Last night I self medicated: vanilla shake, gas station junk food, and three Advil PMs.
I slept for about ten hours. When I awoke, I felt infinitely better. A motel room breakfast of PB&J on a mini baguette and some of Corey’s oatmeal and I was ready to roll,
The first seven-ish miles had us continuing east alongside the Colorado River. Dang it was pretty.
At 7 1/2 miles we turned north to follow Willow Creek. After stripping off my cold weather layers, I felt as if I had never been sick. I remained wary that my body could betray me at any moment but the moment never came.
The route took us through an extensive area of forest fires that happened a couple of years ago. It was interesting to see how the forest is recovering. So many colors red, yellow, blue, green.
As we rode up the gradual climb to Willow Creek Pass, we benefited from a strong tailwind. For once I could climb and enjoy the scenery instead of looking at the road in front of me as I churned away on the pedals.
For about 15 miles the climb seemed weirdly level. Clearly we are acclimated to the elevation. The brisk tailwind didn’t hurt one bit either. The last few miles to the summit required some work but nothing like our previous two passes.
We stopped for the obligatory summit photos then had the joyful experience of descending with a tailwind. For ten miles we descended, with only a few short uphill sections now and then. We stopped at a funky bar in the town of Rand for lunch.
After lunch another 22 miles of downhill brought us to Walden. The only thing keeping us from laughing the whole way was the expansion joints in the roadway. Every 20 yards: THUD.
All day long we could see ominous storms in the distance so we took a motel room. It proved to be a good choice because one heckuva wind hit town in the early evening.
After checking in I did laundry for the three of us. Our clothes are now squeaky clean except for my arm warmers which were once white and are now a dull brown. They will be sacrificed to the bike gods later on the trip.
Corey dined in the room. Mark and I went to the River Rock Cafe for salads that turned out to be humongous.
The town of Walden is thick with TransAm riders and racers. Some are headed west so maybe we’ll see them along the way.
We expect tomorrow to be our last day in Colorado.
Miles today: 61.5 Tour miles: 1,504.5