Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adventures with Shawn

As I write this, Shawn is pedaling away from me. He is riding to Alamoso to rent a car and drive home. Logistically, this was the best way for him to get back. Now, I'm back to solo.

The last two days have been really neat. I think Shawn feels like he slows me down, which is not the case. I do climb faster, but I really don't mind waiting at the top. I just like to be done with climbs. To fly to altitude and ride the terrain and elevation that he has is pretty tough. Props to him.

We left Salida on Sunday morning and started climbing towards Marshall Pass. About 17 miles of climbing, but never steep. Saw some CDT hikers at the top of the pass and lots of people riding portions of the Colorado Trail. We descended to Sargent where we had surprisingly good food at Tomichi Creek Trading Post in Sargent. From there we had to share HWY 50 with lots of cars as we headed west. We turned off in Doyleville and  began more climbing.

The scenery was pretty, but the riding was tough late in the day. We rallied and made it all the way to the Upper Dome Reservoir, where we camped for the night. Met a few riders from Boulder doing the Great Divide through Colorado. They were being supported though, meaning that they rode with little weight and gear.

Yesterday, we got up early and tackled Cochetopa Pass. We were already over 9,000 ft, so the climb wasn't too bad. It took some time in the morning as Shawn rearranged his packing but we were off around 9:30. The east side of the pass, you enter some neat rock formations and a nice descent. Then we are climbing again. The climb to Carnero is deceiving. It's pretty gradual. There was a steep pitch and then it evened out again. But the last 1.5 miles becomes really steep and tough. It was definitely a grind.

At the top, it starts raining. We head down the pass and get soaked and become freezing. My fingers go numb. The Adventure Cycling maps say that there is lodging at La Garita Lodge. We were looking forward to warm and dry. When we get there, we are disappointed to see that it is closed. We're cold and wet and I'm trying to call other lodging. We decide to bike the extra 10-11 miles to Del Norte.

Then a man pulls up and asks if he can help us. We tell him our situation and he says that the lodge is booked for a wedding party but if we want, we can camp and use the bathrooms. We thought about it. Then he says that we can sleep on the floors inside. We take him on the offer, which was a good call because it rained off and on the rest of the night. At least we had warm showers and were dry. The lodge was great for our needs and a literal refuge in the storm. We were very thankful for the hospitality and mercy of Mike.

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