Fortune favors the audacious. ~Erasmus
As will happen, an idea was planted.
It germinated for a few weeks, drawing nutrition from surroundings; a friend did a 150 mile bike race, the Pro Cycle Challenge went past my window, a co-worker rides his sick Surly Long Haul Trucker to work.
Need breathed vitality. I had to be at a conference 140 miles away and don’t have a car.
It leaped to life in the Margolis garage one evening, in the form of a veteran 10 Speed Soma (I call him ‘Nippon’). We were introduced by Nippon’s ward, Papa M.
Papa M is no stranger to the pull of the pedal. He told Mighty Mouse and I a few riding war stories as he rifled about, piecing together a full kit. This man and his garage equipped the entire expedition. He imparted advice in terms I can understand.
Don’t ride faster than you’re prepared to slide on your face across asphalt.
When you get a flat tire, rest assured, it will be raining.
Bring a CO2 cartridge and It’ll be less miserable.
As we reviewed the basics, I was reminded of the Earth Rider Gents (who are, at this very moment, out there pedaling somewhere).
A buddy had asked if I would be training for this venture. I consider this a training for the Central America and Canadian portions of my Trek.
I rode to work that week and practiced shifting, cursing at slipped chains in downpours, and grew accustomed to oil stained finger tips.
The night before departure, I had the newbie jitters. Packed everything, only to unpack it, scrutinizing and double-bagging along the way. Plagued by what I might be forgetting while staggering beneath the weight.
This is a map of the ride from Silverthorne to Craig. I carried the basic camping gear (tent, sleeping bag/pad, rain-gear) and 3 days of clothes and notebooks for Colorado’s Health Guide training for the ACA. Outfitted in biking apparel my mother has passed down over the years.
While I have reserved some criticism for this one particular pair of shorts, I must finally admit:
thanks, mom, for the diaper spandex.
They saved my ass.
I opted against bringing stove and kitchen set up, instead carried a ready-made dinner. Food was probably my biggest initial miscalculation. I packed enough bars and snacks for every meal, not realizing that when you ride along roads, you pass through towns.
And towns have food that is more delicious than what is in your Ziploc bag.
I mean, after 40 miles, do you want a smooshed, melted Snickers or that Subway you can smell across the street?
The jitters settled when Pellet offered to come along for the first 40 miles. The Pro Challenge Stage 3 profile gave me a good idea of what to expect of the first 100.
Next morning we met at the Mountain Lyon Cafe for breakfast.
The weather was good and the roads have shoulders.
We set out North on Highway 9.
Not having ridden roads in any other states I can’t say for certain but I strongly suspect Colorado is one of the friendlier states for road bikers. Long stretches with broad shoulders. When the white line WAS the edge of the road, most drivers gave ample berth.
We detoured around Green Mountain Reservoir. This side road adds a few miles to an overall trip but allows you to enjoy the impressive views up into gnarly Gore Range. Crossing the dam at the northern end, we passed cliffs for jumping into the reservoir as well as a few sport climbs in the rocks above.
Arriving in Kremmling for an early lunch, we enjoyed Subway in the shady town park before parting ways. I continued north on 40.
Left to my own devices I quickly came to appreciate why I had been encouraged to upload music rather than stream it. Reasons being: battery drain and long stretches without reception.
So, load your music ahead of time, ya’ll.
I got used to the sounds of the road. The whirring of the tires, the patter of the chain, the wind-suck when trucks pass. As Pellet had warned, “when you hear diesel be careful, they might be towing something.”
I couldn’t so much hear the difference of an approaching diesel, as I could smell them. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that dead skunk smells less bad than fetid deer carcass. Another one of those, “I could have lived a full and happy life without experiencing that,” tidbits. But now you know.
The landscape mellowed, then climbed. First Muddy Pass, then Rabbit Ears Pass, where I pitched a stealth camp for the night and wished I had brought camp shoes. And now I am bored and this is already getting long.
I recently read somewhere that Top 10 Lists will make more people want to read your blog. So, here is mine.
Top 10 Gross/Dead Things Smelled while Road Biking
Abandoned Poo Bags
Porcupine (big mess)