68.39 miles (Total: 2377.09) Avg Speed: 10.4mph Max Speed: 37mph
After some gentle stuff yesterday the real climbing would begin today, starting the morning at around 6000ft and finish at 10,000ft. We rolled out of the campsite after a light breakfast, Terry making me some oats and a cup of tea as usual, cheers cobba. The grades got steep pretty quick but I simply geared down low and spinned my way up. Terry in Pueblo had talked to a cycling coach from the USA Olympic Team. After explaining my recent spoke issues the guy asked if I like to stand alot whilst I ride, which I do regularly! Apparently this is a major cause of broken spokes especially when carrying a load. So now I’m ‘spinning for spokes sake’ in my lowest gears over any uphills. It has slowed me down a touch but I don’t mind if it solves the problem.
There were a few nasty pinches early on but for the most part I found them easier than the Appalachians in Virginia as expected. The hard thing to stomach in Virginia was that any climbing you did was almost immediately lost with big downhill and you had to start all over again. Getting into the Rockies you gain elevation but don’t lose any, it just levels out at parts than goes up some more. The landscape was fast becoming grand and epic, the air was thinning but it was fresher than anything I remember inhaling before. At 22 miles we took a detour to the small town of Guffey, a known TransAm cycle stop. A 70 year old dutch couple were in the Bull Moose Restaurant we went to for lunch, they had started a few weeks before us and taking fairly short days, their in no hurry for anybody.
This afternoon we rolled inbetween two storms either side of us but somehow managed in avoiding them both, they seem to crop up in the afternoon so it may be an idea to start riding a little earlier. Over a few more ridges an I finally got my first glimpse of some snow capped peaks. I couldn’t take my eyes of them for the rest of the riding down to Hartsel. This was a whacky area of Colorado, joint with the next town of Fairplay where we would be staying it made up the area known as South Park, as in the setting for the TV show. Accomodation for the night was the Hand Hotel, an old building that had been restored with a really cosy finish. I was expecting a fairly rural town but what we found was a busy tourist town with plenty of bars and a few restaurants. Tomorrow is July 4th so everybody was in jolly mood, me and Terry headed over to the steakhouse where I got the the steak salad, perfect. At 10,000ft I thought I felt slightly nauseous but it was probably all in my head. One thing I did notice however is that just running up the hotel stairs had me panting for breath, Hoosier pass tomorrow will take us a further 1,500ft higher and its the highest point on the Transamerica Trail. Bring it on.