Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TD 2016 Never Give Up - Colorado

Into Colorado, with a cold morning wake up ( I did not know that mosquitos could move around in temps where my hands are freezing, but they can and do ! ).  Met Mike J in Platoro and we started for Del Norte, up and over Indiana Pass.  Was a good day of riding, no weather events and I felt pretty strong most of the day. Del Norte was a pleasure to get to, rode a couple of miles with Michael Grosso who had several bike problems to deal with and we ate together, then off to find the cheap hotel.
Colorado snow
More snow

The ride to Sargents is long with two passes to cross, and I finished around 10 pm after riding along US 50 for several miles in the dark with fast traffic uncomfortably close to me. As I passed the two reservoir lakes I saw Mike Hall heading south. At this point, I have done perhaps 900 miles and he has ridden all the way from Banff.  Tented on a grassy spot in the RV camp, up the next morning on over Marshall Pass, into Salida for some new pads on my brakes.  On the way into Salida I stopped at the deli in Poncha Springs and saw Chris Plesko who was looking strong with a really tight bike setup.
Climbing to Marshall Pass
Marshall Pass

Was fun hanging in Salida with Michael G and Bundy and some other folks, getting repairs, could have just stayed there and drank beer all day, but off to Frisco the next day with a big climb over Boreas Pass. This year I knew where the bike path was taking me and I got to Frisco several hours earlier.
Just a bit of snow on Boreas Pass
Wide open spaces on the way to Hartsel

The ride to Kremmling went well, with plans of stopping after making the Radium climb, but got thwarted by a big thunderstorm. I had stopped at the Mexican restaurant in Kremmling even though it was a bit off route and when finished I stepped outside and the biggest raindrops I had seen in a while were coming down, so across the street to the Days Inn and bagged it for the day.
Osprey nest near Kremmlin Reservoir
Looking west from Ute Pass

Radium went rather well, I stopped at the Colorado Outfitters place ( couldn't last year because of the cattle drive ), and I rode the whole hill getting to the top.  I did stop a couple of times, but I didn't walk any of it. The mosquitos were fierce up there however, that whole forest area until you get to where Lynx Pass is was just full of them.  Once again, Steamboat Springs was good, but the hotels were filled up for some reason and I ended up with the last room at a Hampton Inn for $$$$.
Climbing out of Radium

The next morning, I went to the Post Office looking for my maps that Susan had sent to General Delivery and they weren't there yet. So I waiting an extra hour or so for it to open and then no result. Also got a valve core replaced in my rear tire. Turned out that it was defective and when I tried to check the pressure in the rear, the air all leaked out overnight when we were camped at Horca. Takes a while to inflate a 2.2 wide 29'er tire with my little Topeak pump !  Once fixed that was the only tire problem for the whole trip.
Don't mess with the sheepdogs

So screwing around with the Post Office would cost me. I ate at the Clark store and then started for Brush Mountain. It was raining a little bit on me and a lot someplace else, and I found that someplace else was over in Slater Park where I would get hopelessly stuck in the mud. The section between the Forest boundary and a little concrete bridge was pretty much impassable. I felt the ground giving way and the mud build up on the tires and then the rear wouldn't roll and then the front wouldn't roll. It was really pretty hopeless, you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with cows all around, the bike won't move, with the mud it's too damm heavy to pick up. I dragged it for perhaps 30 feet leaving two giant furrows in the ground ... that was pretty hopeless also.  Used a sagebrush stick to clean the mud and trudged and then repeated over and over. You couldn't even roll/ride downhill !  When I got to ground that would actually allow me to move, it was just awesome. There were 4 or 5 southbound folks on the same route and I hope they fared a bit better.

Brush Mountain 
Brush Mountain

Finally got to Brush Mountain, pretty beat up, and Kirsten was a pleasure to see once again. A pizza and lots of water and a beer and a good night's sleep made a world of difference. Thank You Kirsten !!!!  In the morning the roads toward Wyoming were in good shape and Bundy and I moved along

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