Bike Tour 2022 – Guffey to FairPlay

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. 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

The view from Current Creek Pass
Buffalo Gulch
The approach to Fairplay

Bike Tour 2022 – Cañon City to Guffey

We broke camp at the abbey around 7:30. The abbey dorm was an excellent deal. We rode to Mugs for breakfast. I ate there 4 times including dinner last night. After brekkies, we headed west on US 50. It was a bit hillier than I had anticipated. Luckily the temperature was in the low 60s and we had a tailwind.

We were at about 6,000 feet after ten miles when we turned north on Colorado Highway 9 and the fun began in earnest. I gave myself a puff of albuterol in the hopes that it would help me breathe. To my surprise it did.

Up and up and up again. At one point we cycled a 9 percent grade to over 7,000 feet. I had to stop multiple times to get my heart rate down and my breathing under control.

Mark and Corey were usually well ahead of me with their young legs (they’re 65, I’m 66) and lighter bikes. One day I’m going to show up with a titanium bike filled with helium and kick their asses.

Our misery was interrupted by two competitors in the TransAmerica Trail Race. They were enjoying the downhill from Hoosier Pass.

We were laboring on the climbs. Thank god for that tailwind and cool temps. I had an annoying noise coming from certain gears. At the end of the day we each looked the bike over and couldn’t find anything wrong.

We arrived at the turn for Guffey after nearly 34 miles. We regrouped in a surprisingly nice coffee shop. Root beer and a muffin plus some Fig Newmans. Then we did the final mile up to Guffey at 8,891 feet.

I am feeling a little lightheaded but I’m pretty happy with the day. We’ll sleep in an unheated cabin. No running water. No shower. An outhouse. We’re going to freeze our asses off overnight.

The turn onto Hwy 9
TransAm racer descending
Mark preparing to launch after a roadside break
Parts of an animal skeleton on the side of the road.
Extreme fire hazard.
Our cabin (white door) at the “hostel” in Guffey. If the zombie apocalypse happens, this will be the place.

Miles today: 35. Tour miles: 1,295.5