I stayed up to watch game 7 of the Stanley Cup. Not that I cared but game 7s are usually exciting. This one was meh, mostly because this is only the second hockey game I watched all year. Time management is my middle name.
After my hotel breakfast. I rode westbout of Ridgway to Dallas Divide, an 8,900 foot pass through snow covered mountains and lush meadows. I hate the climbs around here but the scenery is amazing.
I was about a half mile from the top of the climb when I realized that I was killing myself to go 3 mph. I dismounted and walked the rest. The smile is one of relief.
The ride down the other side was not as fast as I expected. Mostly I kept my speed under 25 mph.
I pulled into a general store in Placerville. I talked to a cyclist who had just ridden from Telluride. This was the route on my maps. He reported that he couldn’t find camping in town so he settled on a $180 motel room.
That’s a bit rich for my blood. I talked to the store owner. She confirmed that road over the mountain from Telluride is a killer climb and that the road on the downslope going into Dolores Co was partially blocked by a humongous boulder.
It would be cool to see the boulder but the climb would be to 10,200 feet. She, as did the people in Ridgway, recommended that I ride off route to Norwood, Colorado.
So I headed west to Norwood. This means I will miss Dolores and Cortez, Colorado. I’m sure they are scenic but the ride down the San Miguel Canyon toward Norwood was truly spectacular. The San Miguel River was gushing with snowmelt. The hills were red rocks, all jagged and menacing looking.
After ten miles of easy riding I hit Norwood Hill. I was lead to believe that this was no big deal but it was a climb out of the canyon. After a mile or so, I was once again grinding away for 3 mph. Time to push. I passed a crew working to clear fallen rocks off the road. I kept pushing and peaking over the edge of the road. There was no guard rail just a drop of several hundred feet.
I kept pushing and the base of the canyon kept getting smaller, until finally I was over the top and could ride into Norwood with minimal effort.
Norwood has three hotels. The working class motel had no vacancies. The tony Inn didn’t either. My last hope was the Back Country Inn on the west end of town. There was not a single car in the spotless parking lot. As it turned out this was because the motel’s guests were all road crews working in the area.
I asked the owner if there was anywhere I could camp. She offered me a space in the lawn behind the motel for $20 with shower, towels, and breakfast included.
No it’s time to head into town for some vittles. Tomorrow I ride over the mountains 70 miles with 4,000 feet of climbing and 4,200 feet of descending. I booked a room in the motel to be sure I won’t end up in the woods feeding Clif bars to the bears.
Miles today: 42
Tour miles: 1,689
Top speed: 31.6
By this point in a bike tour I am normally getting stronger. Not this time. The mountains and the thin air are very tough.