Departure from Salida was at just before 9am, and I was a bit nervous because I decided to pull a Michael Scott the night before and eat nearly two boxes of whole wheat pasta. When we started the ride I was not feeling great. However, once we reached the first big climb I was feeling good.
About half way up the climb the rain started and I made a shelter against a tree with my tarp. We waited out the heavy rain for about 30 minutes. The second half of the climb was not so bad because they were doing construction and we had long breaks in traffic. By 2:30 we had made it to the top! The views on either side were breathtaking!
After a break for lunch at the too the decent began, and I was very nervous! 13 miles down and speeds of over 40mph if you do not touch the breaks. I was probably going closer to 25 and my hands were sore from holding the breaks. Just as I was about to take a break half way down Nick waved me over. He writes for a cycling/beer blog and a fellow writer recognized the blog name on Nick’s jersey and waved him over for a beer. Luckily enough he had another to share.
Once I downed one of Milwaukee’s finest barley-pops and thanked our new friend I continued on my with my death-grip decent. I actually think it was the brew and conversation that gave me the courage to continue.
After the massive decent we had another 20 miles of slight decent in to Gunnison. However, this was no easy finish to the day. It was all in to a 20mph head wind and was actually harder to pedal than the 13 mile climb. On a brighter note, another guy recongnized Nick’s jersey and we got our 2nd brew of the day, only three hours after the first and this time a Coors Original.
The ride finally ended just as the sun was setting. If this were a vampire movie we would have VERY narrowly escaped our demise! It was a tough one, I even had to force myself to keep my eyes open while finishing dinner. Another big one on Tuesday!
Until tomorrow . . .