After three 8,000+ foot summits, my body was really tired. I slept hard again.
After motel breakfast I hit the road, heading south in the general direction of Telluride.
I knew I was riding slightly uphill, so I decided to take in the scenery and plod along at 9 mph. The temperature was comfortable and the winds were light.
I spotted a coffee shop along the road at Colons don I took a break and had a coffee and a doughnut.
A customer in the shop started chatting with me. She recommended that I not follow the Western Express route over Lizard Head pass and ride off route to the town of Norwood instead. I am always wary of taking route advice from non- cyclists; the terrain looks different from behind the wheel of s car. I thanked her and we both hit the road for Ridgway.
The terrain was slightly hillier but not granny worthy. The lack of a shoulder and the idiots driving campers made sure I was adequately stimulated.
The last three miles into town were on a concrete trail. It went along a river, through a marsh, and into town. A big improvement over the highway.
I stopped at the town bike shop and talked to Nate about the Norwood thing. He agreed that it was a better route that would also bypass Dolores, CO.
I’ll see how I feel after riding through Dallas Divide, an 8,900 foot pass before Lizard Head.
During my ride today I never felt right. My right thigh cramped a few times and I felt light headed. I think my body is tying yo tell me something.
After talking with Nate I decided to have an early lunch and see if I felt like riding on. Lunch made me feel better but I was still a little lightheaded. I checked into a motel and called it a day.
The Wanderlust Hostel in Gunnison worked out great. I walked to dinner at The Dive, a not at all divey open-air bar and grill.
I slept well which is attributable to me being super tired, wearing earplugs, and taking a little something to help me sleep. About a week ago I bought some chewy edibles at a weed store. I bought them as s lark to see how high I would get. I barely felt a thing out of the ordinary the first night I took one but I slept hard and woke up with zero pain in my wonky left knee or anywhere else in my body. As a pain reliever, edibles worked much better than ibuprofen.
After a humongous gut bomb at a Gunnison diner, I headed west on US 50. I left my bike in the backyard of the hostel, not knowing that it has a sprinkler system for the lawn. My helmet and gloves were the only things that got wet. Do I began the day wearing my floppy hat and the long fingered gloves I bought for descending mountain passes.
The ride from Gunnison was virtually flat and the wind was low. This allowed me to enjoy the scenery in the Currcanti National Recreation Area. The scenery is amazing here. I took a bunch of pictures, too many to fit on this post so check out my Instagram page (Search for Rootchopper, of course).
About 19 miles into the day I came across Dan Hurwitz who is riding east from San Jose. Dan was at a pull out along the road. He was using a compact luggage scale to redistribute the load in his panniers, because his bike was wobbling during descents.
We exchanged info. He gave me his card. His blog is bikerdan.wordpress.com.
Speaking of blogging cycle tourists, my friends Mark and Corey have abandoned their TransAmerica trip after riding well over 2,000 miles from Yorktown, Va. I don’t know quite why they packed it in but I’m pretty sure thin air didn’t help. They were a real treat to ride with. I was hoping to meet up with them in Oregon.
He told me the hills between Sapinero and Montrose were difficult. I was amused when he said, “It is what it is.” This should be the touring cyclist’s mantra. He reports that today and much of his tour featured a tailwind.
After Sapinero about 900 feet of climbing would take me to 8,500 feet in about 5 miles. That hill was hard and the headwind was no fun but the scenery of the Blue Mesa Resevoir at least took my mind off the misery.
After a short descent, the road rose up again taking me to 8,700 feet. Okay, that was hard too. A week ago it would have done me in but my wee granny gear and wicked awesome scenery got me to the tawp.
A ten-mike descent followed. The headwind was no match for The Mule in full gallop.
Near the base of the descent I pulled into a general store. They had no restrooms or WiFi for dining customers. I would have walked out but my body needed something more than another apple. The sandwich, fries, and Gatorade hit the spot. I paid without leaving a tip, which is highly unusual for me.
A sign in the store said I could find a restroom 1.8 miles to the west. And, thankfully, the pit toilet at a pull out met my rather urgent need.
Then began climb number three. Oh joy. This one was about 900 feet in five miles.
I stopped every mile to let my legs and lungs recharge. The top came and I posed from the obligatory I-climbed-this-motherfucker photo. (Should I have hyphenated motherfucker? Discuss.)
After my selfie moment, I gradually descended over 19 miles to the city of Montrose. I passed by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. From what I saw it has a lot of hills that look to be made out of adobe.
When I arrived in Montrose I discovered that I was now at 5,807 feet; this was the first time since Pueblo that I’d been this low. I also discovered that it was 89 degrees. I can’t complain. Other than the headwind it was a very good day to be on a bike.