Sunday, July 28, 2013

Colorado Great Divide Days 14-17

La Garita to New Mexico

Vic and I left La Garita later than we would have liked and after meeting the unicycle riding co-owner of the Mountain Peddlar out on the trail, missed our turn for Del Norte. As it turns out it wasn't a big deal because there was another road that took us where we needed to go even if it was a little less traveled.  

Our goal for the day was to find a cyclists lodge up the road from Del Norte on the way to Indiana Pass. 
We stopped for some food at the Mountain Peddlar in Del Norte which is a unique little compound that has a cafe and shop section in one building and an inn and antiques shop in two other buildings. Great people and food there. 

Unfortunately, we never found the cyclist lodging and after darkness and rain fell around 9:30 pm we settled for a small clearing right next to the road. 

The next morning was the Indiana Pass extravaganza including approximately 3500 feet of climbing over ten miles. It was a slow ten miles, that took us up to 11,900 feet and that area right near tree line that feels sort of quiet and desolate. 

That night it rained hard again and the next day we got to a place where the road had washed out. It was soupy mess that was difficult to get through, but the intrepid Vic found a way. 

That night we stayed in Platoro (more great people at the Highline Cafe) and Max came out to ride with me to the end point just beyond Cumbres Pass. 

Max is the guy you want to ride with as much as possible. He had a Little Debbie chocolate pie for us at the top of La Manga Pass and a couple beers for the end. He also rode in the rain and dark to the car when we couldn't hitch a ride from the bottom of La Manga Pass back to Platoro. (Thanks to Alex for the hitch from NM to the bottom of La Manga Pass).

Thanks for following along everybody, I had a blast doing this. I want to finish the entire Great Divide Mountain Bike Route next summer so if you're interested in coming along let me know. 

Big thanks to Vic, Mom and Dad, Colleen and Max for helping make this thing happen. 

Next up, the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, AK to the Arctic Circle. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Colo Divide Days 11-13

 Salida to La Garita 

A pass per day on this section. First up was Marshall Pass outside of Salida. This one was a long slog that turned rainy and cold at the top and stayed that way until our stop for the night in Sargents.  
Vic was on her rebuilt Surly Crosscheck with Salsa Woodchipper handlebars and sweet orange grip tape to match her sweet orange pedals. 

It was also my birthday so Mom and Dad showed up with Thai food and cake and gave me a great head massager for a present. Dad still can't figure out if it's a joke or not. 

The next day turned out to be nice and sunny and took us through Doyleville and over Cochetopa Pass. 

Colleen and Max rejoined me for the Carnero Pass day, which so far, is my favorite. It started out as a dry, rocky, and rugged landscape that eventually turned into Aspens and Poderosas towards the top, then gave way to a volcanic rock landscape on the La Garita side. 

More pics and less chat, just how I like it. 
Next up is La Garita to New Mexico. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Colo Divide Day 10

Hartsel to Salida

This one turned out to be a solo trip that was supposed to take two days, but I was making good time so I just finished it off. 
This is what the full load looks like. Don't ask me how much it all weighs, because I don't want to know. 

Snacks/lunch/tools/tube go in the front camo bags. Sleeping bag/pad, food bag, camel back, and tent go on the back. The wheel chair and wheels go on top of that, and it's all bungee corded on the frame. There is also a water drom strapped to the frame under my knees. 

There was one major obstacle in the form of a river crossing that I needed help with. 

As luck would have it, two motorcycle dudes from WI happened by and helped me cross a bit up river where it wasn't so deep. It was however, very muddy. 

Trail Food
I have found my go to snack to be dried fruit mixed with almonds.  I supplement that with Honey Stinger waffles, gummie type snacks and bars. On those bigger days like today, I also pack something a little more substantial like tortillas with almond butter and Nutella. 

What I really want to try is three Honey Stinger waffles stacked on each other and separated by layers of Nutella. 

The next leg is Salida to Doyleville and then on to Del Norte. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Colo CDT Days 8-9

Breckenridge to Hartsel

It appears that the monsoons are upon us. Vic was the work horse this time as we left Breck in the rain for Boreas Pass and Como. 

Vic's hands got so cold we thought her fingers would fall off. 

Como has an old train station, which is not entirely unique for an old west town. What is unique is that the train station in Como is a B and B run by a Brit by the name of David Tompkins. 
David told us to set up camp near the building and come in for a beer. 

To further our joy and amazement, we learned that the food specials for the night were fish and chips and bangers and mash. Being a wee Edinburgh lass, Vic was overjoyed for a taste of home. 

The next morning Shadow, some sort of big dog mix, saw us off on the road to Hartsel. 

Joining us were my sister Colleen, her boyfriend Geoff, our friend Rachel, and Teddy the dog. 

The ride to Hartsel was basically a mad dash to miss the rain. It was successful for the most part and we were spared the evening deluge. 

Next up is Hartsel to Salida. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Colo CDT Days 6-7

Kremmling to Breckenridge

Max provided the labor on this round. He was psyched to try out his new rig, and yes he rides in flip-flops. 

Leaving Kremmling was mellow and flat until Ute Pass up around Henderson Mine where a decent climb got started.  The views of the Gore Range from the top made the grind worthwhile. We stayed at the Blue River CG outside of Silverthorne for the night and met a cool Berliner riding the Trans Am trail. 

On these multi-day sections we have a trailer to carry a lot of the stuff, but I still carry some stuff on my bike. Usually I have my sleeping bag, tent, and wheelchair frame on my rig. This time Max went all out and also carried my chair, which was awesome. 
In the front bags I have snacks, repair tools and spare tube, rain jacket and iPhone. On the back I have a sleeping bag, a beta-mid and poles, and a three liter Camelback. 

The trailer holds the stuff of whoever is with me, a small stuff sack of my extra clothes, as well as stuff we share like food, a cook set, and extra water.  The cook set is a Trangia alcohol stove with one pot. My extra clothes include a shirt, a micro puff, and either a pair of shorts or pants depending on what I'm wearing at the time. 
I do all my photography and blog updates from the phone, and so far it seems to be working out. 

The highlight of this trip had to have been the beer and pizza in the Breck City Market parking lot. The second best thing about this section was the ride back downhill to Silverthorne. 

The next section is Breck to Salida through Como and Hartsel. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Colo CDT Days 4-5

Day 4 - Lynx Pass

Today's start was the small town of Stagecoach that had cut ski runs at one time for a resort that never happened. 
Lynx Pass is a fairly mellow climb following Morrison Creek through some scenic alpine meadows and ranches in the 7000 - 9000ft range with wildflowers popping out all over.  

Towards the top we met Mark and Bruce from Upstate NY who were three weeks into the Ride the Divide race. It sounded like things weren't exactly going as planned, but they were determined to finish. 

We ended the day near Rock Creek after learning that a car was stuck in it and probably wouldn't be passable for us. 

Day 5 - to Kreming

This day was a long one, especially climbing out of Radium. It started on CR 212 near Gore Pass and rolled around for a while through the Aspens before beginning the long descent into Radium at the Colorado River. 

The views from the top of the descent to the river were spectacular, but all I could think at the time was "if it is like this climbing out the other side, it's gonna be a long day". 

Fortunately, the road climbing out the other side wasn't quite as steep and winding as I thought it would be. Turns out it was only slightly less steep and relentlessly long. Luckily it was overcast and cool, otherwise it could have been brutal. 

A rest break at Inspiration Point lookout inspired me to do things like swim in tranquil seas all morning and drink beer in a hammock all afternoon. 

The payoff was a huge downhill to the intersection of CR 1 and Hwy 9 just outside of Kremmling. Marking the end of section 1. 

Section 2 is Kremmling to Salida. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Colorado CDT Day 3

We got rained out this afternoon. The ride was a beautiful stretch of dirt along the Sarvis River under hot sun to begin with, but by the time we got to Stagecoach SP the clouds were thundering and finally let loose at the base of Lynx Pass. 

Mark "Big Air" Petty (This guy gets serious air in his old school 4-Runner) rode his motorcycle with us at the beginning before he had to head back to Lead Vegas. Thanks for the chocolate. 

It appears that tomorrow will be a long slog up Lynx Pass. Hopefully I will have enough energy to get closer to Radium. We are still on schedule, and maybe a day ahead at this point. 

My Mom and Dad are still supporting the cause. Big thanks to them for the help. 
If you are interested in riding along, you are more than welcome to show up.  Coming up is Kremmling to Silverthorne after a few rest days next week. 

I will probably be out of cell range for the next few days, so check back this weekend for a progress report. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Colo CDT Day 2

It was all pretty much downhill today, which was nice. Tomorrow it looks fairly flat  and on the following day the punishment begins and lasts for a few days. 
The route called for starting at Steamboat Lake SP on CR 62 to paved CR 129 with a short jaunt back onto the dirt on CR 44 back to 129 and into Steamboat.
We decided to do CR 62 ( which was unfortunately being sprayed with Mag-Chloride) to 129 at Clark and then veer off onto the dirt at CR 58 to meet up with 44. It was a beautiful detour through the ranch land of Routt County. A few miles were added by taking this route, but it was worth it. A nice day, a fun ride, and few beers at the end.
Tomorrow we ride from Steamboat to Stagecoach SP and hopefully beyond to start up Lynx Pass. 

I was told that I need to take more and better pictures, but that didn't really happen today. I will leave you with some cows and a promise to do better tomorrow. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

CDT CO Section Day 1

Everything went smooth like. We drove out to the Wyoming border North of Steamboat Springs on CR 129 and then proceeded to ride back the way we came, ending at Steamboat Lake State Park. 

My Dad, of course was in his jean shorts.  I was psyched to not have to carry anything as this first week is car supported by my Mom. 
It was all Northern Colorado rolling hills with loads of sheep and beautiful weather. 

Tomorrow is from Steamboat Lake SP to Steamboat.