After being delayed at the Asheville Airport, my riding buddy and friend Shawn Evans arrived in Frisco via a Newark connection and a late night Uber ride from Denver International to the Frisco Holiday Inn. That's where we found him just after 10:00 AM on Friday. Greg and I loaded him up and we went and got some camp supplies. After saying thanks and farewells to Greg, Shawn and I loaded up on some great pizzas at Fatty's so we'd have plenty of fuel for Boreas Pass. For the next week, I'm going to have a partner on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route!
Shawn quickly realized that he had packed way too much for his set up and we spent about 45 minutes after lunch at the Post Office downsizing and shipping things back to Hendersonville. When we started riding, it began to rain. We found shelter at the ice rink and the rain stopped after about 10 minutes. Shawn had the challenge of landing in Colorado and starting some tough riding without any acclimatization. Fortunately, Breckenridge sits at 9,600 ft above sea level and Boreas Pass Rd follows an old narrow gauge railway, meaning the grade is never steep. And Shawn is tough. He made it like a champion.
Then it was the long descent into Como. The views were spectacular. Colorado has experienced an unusually wet summer. I was explaining to Shawn how this valley is never this green so late into the season. We stopped at the art galllery/post office in Como (gotta love small towns) where Shawn sent some cards and we admired the local artists.
Just a little over 20 more miles to Hartsel. The dirt road we were riding on had lots of traffic so we were getting a lot of dust blown on us. Then we had to get on HWY 24. It was busy and nerve racking and the cars were traveling really fast. But we made it to Hartsel safe and tired. Found free camping behind the bar/restaurant there. Ordered burgers inside. When our food came out, they didn't bring the top half of our buns. It was weird and hilarious. Apparently the cooks left them on the grill.
Towards the end of the night, it was just me and Shawn and two cowboys in the bar. One walks over to the jukebox, Lil Wayne starts playing and the cowboys start bouncing their heads to the beat. Ah, Colorado...
In the morning, we had breakfast with a couple that were camping near us. They were biking from St Louis to Oregon, but the girl had hurt her back. So now they were trying to hitch a ride for themselves, their bikes and dog to Dillon.
Real pretty ride through some ranches and rolling hills today. You could see the Collegiate Range in the distance. A couple of short, steep climbs followed by one big one later in the day before we descended into Salida. We missed the rain, so that was a bonus.
Salida is a great town. I'd never heard of it until I spent a night here two years ago during Bike Tour of Colorado. There's rafting and kayaking on the Arkansas River through town, mountain biking right from downtown, not too far from Monarch Ski area and it has a really cool artsy scene. Amica's is great pizza and beer but tonight we went for pho at Little Cambodia.
After spending time in Breckenridge and Salida, the towns get much smaller from here. Blog updates may be sparse the rest of the trip. Cellular connection spotty. Tomorrow we start off right away climbing up to 11,000 feet Marshall Pass. Hopefully, Shawn and I can make some good time to get him deep into New Mexico before he has to fly back home.