Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 31 & 32 - The Rockies

This is going to be a quick summary of the past two days. Yesterday (Day 31) we entered the Rockies after a quick trip back to Pueblo to fix a bike problem. That put us behind about 3 hours. We didn't quite make it as far as we'd like yesterday, but we ended up staying the night in Silver Cliff. We climbed about 4,000 feet yesterday which wasn't too bad and rode about 86 miles. My knees felt great and the altitude didn't effect me much. Sam and Bob did well on the climb and we were happy to reach Silver Cliff. I had a few favorite parts of the day, but seeing the Rockies up close with white fluffy clouds, ominous dark rain clouds, and cascading sunbeams all at once was a pretty amazing sight!

We grabbed some dinner at a local place called Pizza Madness and watched a beautiful thunderstorm roll in over the mountains from our seats in the restaurant. We all went to bed early...even Sam who stays up late most nights working on her blog. She passed out on the bed in her jeans and hoodie.

Today (Day 31), we woke up early and grabbed some breakfast in town at the Country Store. Breakfast was delicious and also came with free entertainment. There was an elderly gentleman sitting in the corner talking with anyone who would listen...he was a real comedian. The waitress said he was the village clown. He must be well liked around Silver Cliff, he was allowed to walk outside with the coffee mug he was drinking from at the restaurant.

We started off on a good pace. We had a decent from Silver Cliff to Cotopaxi which was about 23 miles north. Once we descended into Cotopaxi we followed a river for about 20 miles before we started our slow ascent 5,000 feet to Monarch's Pass. We stopped for lunch in a cute mountain town called Salida. While I ate my PB&J sandwich I watched two kayakers paddle upstream on a fast moving river right next to the town park. After lunch, I checked out an outdoor store that was having a huge sale...I was good, I only bought one thing.

The craziest part of the day was when we got dumped on by a hail storm. I was a head of Bob and Sam and couldn't see them when I met up with Mr. Mangum in the support vehicle. The hail got bigger and began to fall faster. Bob walkie-talkied Mr. Mangum saying he and Sam needed to be picked up. So I grabbed a sleeping bad and say under a rock while Mr. Mangum went back from Bob and Sam. I was there for about 20-25 minutes by myself watching the hail come down hard. I guess the people driving by got a kick out of seeing a biker squatting down on the side of the road with a blue sleeping pad over their head. A big white pick-up truck pulling a camper pulled over, rolled down the window, and just as I thought they were going to ask if I wanted to sit in the truck and get out of the storm, the lady with a thick head of silver hair pulls out the biggest camera I've ever seen and asks if she can take my picture. All I could do was laugh! A couple other cars pulled over and actually asked if I needed a ride. I thanked them and politely declined since I didn't know where the others were. They came back eventually, I changed into a dry shirt, put on a windbreaker, and we were all on the road again. We only had about 3 miles to the peak which was 11, 312 feet above sea level.

There were more storm clouds rolling through, so we took some pictures at the top of the pass, warmed up with some hot chocolate, and headed for shelter. It was already 5:30pm and all we wanted to do was get warmed up. We have about 40 miles to make up, but that should be pretty manageable for us. I got some great pictures today, not to mention a home movie of my time under the sleeping pad during the hail storm. I can't wait to share it all with you.

Have a great night!

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