Start time: 07.30
Start location: Hartsel
Start State: Colorado
Start weather: Chilly
Total millage so far: 2522.37
Finish time: 13.59
Finish location: Frisco
Finish State: Colorado
Finish weather: Chilly
Miles today: 53.53
Total millage so far: 2575.9
Today's top speed: 43.5
Today's average speed: 13.6
Todayís ride time: 3hr 54min 42
Punctures - 2 (slow back wheel), (staple in back wheel)
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
The Streets - Original Pirate Material
The Very Best Of Power Ballads
Blog for the day (Sunday, 8 July 2012):
Today was going to be one of the hardest, we were climbing up Hoosier Pass to 11,542ft. The air has been thin enough as it is, making it hard to breath and give energy to ones legs, plus I was still getting over the virus/bug. It was a cool start with mist on the plains, no sign of the buffalo, but plenty of swallows catching their breakfast. No one seem to know the exact weather forecast for what we would encounter. It was going to be cold though. We set off trough more amazing scenery, riding past where we went to see the buffalo and past the horses which the cowboy also kept. The clouds looked threatening and the temperature seemed to drop too, so I put on more layers on top of my many. Base layers, cycling gear, coats, wind stopper gloves, long socks, leggings! I was ready. Similar to what I had worn in Scotland for the Etape Caledonia which kept me warm and able to overtake 3000 other riders haha!
We stooped off at Fairplay for some hot tea and a snack. This place was pretty touristy with the whole South Park thing going on. It actually did look like South Park too. Nothing really exciting happened till we got to the start of the climb, just more fantastic scenery, it gets hard to ride as you want to keep stopping. There are some amazing fishing rivers in this area too. Lots of animals running about too like gazelles and prairie dog things, not sure which ones they are, sweet though.
Alma was the start of the climb. We stopped there for a minute or two to catch our breath, get things ready and wish each other luck. We didnít quite know what to expect from the climb, except it was going to be long and hard. There was a lot of traffic on the roads too, it being Saturday. Again like on other roads, some of the drivers were excellent, giving us lots of room, others complete jerks like overtaking a car which was overtaking us. There is a lot of outdoor sport, cycling being a big thing in the summer, so I guess the good drivers are probably cyclists themselves. Later on in the day we got to Breckennridge where there was a huge bike expo thing going on. Back to the climb, the views off to our left were amazing! A bit like Scotland, a bit like The Lakes, but just bigger. Much bigger!! I wish I could have stopped and taken photoís, but with a climb like that, you just get into a mindset, a rhythm and you just keep on going. You have some good music to help you on up, although trying to sing along or even hum, leaves you breathless. Drinking water gives the same effect because of the lack of oxygen up there. I know its not high high in mountaineering terms, but for a little olí cyclist from Glastonbury/London, it was. There is just no power going to your legs, they just get weaker and weaker as you have to keep peddling up. I pulled over to get my breath back, take in some water and eat some sweets for the last leg. From where I was it looked like another mile and the road would switchback on itself to the right where the mountain seemed higher. Up I went , then, there it was! The road summit! I was kinda shocked I had done it and there was not more climbing involved. Wow, I was at the continental divide, halfway between the Atlantic and the pacific. It was a bit of a anticlimax as I was expecting more. I thought the big marker stone was at a different angle too from other pictures on blogs. So there we were! We had our pics taken, I slapped another Union Jack flag onto the sign claiming it for Queen and Country! Haha. Then it was the rider down, YES! Fab, what goes up, must come down. I got myself ready and sett off. Apparently the road was bad with lots of loose gravel and uneven surface. I took it easy to begin with, but then found out the info to be wrong, so I put my foot down! Forget Le Tour, I was riding down towards the Pacific Ocean at breakneck speed. One wrong move, a bit of gravel and I was going to be toast. Sheer drops on one side, and traffic the other, zooming down, taking those corners. (I think the downhill ride in the Blueridge when I got lost was better, or safer, faster anyhow). There were lots of tight corners and I overshot one pretty badly, lucky no cars about, but that just gets you more excited and the adrenalin really kicks in. You start humming Kraftwork as you rush down, taking sweeping bends, overtaking other riders, trying to stay on your bike, avoid the gravel and the drops, pumping the breaks as the rims on the wheel heat up and the breaks start to fail. Oxygen becoming thicker as you go down and your body excepting it, making your body react better and faster. Woosh! Damn that was good fun! We had the best weather too, cool, no wind and no rain.
We got into Breckenridge which was tourist Capital. Lots of spend your money on, great skiing in the winter and biking in the summer. We stopped off for some food and drink and then headed out on to the bike path. That was pretty good too. Some of the corners were a bit tight as we are used to going fast. It was pretty busy but we still sped along through great scenery, really well made and thought out route. A few nasty bumps put in to kick us back to reality, but wicked all the same. Then into Frisco, another tourist hot spot and into town. Some jerk wasnít happy with my cycling, ha! Jog-on buddy. The crossroad was gridlocked, so I sailed on through on the bike. I guess some people have a problem with cyclists and the fact they can get ahead. I wonder if they bitch at motorcyclists too. Thatís it I think for the bog. Day off tomorrow, laundry and toddling about town.