Colorful Colorado

28 06 2010

Mileage: 80.7
Average: 15.6

Since it was so hot on the 22nd we wanted to get going early.  We got up at 5:30 and were biking by 7; we’re very efficient in the morning.  Waking up to the fish jumping in the water and the sun reflecting off of the cliffs over the lake definitely helped motivate us to get out of our tents.  We started at the Colorado River and had a steep climb right away.  Even though it was so early it was already pretty warm.  The first 50 miles were comprised of rolling hills until we finally hit the summit.  When we got to the summit Colin called his mom and she offered to get a hotel for the night in honor of his birthday; which was a huge relief.  From the summit we had a nice downhill and a long uphill until we finally arrived in Blanding.

There we checked into our hotel at the Gateway inn.  We were really excited when we found out they had a pool.  Unfortunately it was when we were about to go in that we saw there was a sign posted saying the pool was closed.  Oh well, at least we still had a shower…  For the rest of the day we just relaxed since we were so tired from being in the heat for the passed couple of days.  We went grocery shopping, got dinner and watched a movie while typing posts.  We were excited that tomorrow we enter the next state, Colorado! 

Mileage: 79
Average 15.5

After a relaxing night at Blanding, Utah’s Gateway Inn courtesy of Mama Utz we continued to push our way through the remainder of Utah.  The day began with about a 10 mile long climb up to 7,000 feet of elevation before leveling out for the remainder of the ride.  It was nice to take the climb pretty slow to make sure we got warmed up and by the time we reached Monticello we were ready to finish the 17 remaining miles into Colorado.  After stopping to rest and take pictures at the border, we continued to ride on.

After a few more uneventful miles we reached our first little town in Colorado, Dove Creek, and decided to stop as Colin was beginning to feel a little flat and tired. While we rested, Brittany caught up with us and we were glad to be able to fill our water bottles and eat lunch in the van.  The food and rest obviously helped Colin get back to feeling like himself again and with the wind at our back, the rolling hills became a fun game almost like a roller coaster.  

Before we knew it we had reached the outskirts of Dolores and Cortez and it was time to head off the route to our campsite. Brittany had gone ahead to make sure we got a site at the McPhee Resevoir recreation area. It’s always nice to be able to ride to our destination at the end of the day and just relax – Thanks Brittany!! Another day down, another state down…

Mileage: 59.39
Average: 14.4

We were biking by 8am due to the 50 mile climb from Dolores to the top of Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 feet.  We left our campsite and biked about 10 miles to Dolores where we started the gradual climb up to the pass.  It was a great ride, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery that is Colorado from start to finish.  We biked in a valley the majority of the way along side the Dolores River.  It was so peaceful.  Now, we have been fairly lucky regarding the wet weather as we have not had to ride the rain so far.  Luckily for us Alex decided to put an end to this bit of luck when he told his mom that we hadn’t hit any rain yet.  If we didn’t believe in Luck, we do now.  Not just 5 miles up the road it started to rain.  There was thunder and lighting and it got extremely windy which made the climb even better.  It was a short lived storm which was a relief because we found out that none of our wind breakers were water proof and the worst of the climb hadn’t yet begun.  The last 5 miles of the climb was where it got increasingly steeper until reaching the summit.

Once we got to the top there was a spectacular view.  Colin, like always, got into a conversation with a very nice lady from Nebraska who was inquiring about our journey.  She was on her way to Dolores, CO which is were we had just came from.  We gave her our website and said she will definitely check it out.  She couldn’t believe that we had just climbed up to the pass and were not doubled over in pain.  Brittany was also at the top waiting for us to let us know that the campsite down the road was $20.  Luckily, Alex walked across the road and saw a sign that said “Camping limited to 30 days.”  We were excited that we had found a seemingly free campsite since it didn’t indicate otherwise.  Not to mention it was still at the summit of Lizard Head Pass.  We drove the car across the road and walked around until finding an ideal location to set up camp.  While looking for a good site we found leftover wood that a gracious camper had kindly left behind for others to enjoy.  Sweet!

Finally we found a good site and set up our tents.  Since it was only 3, we still had a lot of the day left to hang out.  Colin tried to make rice-a-roni on the stove but after about 30 minutes he gave up since it hadn’t even browned yet.  We aren’t too sure if the stove is broken, since it is about 30 years old, or if it is because of the propane.  Given that we are going to be at Alex’s Aunt and Uncles in a day we thought we would try and fix it then. 

After the excitement of the grill and eating room temperature soup, everyone except for Joe took a nap (we’re a rambunctious group).  It was a much needed rest for all of us.  Then once it started to get dark, while Brittany and Alex were still sleeping, Joe and Colin made a fire.  After getting the fire going Joe was ecstatic because it was the first fire he ever helped build.  For we usually have our Eagle Scout friend Andrew to help make fires!  It was so peaceful hanging out by the fire and talking after a great day.  To make things even more beautiful, the moon came up over the mountains which brightened up the landscape.  Nights like this make us appreciate how magnificent Mother Nature is.

Mileage: 77
Average Speed: 17.5

We woke up at the top of lizard head pass and made the decision to spend time in the town of Telluride.  It was on our way to the town that we came across a local biker.  He was a very nice guy who had been a competitive biker for 20 or so years.  He offered us his house if we wanted to stay in the area, which to be honest doesn’t sound like a bad idea.  We eventually made it to Telluride where we learned of the origins of the towns name.  Apparently you can break it down into To Hell You Ride, comforting thought right?  The town itself though was very nice.  We walked around for about two hours where we explored the shops and grabbed lunch.  While we would have liked to stay longer, we needed to get going if we wanted to reach Montrose in time.

We continued to ride our bikes downhill through the beautiful scenery that is Colorado.  It was when we stopped at a park to use the bathroom that we met a cyclist from Alabama.  He was an interesting character and told us of the times that he had biked through Colorado, giving us his two cents regarding the climbs.  After saying goodbye we rode to a town called Placerville, where we began to climb towards the Dallas Divide.  The incline was not too bad as the slope was not very drastic.  We were lucky to have Alex with us, as he is full of classic melodies and serenade us with the song “The Wheels on the Bus”.  It must have been a few miles from the top when we ran into four bikers from Baltimore.  One of them had a flat tire so while he worked on it we used the time to talk and exchange stories.  This group of guys are from Baltimore and have been biking to raise money for Livestrong.  We wished each other luck as we continued up the summit.   It was when we reached the top that we ate lunch and enjoyed the view as we biked down towards Ridgeway.

We were twenty or so miles away from our ending destination.  Lucky for us it was at that time that Colorado decided to throw some wind our way.  We didn’t let this discourage us as we fought back by biking closer together.  We were able to draft off each other to cruise at 25 mph towards our girl Brittany.  It’s easy to be motivated when we have Brittany waiting for us at the end of the day.  Love her.   

We piled into the van and headed towards Alex’s Aunt Brenda and Uncle Tom’s house.  Upon arrival we practically moved into this new house as we brought in our belongings.  We were fortunate enough to be fed a scrum-diddly-umtious meal followed by ice cream and brownies … why are we leaving this place?  To make things better Tom and Brenda had taped the USA vs. Ghana game that had played earlier that day.  We all watched the game together and showered, with the exception of the stinky little boy that is Fallen Turtle.  We were all excited to go to sleep especially since it has been a while since we have all slept in actual beds. 


We spent the day relaxing at Alex’s relative’s house.  We are very grateful for the very generous hospitality they have provided for us.  From all the meals they cooked to allowing us to take over their television to watch soccer, they have been very kind.  We couldn’t, however, help but feel bad as we punished their laundry machine the entire day (literally).  We were also lucky that Tom was able to fix our stove that had been previously broken.  While we don’t really want to leave we must keep heading east… 

In awe of the world we are living in and the generosity that exists within,

Four Burnt Hillians 

Leaving the quaint town of Rico

Our first taste of rain!

Brittany and the puppies on top of Lizard Head Pass at the campsite

The guys and Sadie above Trout Lake

Enjoying a downhill


All of us with Tom, Brenda, and Tiger-Puff!




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