Ride 2016 Day 14

Here we are now 2 weeks into this adventure. My daily routine has become a cycle of rising with the sun, breakfast, final repacking of the panniers, filling water bottles, packing my bike jersey with phone, wallet and baggie of trail mix. More than an hour after sunrise, I am on the road. I stop for pictures, potty breaks, water, posting to Facebook if I have connectivity, and sometimes I stop just because I need to get off the bike for a while. I might be able to find a place to eat. Most days I find great, local diners. Some days, like the ride to Cortez, I wasn’t so lucky. I had to live off the water, trail mix, and a banana I had packed for forty miles of hills and headwinds that lasted for more hours than I would have liked. At the end of the ride, I check into the hotel or my warm showers home. If I’m in a hotel, it’s all business. First order of business is to clean. I take my shower, wash my clothes so they can be dry by the next morning, and then work on the bike. I find a place for dinner. I call Becky and get caught up with any issues at home. Then I  work on the blog and any other posts. The blog can take an hour or 2 hours if the wireless connection is poor. Sometimes it has taken 5 to 10 minutes to upload a single picture. Sometimes longer if it failed the first time! All this is to say that I have somewhat lost track of time. I certainly lose track of what day of the week it is!


Had to do that in case I forgot.

We opened the door and found it was hailing
20 minutes later it was sunny

It’s great having my brother Mike with me these last few days. I enjoy his company and even better, he carries my panniers! The Colorado weather is very dynamic. The checkpoints along my route from Durango to Bayfield to Piedra and on to Pagosa Springs all had less than 30% chance of rain with temperatures in the 40s. I was all set to take my bike out the hotel. Mike opened the door and it was hailing. Twenty minutes later, the sun was shining, the roads were wet, but I was on my way to Bayfield with a 1000 foot climb along the way. Mike met me there and my second breakfast was an egg sandwich at a Subway.FB_IMG_1462666082793


Second breakfast at Subway
Second breakfast at Subway

The next town Piedra, was 19 miles away and another 900 foot climb. When I was close to that next summit, I felt something like cold sand hitting me. I don’t know if you would call it sleet, micro hale, but it really wasn’t snow. It did make me and the roads wet. It lasted about 15 minutes, and when I went flying down a hill or the wind gusted I felt like I was at the wrong end of a shooting gallery facing an army of Ralphies armed with BB  guns. As the unidentified precipitation came to an end, I was looking for a rest stop in Piedra. All I found was an abandoned restaurant. A fitting finish to my ghost town. At least it was more than 6 miles of downhill. Without the panniers, I felt a little more comfortable letting Hidalgo run.

Typical of the uphill/downhill landscape
Typical of the uphill/downhill landscape

I had a very long straight away where there was no one in sight ahead of me and nothing in my rear view mirror. I topped out at 39.5 mph, but I stayed above 30 mph for minutes. My average for the day was closer to 13 mph. It just shows how long you have to ride at 6 to 8 mph uphill to pay for that little joy ride on the other side.

I saw a few very large deer along the road. They were roadkill and the biggest raven I have ever seen was gorging on one of them. Approaching Pagosa Springs, I saw my first live deer of the trip. There was a pack of five running at the edge of the woods in the distance. I also came across a neighborhood of prairie dogs.

Along the ride I have seen those “Tiny Houses” being towed to some unknown future location. Today, I finally saw one in its final resting place on my way in to Pagosa Springs.

I had pictures of many of these things, but due to technical difficulties, I lost most of them transferring them from the phone to the tablet I carry. So, I’ll just close with a few pictures Mike took on the video camera he brought. I don’t have a proper converter to get the videos into a format acceptable to Youtube. I hope to do that when I hit Indy.

Finishing in Pagosa Springs
Finishing in Pagosa Springs


Meanwhile we plan for the grand summit. Everyone keeps telling me about Wolf Creek Pass. It is the geographic high point of the trip. Roughly 10,800 feet up in the air. From what I can tell, about 3000 feet of my climb will happen in about 6 miles. The day’s ride will be 72 miles in all. Hidalgo has been modified to have a mountain bike rear cluster. I won’t be carrying the panniers. I can stand on the pedals if I need to without losing balance. I might have to at times.

The Lone Rider

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