Sunday, June 29, 2014

06_28_2014 Day Seven BTC - Creede to Gunnison

Last day  - and it's a big one! 107 miles and 6,700 feet of elevation gained. In the morning it started off as cold with mild winds. Bad sign! Later, by afternoon, it was HOT, and it was stinkin' windy.

Last camp tear-down in Creede!
We got rid of our stuff (in the UHauls) and went to breakfast ready to roll right afterward.
In front of the Community Center after breakfast...
Dave was ready to roll! We started riding about 7:15am.
There really were winds at 7:30am - they were small, but that was early for them. It was going to be a windy one.
We split up pretty quickly. Both of our bums were hurting by now and the best way to make that feel better was to be done. Plus, it was going to be a hot one so Dave took off to avoid as much of the heat as possible.
Nice scenery along the way. This is the Weminuche Wilderness in the background.
At the first aid station (mile 25) we learned of road construction ahead. They were chip sealing. The only thing worse than riding on a chip sealed road is riding on one that has JUST been chip sealed. It's like dragging a weight behind and getting more flats than usual.

For whatever reason (the guide maybe?) I didn't expect the first 25 to be a big deal. I was wrong! There were some monster steep grades heading up the pass before the 25 miles mark. It was tough!
When Dave arrived at the 25 mile mark, they were holding all the riders back and letting them go en masse. By the time I arrived, they just let us through. 
This face says it all. Chip sealing blows!
Though the surface was nasty and it was hot hot hot, it was a nice view.

Between the 25 mile mark and this mark was the scene of much psychological devastation. You see, the guide said that the summit of Slumgullion was 8 miles past the aid station...meaning at mile marker 33. It was not. Rather, the top of Spring Creek Pass was a little past mile marker 33.

Slumgullion was at about mile 39. Having expectations on miles wrong is really tough!
The views continued being amazing.

Heading down Slumgullion was fun, but had big potholes. The road was in poor condition in many spots for sure. Best to take it pretty slow. When I got to the bottom, an ambulance was heading up. No doubt there were several wipe outs and trips to the hospital.

This photo shows Wetterhorn Peak on the left and Uncompagrhe Peak on the right. These are two well-known 14ers.
More views...
Between the top of Slumgullion Pass and Lake City Co is a gorgeous lake - Lake San Cristobal.
Heading into Lake City.
Here is a photo of the fish. We took a photo of this six years before when we stopped in Lake City during a self-supported bike tour.
Lake City was at about 52 miles...only 55 miles to go! Ugh!  It was here the winds started their abuse.

Happily, there was an aid station at mile marker 75 to look forward too. It was here at the top of the Sapinero Mesa Road. This little "bump" as I had mistakenly referred to it earlier was brutal. It was HOT and it was steep. It was nice seeing the aid station there.
This aid station was not as crowded...but the sag wagons were over-flowing! People and bikes were even being carted out in the UHauls! I wonder what percentage of the tour-goers actually did this day? Not many it appeared. 
According to the guide, another aid station was at the top of the next "bump."  It was not! Gah! 
This is a biker's favorite road sign!

Getting to the top of this "bump" was super hot and stupidly windy (heads and cross winds). I zoomed (as fast as I can zoom) up and over the second bump and raced down as fast as possible. It wasn't that fast though because the cross winds were friggin' hurricane force.

Dave saw some poor guy splayed out on the side of the road on his back being tended to. Heart attack? Heat stroke? Both? Bad scene.
The aid station ended up being at the bottom of the second evil "bump".  Neither of us stopped at it opting to just keep going. We had only ten miles to go.

Dave got through town and hit the finish line.  See the poor sign folded over in the winds?

Dave got to the finish line and the car at about 3:30pm.
The shower truck and bags were waiting.
Don't trust the elevation on the monitor (it's off always), but the elevation gain for the day was just under 7k.  Big, hot, long, fun, butt-killing day!
Our bags are in here somewhere!
Dave grabbed our bags, our BTC schwag, and hopped in the truck. Happily he didn't need the tractor to pull him out. He then went to the hotel! YES! A hotel! He reserved it knowing that the five hour drive home at the end of the day was a bad idea.
After getting settled in the hotel, he came out to wait for me in front of the hotel (Alpine Inn). He waited about 30 minutes and then I rolled in. I was worked when I arrived.
See the flames coming from my quads? And my left shoulder? And my rump?  Where are the pain killers?

Yes, I was worked, but I was so psyched to have completed another BTC.  It was not easy, but as this one guy's jersey stated: "Death Before Sag".  I know the day will come that I will have to sag...I'm just glad it's not here yet!
Double Selfie at the completion point!
We met Parry and Bob back at the Twisted Fork in Gunnison. Great tour. Great new friends. Great food. We were all exhausted! Hopefully in the future you'll see a blog with the four of us together again!

Dave and I slept in a bit, enjoyed a leisurely meal then headed home. It was terrific getting home. The pain in my backside has already dissipated enough that I'm wondering what the route will be again next year. Hope Dave wants to do it with  me again! 

06_27_2014 Day Six BTC - Pagosa Springs to Creede

Today we ride from Pagosa Springs to Creede, Colorado via Wolf Creek Pass. While I've been to Creede (see our own bike tour six years ago - we stayed in Creede) we didn't do Wolf Creek Pass. This is also a new pass for Dave. Today would be 65 miles and about 5,550 feet in elevation gained.
The scenery was again gorgeous
And the weather again got hot and windy by mid-day.You can see the road cut of Wolf Creek Pass in the right center portion of the photo.
The day was almost all uphill, with the descent from Wolf Creek being the only exception.
It went on and on...
Dave and I met at the first aid station. We also saw Parry there. Dave had stayed behind and tore down camp to give me a head start. It was fun meeting at this point.
Only eight miles to get to the summit - elev. 10,860
Off I went. We rode together a short time and then Dave zoomed by.
The switchbacks were 7+% and it was HOT. Not a cloud to be found anywhere.
Cool views of the road winding its way up the mountain from the South.
Dave waited at the summit, just as he was getting ready to take off, I showed up.
Here is his selfie before I showed.
Nice to get a summit shot together.
It was cold on top! And windy (of course). Here is Dave wrestling the barricade barrel.

Now for the fun part - the descent. Squirrely winds on the way down made it a bit slower, but that is okay. Each day we saw or heard of more riders wiping out. Mostly that is due to going too darn fast for the conditions (just like in a car). 
On the way down, there are a couple of tunnels. This one is actually an avalanche snow shed. Pretty cool, but not something to go through with an 18 wheeler!
Another fun tunnel. Just your ordinary tunnel here.
An RV city near South Fork en route to Creede. I'd bet this is 80% occupied by Texans. 
And again we managed to meet up at the aid station in South Fork at the base of the Wolf Creek descent. 
Dave went ahead and got a spot at camp. Still he had time to grab a photo at the entrance into Creede.

I was back fighting those @#@!@$^# head winds. Always head winds.
They had us on a baseball diamond! It was super cramped! Check out the density.
The tent city.
Even looking out of the tent didn't hide the fact that we were packed in like sardines.
Oddly, only one person selected to camp on the dirt diamond. I thought maybe because they didn't want to foul up the field with tent stakes. Dave said before I arrived a dust devil started in it and made a big mess.

Though we were packed in like sardines, it was surprisingly the quietest night of sleep during the tour. In Pagosa Springs, we sadly had a site next to two deaf drunks. Not only were they loud because they couldn't hear anything, but they were drunk and obnoxious. Pretty annoying. Here, it was heavenly quiet!
Meals were served in the community center which gave everyone a chance to walk through town. The restaurant/bar we'd eaten at six years ago was sadly closed. There were still many cool little places here though.
BOOM! Town!
There was a beer garden in town. Dave had a glass of an interesting chile beer. Very cool!
Being silly for the camera. The heat and endless winds were taking their toll on everyone.
Lots of rock here. Looks rotten though.
On the left behind Dave is the mining museum (we went there six years ago). Next to it, underground is the Community Center. We are en route to grab dinner.
The city shuttle was so cool - a real old fire truck. It's was such fun seeing it zipping up and down the main street with a bunch of bikers on board.
Looks like rain. No rain.
Here is the sign of the outdoor shop. In one of the boots was a nest of House Sparrows. We watched the parents deliver food all evening. Very cute!

Tomorrow is the last day - and it's a big one: 107 miles from Creede back to Gunnison. In our tour six years before, we'd gone the opposite direction in two days. There are two passes and two "bumps".  It'll be a long one!