and shine was early because that is just what your body does to you when you lay down around 9PM. You just can’t stand lying there any longer, and as soon as first light pokes it’s head over the horizon, I am ready to get up and get a move on. On this day, there was no need to break camp as we were spending a second night in the lovely little hamlet of Ridgway. The route for the day was in two parts, as discussed a little bit in the previous post. The first part was a loop ride to the North that included some bike path, followed by some ample 550 shoulder riding, and the a long 12 mile ascent on a dirt road, and eventually back to Ridgway. The second optional part was to climb back up pass, and then take another dirt road, and climb some more up to the ranch that had been used as a set location in the 1969 film True Grit.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 23, 2021 § 3 Comments
As you have undoubtedly learned, I don’t sit right down after an event like this and get to writing. I let it sit in my head for a while and develop. These days, with all the good programing on all the streaming channels it’s amazing I squeeze any time to droll on about my adventures. Day 4 of this adventure occurred June the 16th, and here it is October 19th, and I am just now starting this. We shall have to see when I publish it, and just how long I dilly dallied my way through it.
When I left you yesterday, we had finished the longest distance day of this years event. It was yet another day over 100 degrees, and there had been other challenges which are well documented in that post. My compatriots spent the night in Telluride, in the comfort of their hotels, and were 30 miles away. On the shuttle that would be at least 45 minutes, and if I could have talked to them, then I might have given them the benefit of waiting, but I was coffee’d up, I had broken my fast on my granola, I was packed, and my bags had been dropped off, and I was ready to ride, so while I could have waited, and maybe I should have waited, I did not, and off I rode, back towards the Norwood Descent. See, now that we were up upon the plateau, it is called the Norwood Descent.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 20, 2021 § 3 Comments
I am going to start this post with an out-of-timeline explanation, as the timeline in which I learned this is later than this story telling moment. It is in the best interest of the story to tell it now.
Morning, Cortez Co. It isn’t a morning unlike Monday morning. The sun rose at about the same time, and it was maybe a wee bit warmer. We were in Cortez, and as you may recall from my last post, there was a bit of a dinner issue the night before. In summary, 100+ degrees, people waiting hours to get dinner, lines slow, food delivered in short spurts with long waits in between.
I awoke like the last two mornings. About the same time, and learning my lesson from yesterday, I waited until the last minute to hydrate my breakfast granola. It turns out, that crunchier is better. I followed my procedures, and I was ready for tent breakdown the first time I stepped out of the tent. With that taken care of, I set off for coffee, and it was on this excursion that I heard the first rumblings of “an issue”. The issue was, that the caterer did not show up for breakfast, and since that was the only food source, there was no breakfast at the beginning of the longest ride of the tour. I, was okay, but really, you can complain all you want, but if you want to get to Norwood, hop on your bike and get going. Don’t sit around and think that breakfast will somehow materialize out of the ether.« Read the rest of this entry »