Hartsel-Canon City, CO: I saw more buffalo than cows today. - Climbing and Cruising in Central Colorado - CycleBlaze

June 22, 2014

Hartsel-Canon City, CO: I saw more buffalo than cows today.

Ah! Life in the lap of luxury is excellent. I had a fabulous night's sleep. I don't think I rolled over all night until the birds started chirping in the morning. Maybe being tired from the long day helped. :) Around 6 AM I could hear everyone getting gathered up to run to the cafe. They commented on the clouds outside and the cold. It must be time to get on with the day. More later. 45 degrees outside at 7 AM. I believe it is leggings weather!

Cathy and I were out the door at 8:15. Jacinto was up and eating. All of Spoon's crew had gotten ready early and ridden down to the cafe for breakfast and were leaving from there.

We were anticipating a downhill day, payback for the work yesterday. Certainly we soft pedaled to the intersection of Hwy 9, made our left turn and continued soft pedaling. Isn't it nice to let the pedals float around and still go 20 mph? Immediately I noted how little traffic there was. Such a pleasant change from 285 yesterday.

We knew there would be an unmarked pass, it hardly showed as a bump on the profile of our downhill day. Zippity do da, zippity a, my oh my, what a wonderful day!

There's not as much to report today besides fun, fun, fun. I kept slugging down Spiz - I think I might have been a little dehydrated. I was drinking plenty, but not looking for any bushes. Cathy stopped at the first big bush, but I kept going. We hadn't gone much further before she announced that annoying sore from yesterday was back again - the seam of her shorts was rubbing her just wrong. I had read on CG that not only wearing two pairs of shorts for saddle sores, but to reverse the inside pair so the pads of the two shorts were facing each other. Cathy decided to give that a try. Problem was the lack of sufficient foliage to use as a changing room. Finally she gave up. Standing by the side of the road she disrobed down to the last pair of shorts. Traffic was pretty light, so when no cars were coming either direction, she quick did the switcher-ooo with her shorts. She got quite a laugh out of herself - letting it all hang out right there by the side of the road. See, now I've written this she'll have plenty of male company to ride with her tomorrow!

This is typically scenery for the day.
Heart 0 Comment 0
At the top of Currant Creek Pass at mm 36, looking back toward Hartsel.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Tom Newman and Cathy yucking it up at the top of the pass.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Ginny and her rockin' van - hand painted - 41 hours of work. No, she isn't interested in hiring out. This was a one time project!
Heart 0 Comment 0

Cathy and I had both done this route on the previously mentioned TOARV several times, but many years ago. We remembered the pass and lots of wind. It seems like the wind blows and blows in this area. Luckily, today there wasn't much wind. What we did not remember was two significant climbs after the pass. There they were on the map-looking like insignificant bumps. It's a whole other story when you are looking at them. Sigh. Come on legs. Time to work. This isn't the downhill run off of Lizard Head Pass to Dolores. You really do have to work just a little today. I scared myself a little. From the top of the first climb, the second climb looked like a huge wall. Heck. I decided to let the bike go and see how far I could get up the second hill. Wow. I didn't realize how fast I would go. The computer said 44 mph! I don't usually go that fast. But I did sling shot about half way up the cliff, I mean climb. I will be remembering those two for awhile. I don't know how I forgot them.

Right in that area I was passed on the uphill by two loaded tourists, a couple in their 20's. Kind of sad that on my light weight unloaded titanium bike that they passed me. If I'd put some effort into it I could have stayed ahead. But what the heck, I need to pedal another day. Let them go. I have no ego.

After the double climb, it really was downhill. Even with a little headwind, we were racing down on the smooth, fresh pavement. Wait. Did I say smooth pavement? At MM 16 we had a taste of what used to be bumpily, bump expansion cracks all over the road. On my recumbent I could feel it - forget on a diamond frame bike. But fortune is shining on us and the old stuff was soon covered over with chip and seal. Which isn't usually my preferred road surface, but at least a step better than those giant expansion cracks.

It was ever so convenient that the mile markers were counting down to our intersection with highway 50. I was ticking them off ever so efficiently. I knew there would be a climb up to the highway - the question was how long it would be. MM 3 showed up just as the road took a turn skyward. Oh, ok. Three miles of climbing. I can do that, especially since I was going 6 mph, even on the climb. MM 2 came along, still pep talking myself about how good I was doing. Wait. That was it. No more climbing. We're heading back down hill. Are we lucky or what? There was a very short climb up to the highway and that was it.

Jeff had called to see how we were. Just fine really. Ginny has been taking good care of us. But, sure, come on over. I asked for ice. No, no ice. Oh, well. We are practically there. Ten downhill miles to town. Ginny was waiting at the intersection. Here came Tom with Jacinto right behind. 12:30 and we are all but to town. I tried to interest people in going to see Bishop's Castle. Not much interest. Zero, really. Norma, my friend who lives in Canon City had waxed on and on about how great the castle was and it was free. No, none really interested.

The guys were at Wendy's eating lunch. We passed on by as we had plenty of leftovers. We were at the American Inn as I had failed to secure a room at the Colorado Inn with everyone else. It was only two blocks, not a big deal. It appeared we were the only customers at our place. The owner asked me to not run the air conditioner if we weren't in the room. When I got to the shower, I ran and ran the water and it was cold. I called the office. Let it run until the hot gets there. OK. Seems very wasteful, especially with the restrictions on the cooler. 20 minutes (and a cold shower) later I called the office again. No way was Jacinto taking a cold shower. The owner came over and showed me that the handle was backwards with the hot on the wrong side. He did eventually get hot water in the sink. Sigh.

Jacinto iced his bum knee, then walked over to the other hotel to get our leftovers. Cathy came back with Wendy's for me and visited. We checked the weather - high chance of rain in the afternoon tomorrow. We should probably get moving in the morning. We have Hardscrabble Pass to climb. Cathy very kindly worked on Jacinto's bum leg. It seems to be more a knot in the IT band than a real knee problem. They both agreed on that.

We are going to dinner with our friends who now live here in Canon. The others are looking for a brew pub - of which there is exactly one in Canon. That's rather a surprise, given the size of the town. There is also only one bike shop and it's closed Sunday and Monday. Also a surprise.

Today's ride: 60 miles (97 km)
Total: 132 miles (212 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0