Bike Tour 2022 – Hot Sulphur Springs to Walden

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 banquette 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.

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.

Early morning scenery
Burn area
Matt, eastbound on the TransAm, on an ebike
Suman , from New Haven, racing the Trans Am
Check out the keyhole in that massive rock
Snow capped mountains in the distance

Corey dined in the room. Mark and I went to the River Rock Cafe for salads that turned out to be humongous.

My steak salad. Colorado beef is truly tasty

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

Bike Tour 2022 – Silverthorne to Hot Sulphur Springs

We stayed at The Pad hostel in Silverthorne. We had a 4 bed (2 bunk beds) room with just the three of us. It was spotless as was the communal bathroom. Corey’s bed was made up inversely. The sheet was on top of the bed spread.

The lobby had a bar and a pizza company set up outside. They made 10-inch pizzas to order. I had a pizza and two Viennese amber lagers. Just what I wanted. Or so I thought.

We retired to our room early because the lobby bar became very crowded mostly with locals gathering to listen to the live band. (This hostel really does have it all.)

As for sleep, I was up all night with tummy problems. Was it the beer? The runny huevos rancheros? The exertion at altitude? Covid? Monkeyrotovirus?

We had places to go so my tummy woes and sleep deprivation had to take a back seat to forward progress.

We rode to a local diner that Corey and Mark ate at in 2019. It was quite good. After a quick stop at Target for Clif bars for Mark and Pepto for me, we – clad in our cold weather gear – headed west along the scenic Blue River

The first thirty miles were downhill with a tailwind, except for a hilly (as in not mountainous) ride on a side road around a reservoir. Prior to the reservoir, we stopped to commemorate the site of Mark and Corey’s 2019 TransAm abandonment. From that point on we were all in unfamiliar riding territory.

The water level in the reservoir was shockingly low. I stopped at a high spot to change out of my cold weather gear. It took me 20 minutes to do, I was that wiped.

Not long after we rejoined the main road. I felt much better in shorts and a shirt. I managed a decent showing getting to the town of Kremmling.

We ate lunch (maybe the best cheese burger I’ve had in a decade) and verified that camping was unavailable in Hot Sulphur Springs, our planned destination. Mark worked his magic and secured us a two-bed motel room. Corey volunteered to sleep on floor.

On the way to Kremmling we lost 1,700 feet in elevation in 41 miles. The 17 1/2 miles to Hot Sulphur Springs seemed like a net downhill but we actually gained 300 feet from Kremmling.

The scenery did its best to keep my mind off my misery. Tall mountains with snow drooling down their faces were followed by scenes of meandering rivers, replete with fly fishermen. We crossed the Colorado River and the impressive Green Mountain dam. We even saw two TransAm racers and were duped by a third eastbound rider who appreciated our enthusiastic cheers.

Every five miles gave us a different landscape to admire.

I managed to pull myself together for about ten miles but the last five were not much fun.

If you are on Strava, you should follow Corey Kapteyn and Mark Ferwerda. They are taking scads of pictures.

The Pad – it’s actually much bigger but I didn’t want to fall in a creek to get a wider shot

Tomorrow we plan on another 60-mile day, this one featuring our third mountain pass and our second crossing of the Continental Divide.

Miles today: 59. Tour miles: 1,443.