It still surprises me that Felkerino and I can ride a 200k brevet in 10 hours, but when we bike tour a century will take us 11 or more. Is there no escape from bike tour pace?
It was a big day of riding, with the big climbs packed into the first half of our day. The first, Spring Creek Pass, is along the Continental Divide at 10,898 feet. Coming from Creede, this is a meandering, often gentle up with gorgeous views of forest land. Lots of cattle sightings today.
Slumgullion Pass took us even higher– to 11,530 feet. It felt like we were winding over high mountain land and it was quite pleasant. Roads here were quiet.
The descent into Lake City was a switchback nightmare and we could not carry much speed over the tight turns.
We left Lake City and the temps turned up. Riding through these changing elevations is a weird experience. We climb and cool off the higher we rise. We may even ascend into rain. We descend and the dry heat reaches out to grab us.
It was slow going to Gunnison after Lake City, difficult to find a rhythm as a headwind whipped at us for several miles. It was a relief to begin gaining altitude again, until we saw the gathering clouds overhead and the ominous rumble of thunder.
Since our route followed the direction of the blue sky, we hustled our tandem up the final big climb of the day, and pedaled ourselves away from the big bad t-storm looming in the distance.
We capped off our day with a giant downhill on “9 Mile Hill,” and clomped our way to Gunnison for dinner. I’m pooped!