It was tolerably cold last night; temperatures were in the high 40s at dawn. We started our ride with a steep 1.3 mile descent. It woke us right up.
Heading north on Highway 9, we came across an interesting scene right out of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. In a field to the left of the road a coyote (or perhaps a wolf) was chasing a small deer. For a while the canid had the deer by the throat. The deer ran and fought eventually shaking the attacker off and making its escape.
A short while later we stopped along the road to peel off our warm layers. The early morning’s work involved climbing to Current Creek Pass at 9,404 feet. We bombed down from the pass, rode through a valley, then climbed right back up an unnamed hill of the same elevation.
The serious business behind us, we enjoyed a 13 mile ride through Buffalo Gulch to second breakfast in Hartsel.
The 18-mile ride that followed featured a view of mountain valleys and snow capped mountains. My map said that there would be a series of short climbs on this stretch but what we experienced was more like an 18-mile false flat. A false flat looks level but actually ascends gradually. It’s just enough elevation gain to be demoralizing. We arrived at Fairplay dog tired.
We had discussed continuing on ten miles to Alma but we were toast and we knew it. We checked into a dumpy motel and called it quits.
I’ve been having mechanical problems with my drive train. I switched chain lubes in Kansas and the chain has become a mess. At the motel I methodically cleaned and re-lubed the chain with my old lube. I hope this fixes the problem.
We are now at 9,984 feet. Tomorrow we will climb to 11,515 feet to ride over Hoosier Pass, the highest point in the trip. After taking some photos we get to descend through Breckenridge to either Silverthorne or Frisco.
We continue to closely monitor the situation in Yellowstone where massive flooding of the Yellowstone River has destroyed infrastructure in sections of the park. We are more than a week away so we hope to luck out and get to ride through the southwest corner of the park.
Miles today: 48 Tour miles: 1,343.5