mandag 7. juli 2014

Day 26: Day of Descent

139.6 km

I woke up to a calm, chilly mountain morning at the property of the two Texans. I had some concern that the nearby ants would give me hell, but all my stuff was ant free and I was feeling rested and ready for the road. I decided to skip the self-provided breakfast and rather save some granola and fruits I had dragged with me, for lunch instead. After packing up my stuff, I headed out on the road and I had to bike about 4 km of the stretch I had done yesterday to get to Fairplay, but it was all downhill and went by in a jiffy. By 8:00 I had eaten a hearty portion of French toast and syrup at the café I ate at last night, and started cruising down the quiet road, putting more distance between me and yesterday's mountains. It was slight downhill all the way and I was able to keep a good speed the first two hours. 

After a while I met with one of the older guys I had talked to at the summit yesterday, and Rick from  day 19. I learned that Rick had decided to quit in Pueblo,CO which was approximately halfway into the trip. He had the feeling he would not enjoy Kansas very much and made several comments on how it was better to ride with other people. I had a hard time grasping how prematurely deciding that riding in the midwest would be a drag, would make it otherwise. The whole trip is just too much to get your head around as it is, so getting into that day-by-day mentality is absolutely essential, or else you won't stand a chance. I cruised with the two guys into the small town of Hartsel where they decided to stop. I pressed on into the openness very reminiscent of Wyoming. Over the course of the trip I have come into this great regimen of riding where I start at about 8:00 - 8:30 and ride a couple of hours until I hit the 60 km mark. Then take a break with something to eat and depending on towns and availability of food, continue for about two more hours and call it a day, usually around 4 - 5 pm.

I knew today was going to be a day where I harvest from the hard labor of getting me into this altitude, so when I hit a much too long climb up to Currant Creek pass, I felt ripped off. After struggling up the pass, I sat down at the top and enjoyed a nice meal with a nice view along the quiet road. The elevation profile promised some serious descending after this pass, so I buckled up and headed downhill. This was really great. I didn't have to pedal for several kilometers and after some brutally steep, short uphills I soared down into the lower region of Colorado. Just past noon I hit the 100 km mark, and entered a ridiculously hot area. Compared to the cool mountain air (or anything I am used to), this was extreme. I was also out of water, but managed to stop at a cool café for a drink when I entered civilized regions again. The locals comforted me that this was very hot for the time of year. 

Upon entering Cañon City, which welcomed me with several correctional facilities, I grabbed a bite to eat and poured down fluids by the bucket. I did not like the atmosphere of this town one bit, so decided to press on to the next. When I got to Florence at around 15:30, I asked for directions to the city park where the map informed you had the opportunity to camp. I did not like the feel of this whole area at all, neither did I like the thought of camping here, with the park being surrounded by dodgy looking houses and people. A middle-aged guy sitting by a table with his dog, drinking a beer, started a conversation with me and told me bad stories about the area and that I should watch where I sleep when I get to Pueblo. The guy offered to let me camp in his back yard and let me use his shower, maybe I was too judgmental, but there was something about him that I did not trust. I decided to spend 50 dollars on a nice motel room instead, money I did not regret one second spending. After an overdue shower and doing some laundry, I headed out to a grocery store and got some nice stuff cooking before heading to bed.

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