Colorado 2014: By the Days and Miles

Co-Motion and Felkerino Rollins summit

Every day that goes by, our 2014 Colorado tour becomes more memory. I’m surprised to feel saddened by that, since one of our intentions while there was to feed our wanderlust and tire ourselves out so that we would be at peace with settling back into our life in Washington, D.C.

Maybe that peace will come in September, but in the interim I’m left daydreaming about the two weeks when I felt small, invigorated, and satisfied.

Felkerino uploaded our routes to his Ride With GPS page, and I’m posting the overall image of our daily profiles along with a link that provides more details about each day’s ride.

I wish I could figure out an easy way to sew the routes together so I could display it as one big loop as well as by days, but seeing it in segments is okay. UPDATE: Thanks to Ronnie, who commented below, I was able to put our routes into one image.

Through this post I have an overall record of our trip and I keep the good memories flowing! Again, many thanks to all of you for taking an interest and encouraging us throughout our time in Colorado. Continue reading “Colorado 2014: By the Days and Miles”

I Really Don’t Know Clouds

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,

from up and down, and still somehow

it’s cloud illusions I recall.

I really don’t know clouds at all.

–Joni Mitchell

I first listened to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” when I was a teenager, and found it terrible. I had never imagined that a person could think about clouds so darn much. Continue reading “I Really Don’t Know Clouds”

Bike Tourist Encounters

Since I started bike touring, I’ve trained myself to keep an eye open for others who might be on an adventure. Bike riders can blend into the landscape, but if you pay attention they will jump out at you.

During the two weeks that Felkerino and I pedaled our bicycle around Colorado, we crossed paths with several other bike tourists. It was exciting to meet fellow travelers and learn more about their riding.

Continue reading “Bike Tourist Encounters”

10 Things I Learned on Our Colorado Bike Tour

Remember me? It’s been a few days, but I’m mostly free of my post bike tour fog and thought I’d rip off a quick top 10 list of what I learned on our tour.

Continue reading “10 Things I Learned on Our Colorado Bike Tour”

CO Tour Day 11: Rollins Pass on Tandem

Felkerino called our day going over Rollins Pass an immersive experience. It’s definitely one of the most intense things I’ve done on a tandem.

Continue reading “CO Tour Day 11: Rollins Pass on Tandem”

CO Tour Day 10: Another Day, Another Mountain Pass in Colorado

The short story is this–

82 miles from Leadville to Winter Park.

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Our bike is still in one piece. Thanks to everyone who complimented our pure power and torque after the broken crankarm incident. This also provides solid evidence that Felkerino is indeed pedaling. Continue reading “CO Tour Day 10: Another Day, Another Mountain Pass in Colorado”

CO Tour Rest Day: Backwards Pedal and Crankarm Day

 

When we last saw our two intrepid bike tourists, they were stranded in Leadville with a broken crankarm…

It was Leadville layover day and bike shop stop on our Colorado odyssey. Nervously we awaited the 10 a.m. opening of Cycles of Life to see if Brian could repair our broken crankarm.

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We watched him dig through all of his spare parts boxes, in search of a crankarm that might work on the captain’s non-drive side. No luck. Continue reading “CO Tour Rest Day: Backwards Pedal and Crankarm Day”

CO Tour Day 9: Las Cosas Se Arreglan: Cottonwood Pass and a Broken Crankarm

“Las cosas se arreglan. La gente no.” Things can be fixed. People can’t. Someone I used to work with told me that, after I had been in a fender bender.

That phrase keeps running through my mind as I reflect on our day from Gunnison to Leadville, 105 miles via the big meandering Cottonwood Pass and another intersection with the Continental Divide at 12,000-plus feet. Continue reading “CO Tour Day 9: Las Cosas Se Arreglan: Cottonwood Pass and a Broken Crankarm”

CO Tour Day 8: Creede to Gunnison: 106 Big Bicycling Miles

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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?

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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.

Continue reading “CO Tour Day 8: Creede to Gunnison: 106 Big Bicycling Miles”

CO Tour Day 7: Wolf Creek Pass, I Think I Love You

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As we began the steady ascent up Wolf Creek Pass, I wished that I had known about it years earlier. I wished that I had begun bike touring years earlier. If I had, then maybe I would have basked in the magnificence of this pass years ago. If only, if only. Continue reading “CO Tour Day 7: Wolf Creek Pass, I Think I Love You”

CO Tour Day 6: Hot Hot Rollers to Pagosa Springs

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Today’s 65 miles reminded me of riding in the Virginia Highlands, only with evergreens and a higher elevation. And more horses. And a dry heat. And the white hot sunshine with rare shade.

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Okay so it wasn’t alike in all ways. Continue reading “CO Tour Day 6: Hot Hot Rollers to Pagosa Springs”

CO Tour Day 5: Bike Tour Magic: 83 Miles from Ouray to Durango

Felkerino said that today is when the mountains embraced us. I said it was a day of bike tour magic.

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Part of the reason for that, of course, was the beautiful climbing on the Million Dollar Highway for the first 38 miles. We ascended from Ouray at 7,800 feet to over 10,000 feet and crossed three passes in the first half of our ride: Red Mountain; Molas; and Coal Bank.

The other reason we felt so inspired by our day was the people we had the chance to meet. We were held up at the top of Red Mountain Pass because of road work (blasting!) and chatted with several people touring the area (in their cars, but I guess it’s okay this time). Continue reading “CO Tour Day 5: Bike Tour Magic: 83 Miles from Ouray to Durango”

CO Tour Day 4: Everything Weighs Something, Even Ambition: 100 Miles to Ouray

When bike touring, you become keenly aware of how much your stuff weighs. This weighs “x” amount. Do I really need to take it up every hill and mountain?

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If yes, the item goes on the bike. If no, set it aside. I am pleased with how Felkerino and I packed. The only potential surplus I’ve identified is a small notebook I deemed essential. I have a problem leaving home without at least a few sheets of real paper. Continue reading “CO Tour Day 4: Everything Weighs Something, Even Ambition: 100 Miles to Ouray”

CO Tour Day 3: What Goes Up from Carbondale Must Come Down to Paonia

Greetings from Paonia! We wish you were here. Then the mosquitoes wouldn’t just be gnawing on Felkerino and me.

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Another great day on the bike, tempered with looming saddle sores. Haven’t had one of those in a few years so maybe it was time. I blame Trail Ridge.

This day, which was essentially a 30-mile ascent up McClure Pass at 8,762 feet and a 30-plus descent into Paonia, had less of an “out there” feel compared to yesterday, but was still awesome.
image Continue reading “CO Tour Day 3: What Goes Up from Carbondale Must Come Down to Paonia”