44.22 miles (Total: 2421.31) Avg Speed: 11.2mph Max Speed: 37.5mph
After a snug nights sleep I wandered downstairs to probably the best continental breakfast I had ate all trip. I started with cereal, then moved onto eggs, sausage and omelette followed by watermelon and banana all sandwiched between several glasses of fresh orange and coffee. It was July 4th, the USA’s birthday. A humbling experience seeing as how they were celebrating the independence from defeating the British, I sat and pondered how different things could have been for us if the French weren’t involved, but soon resolved I wouldn’t change a thing.
The big breakfast was essential as only 10 miles into the ride this morning we would be hitting Hoosier Pass. People walked around with smiles wishing each other a good day. Being a Sunday and a national holiday the roads were busy but leaving town we had a bike path all the way to the foot of the climb.
I could see the road snaking up the mountain to the pass, this is it, 4 miles of bottom gear climbing and I will have reached the highest point on the Transamerica Trail. I begin fast and just focussing on my breathing, it seems as though no matter how hard I breathe my lungs still feel empty. 2 miles up I stop for a few brief pictures then hook up the iPod to take me over the pass. I need something to get me in the zone, I opt for some Phoenix and one of their more ambient tunes.
This was it, just me an the mountain. If I can do this I can do anything, I watch the digits on my cyclometer notch up one by one, the scenery is breathtaking. I see a bend in the road up ahead, I eak my way around to see the Hoosier Pass sign and I almost laugh. Is that it? Is that all you got! Piece of cake, the Appalachian’s are a beast not to be underestimated but the Rockies as everyone says are gradual and not all that bad to be honest. At the top I have a look around, people are driving up in their cars, getting out to have their picture taken with the sign then driving off. Seems a little hollow, but I guess we can’t all take months off to ride bikes. I have time to eat a Cliff bar and people watch for a while longer before seeing Terry’s head slowly edge up to the pass.
After the early leg work it was time for the fun part, we would be descending for the next day or two so I warned my breaks in advance. After flying back down the other side we made it to the happening town of Breckenridge. This was the kind of Colorado town I had envisioned before the trip. Super fit people cruising about on their carbon fiber bikes. Nice town, nice shops, nice food joints. We stopped and had some thai food for lunch. From Breckenridge right through Silverthorne there is a dedicated bike path away from the busy highway. Unfortunately as it was the holidays every man and his dog were making use of it so I ended up going around 9mph for the most part trying not to ride into the back of babies in bob trailers.
The campsites were all full around the lake due to July 4th fireworks displays scheduled for the evening. This left us in a pickle, we knew of a hostel/lodge from the maps in the neighbouring town of Silverthorne but after going there we found a current resident who said the owners were out fishing on the lake and wouldn’t be back till 6pm. We checked in with the police to see if it was ok to camp at the city park, the recreational area had the usual toilets, showers and pavilion. They were happy for us to camp but said they couldn’t let us because the nearby residents would phone in and complain if they saw tents. After procrastinating for some time we returned to the Riverside Lodge & Hostel to find a guy outside unloading his car. “Are you the owner?” I asked and he immediately replied “need a place to stay?”. The lodge was owned by a few people and mainly housed people on short term contract work. BBQ was already on the go as the owners family were using the place for their July 4th celebrations, $20 each for a room, shower, beer and food. DONE!
The food was amazing, the meat literally fell off the bone and disolved in your mouth, pasta, potato salad and chocolate brownies for dessert. One of the other residents sat with us drinking a bottle of Yukon Jack whiskey, he was french-canadian and talked to me an Terry about rugby, football and hockey before repeating himself with the exact same stories. It was funny and ended the night with a few laughs. I retired to a double bed all to myself, today was a great day. Life is good.