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THE 2012 COLORADO EXPEDITION - CHAPTER 3

 

Today was all about the ride: the outings on the previous days have been only a sampler of what is here, and today was a big helping.

We pedalled a few trails to get out of town, then did a few klicks on a road that followed a valley into forest. The road turned to dirt, then to a 4WD track, then a singletrack snaked off it: we had arrived at a junction with the Colorado Trail, which is 700kms long. It kicked up into a granny ring climb immediately, this section of the trail climbs over a place called West Ridge, and the climb was about 700m high, thats about 2000 ft which sounds a lot more so that is what I will call it. Parts of the climb were steep enough to be only just rideable, and the thin air meant we stopped several times to get our breath back. As previously, it only required a minute or so before the upward toil could start again.

Making it interesting were our meetings with a series of riders competing in a long distance race from Denver to Durango, 700kms self-supported. We passed a guy early in the climb who was several hundred kilometres into this multi-day event, and he passed us back while we were eating lunch. The time it takes to eat half a ham roll while also breathing heavily was the only lead I was able to get on him. And he had been sleeping rough, riding for days and getting wet regularly.

From the top there was the longest downhill ever: it just went on and on, with a variety of trail features to keep it interesting. Rocky switchbacks, super fast flowing sections, and mellow trail rolling through a meadow were all past in a blur, a blur which lasted about an hour.

Got back into town pretty smashed, and proceeded to do that thing we do when we are tired... eat too much, lay around, think about the day tomorrow, which sounds epic, and hope there will be enough regeneration overnight to get us through it. We shall see.