Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 4 Statistics

Lake Powell, Utah to Salida, Colorado

351.98 miles
8 summits including Lizard Head Pass @ 10,222 foot elevation
and Monarch Pass @ 11.312 foot elevation

Day 22 - Sunday July 6 - Blanding Utah to Dolores, Colorado

No clock in the room and exhausted from yesterday, we slept in until 7:00. But since Slackin' Zach and Randy had already hit the road, we were out of the door and on our bikes by 7:25 am......we had some catching up to do.
Though we seemed to be biking like we were being chased, our bodies were numb to yesterday's miles and breakfast lay ahead in the next town, Monticello. Luckily the morning was clear and cool...

...all we had to do was climb 21 miles to get there.
We should have guessed that nothing would be open in Utah on a Sunday, so we stopped at a truck weigh station and had piece of blueberry bread and a snack bar; not exactly pancakes and coffee, but enough to get us to lunch.

As we crossed into Colorado
we started our rolling hills through beautiful green pastures
filled with cattle and horses.
Lisa, sorry we could not get pictures of the three foals we saw today, one was camera shy and the other two were on downhill fly.
The houses seemed to change, reflecting cute to grand log cabins.
Our destination was Dolores; a sleepy western ski town along the very picturesque Dolores River.
The campground was just past town and nestled among trees and the banks of the river.
As we pedaled to our campsite, Randy's wife had a most incredible dinner already prepared for us. A quick hot shower and then the rest of evening eating,

(some drinking more than others) and listening to the music of the river. Logged 84 miles. Note: Randy's wife, Karen, and daughter, Laci drove in from their home in Eire PA to join Slackin' Zach on the rest of his ride home. We have enjoyed them immensely!

Day 23 - Monday July 7 - Dolores to Telluride, Colorado

It was tough to leave the serene riverbank and campsite, but we were on our bikes by 6:00 am. We had 3500 feet to climb and were not sure what the terrain was like or what weather held in store for us.
The morning was cool as we followed a beautiful narrow valley

along the Dolores River three quarters of the way up the mountain.
Did I mention it was picturesque?
It was a steady climb that offered us our first glimpses of the snow capped Rocky Mountains; one of which we still had to climb.
We stopped in Rico for a breakfast recharge
and continued our climb.
As we climbed the cool day turned rather crisp. By the time we hit the summit at 10,222 feet
it was 47 degrees without the wind chill; but the scenery was spectacular.
Eighteen more miles, mostly downhill to Telluride
and a day off! Over 63 miles today.

Day 24 - Tuesday July 8 - DAY OFF in Telluride!

Telluride...............beautiful, charming, etc, etc!



We had a great day off.
And found a new motto in the process!

"Nothing is Impossible, You just don't Know how to do it Yet"

Day 25 - Wednesday July 9 - Telluride to Montrose, Colorado

We took off at 6:00 with the temperatures in the 40's. What we didn't count on was the downhill wind chill..........we have no idea what it was, but it had to be below freezing. Only a couple miles out of town we had to stop at a gas station for hot chocolate, gloves and to try to thaw out Mr. Grizzly.
A half an hour later, we gave the downhill trek another try........still freezing, but it had to be done. The downhill from Telluride was beautiful, but our fingers were too frozen to take any pictures.
The sun finally hit the road around 9:00 and we began to feel a little more human and began to take photos.

Then we began our 1600 foot climb to the Dallas Divide, still with beautiful snow caps in the distance.

Made it to a cute little town, Ridgeway,
for lunch (sorry Coop, got the marg. message too late). Check out this original 1890's train.
After lunch we met with a headwind for the long hot stretch to Montrose.
Dragged ourselves into Montrose, where we had to say goodbye to Randy
as he had to head back home to go to work......terrible thing.
Randy, we really enjoyed your company and riding with you these last few weeks, sorry you had to leave; we will miss you!

We had been offered a place to stay at Jim & Patsy's, brother and sister-in-law of old friends of ours, dave & helen.

We didn't expect such a great home, wonderful company and incredible homemade dinner; Patsy could open a restaurant with that kind of incredible food. Many Thanks and safe biking, you two!

Day 26 - Thursday July 10 - Montrose to Gunnison, Col.

Today was tough!
As Jim and Patsy promised, a strong head wind awaited us as we biked out of town. The 20 mph head wind was not what we needed for our immediate 14 mile, 2000 foot climb to the Cerro Summit (7900 feet)......it took us three hours.
We dropped down (1000 feet) into Cimmaron and stopped at the only place 'in town'

for a bite to eat. Jerry made a new friend, too.
On a full stomach we climbed again. This time only 1500 feet to the Blue Mesa summit (8600 feet), but without the head wind we managed it in under two hours.
What we didn't count on or see coming was an additional drop and climb after our second summit.
Though it was hot and we were spent, we did enjoy the beauty of the wild flowers
the mountains
and the Blue Mesa Reservoir.
The last ten miles into Gunnison took longer than it should as someone kept stopping to watch the fly fisherman,
but that's okay, as it was beautiful.
Our eleven hour day ended with 67 miles logged. The rainbow at the end of today was an incredible pizza (yes Justin, it rivals Regino's) at Mario's Pizza. We recommend the trip if you are in Crested Bute for skiing.

Day 27 - Friday July 11 - Gunnison to Sargents, Col

We biked out of town mid-morning today following the Tomichi Creek

through a beautiful valley
filled with lamas, cows and horses.
The wildflowers were beautiful, but difficult to photograph. Gunnison might even be a neat place to live if it wasn't for the deserved reputation of being the coldest place in the lower 48 (-38 degrees from one local); might as well live in Prince George.
Though we had a steady uphill climb, we had a nice cooling wind that helped us up the humps. We reached Sargents by 3:00
with a choice of a camp site or their last remaining log cabin, we splurged.
Our ride today was short (33 miles), so we can save up for tomorrow. We did have the choice to take a longer route today to avoid tomorrow's ride, but that would mean we'd miss the Continental Divide..........and we can't have that.
Stay tuned tomorrow to see if we make it over!

Day 28 - Saturday July 12 - Sargents to Salida, Col.

......and now the gorry details.
I'm not sure why we got up at 5:15 am, since we had agreed the night before that we were not leaving until 7 am, so it would warm up a little. Apparently, Duckie III was ready to go.

Anyway, it was still 38 degrees when we left our warm cabin
to begin our immediate 10 mile 3,300 foot climb.
The flowers and morning colors were beautiful,
the climb steep
and slow,
but the scenery was spectacular.
We did our first five miles in exactly an hour. Just as we stopped for our 5 mile break, the wind kicked up
and continued to try to hold us back from reaching our summit.
Though it took us three hours to do it, we made it!


Mountains everywhere,
plus a view of where we'll be heading in the next few days.
Ten miles down and another 13 miles to the town of Salida and margarita (or two) to celebrate! It was a good day.