Inspiration Point – Hartsel, Co. ; 205km distance, 2,380m climbing, 11hrs 32mins moving time.
I’m woken by the sound of the worlds longest train. I try to drift off, but no luck, I’m awake now, may as well get up and get moving. The other two are out cold, I pack up without making too much noise – they are quicker and they will catch me – especially if I keep riding like I was last night. All I’m doing is slowing them down anyway. I rumble up the pass eating slowly and spending far too much time inside my own head. The rising sun gives some energy to my legs and the crunch of gravel over blacktop is a welcome sound. Maybe today will be ok after all.
The ride down the first pass is nice. Mellow, fast, lots of views. By the time I start feeling the need to … well you know.. I round a corner and find a perfect vista over a lake and a pit toilet sitting there. Waiting for me to make a deposit. Why yes, thank you I will. Cold morning layers are put away for the day and I eat some more on the road skirting the trail. I’d realised I was carrying too much food so opted out of the detour to Kremmling – why bother when you can eat your bike lighter. I don’t see much for the first few hours of riding and I’m happier that way. I need to just cruise for a while and this is damn near perfect.
Another climb before the descent down into ski town land again. Frisco to Breckenridge. So yeah, I made the right call on food, had to much of that. What I didn’t have to much of was water. By the time I hit the gas station outside of town I am wiped. Cooking from the inside out. I down a litre of Gatorade, a Startwats coffee thing and am starting on a Coke when Justin rolls up. He’s looking fresh, well as fresh as you can be. He gets some food and we wait for Bailey. He’s been having better days, gets some food in, 30mins later he’s feeling better. Story of everyone’s day really. Feel shit – eat food – feel less shit -repeat – sleep.
A long and boring bike path to Frisco – then Breck – fuck this is crap. Headwind, not warm, not cold, still bright, grumpy people, this is just not fun. We stop in Breck and Subway like champs. The usual stuff in my bags and a bit more for me than normal. I’m hoping fuel may shift this mental fudge I have. It doesn’t. It’s something else. The only positives are that we all appear to be sucking today, at least that is something. We loop out of town and up into the mountains again. One of the big climbs loom for today. Boreas Pass.
The reality isn’t as bad as it’s made out – it’s by far the easiest pass we climb in Colorado. A nice steady railway grade, nice views, nice surface. It’s not warm and when I get to the top the guys already have their warm kit on for the descent. When I look back I see why – a massive storm is about to come in, we need to get down now. Off the top. Down the trail as I call out to the lads who’ve missed the start of the Gold Dust Descent – something others have done, and been regulated for. We ride down fast in the narrow gully full of baby heads, the storm is right behind us. As I get to the bottom I stop to put on more layers. The wind picks up and I know I’m about to get nailed. The guys turn up having taken a wrong turn and we all sprint for Como.
Luck is on our side as we get a roof over our heads in the old railway station/B&B/not restaurant and chat with the owner (nice English guy with a white dog the size of a small bear). The storm takes it’s time to blow over and we were lucky not to be out in it, everything is soaked. But we now have a fair wind, not just a fair wind, but one that if it holds would be a massive tail wind for at least 40km. We say out goodbyes – deal with the cross wind before turning with the wind and hammering it. The sun is setting, we’re riding fast and I of course need to piss. I pull over and do my thing and stop to get my lights on.
Nothing. My dyno is down. I curse a bit. Break out the spare cable and get my front light working again. The dirt turns to blacktop. It then turns right and onto a freeway. It’s pitch black, I’ve no rear light and cars are hammering past. I just go with it, pulling off when I see a cars lights, it sucks, but I have no option. By the time I reach Hartsel I’m mentally done from too many close calls. I order a beer and breakfast burrito and sit with the guys – who’ve already sorted some camping options on the local church-ground. My first beer needs a friend and I relax to the blaring country music in a Nascar enthused bar. i can’t help but laugh at how this day has gone again. Everyday, something fun and new. Breakfast at 6am you say? Don’t mind if I do.