Carbondale-Aspen, CO: Still in town at noon. Is this really me? - I'm as loose as a Type A person can be. - CycleBlaze

July 5, 2017

Carbondale-Aspen, CO: Still in town at noon. Is this really me?

Woohoo, look at me. I didn't even set the alarm this morning. I presumed I'd be awake early. I was. But did I get up? Heck no. Finally at 8 AM, Jacinto says we need to go to breakfast. It was pretty good. Bacon, sausage, eggs. Waffles. Sausage gravy and biscuits. Extra points for salsa and cheese to go with the eggs. The usual dry cereal, yogurt, etc. Maybe we need to start thinking about staying in more upscale places when possible. Usually we are in very small towns without the big chain motels. But this was an appreciated luxury stay.

Jacinto had a very flat tire to deal with this morning and two tubes to repair. He didn't have any tubes left. He needed to transfer his stuff to the bigger panniers and install them. I would have done all of that the night before, but Jacinto said he was tired of tires. Isn't he funny?

I went outside with him - to the parking lot. Not to the nice shaded lawn. I was in charge of the flat tires. The end of that story is that the tubes were both gummy from the Gorilla Tape. I tried cleaning one really good and patching it, but the patch wouldn't take. Now Jacinto had no tubes. I gave him one of mine. He wasn't very impressed because I put talc powder on mine and it got all over his fingers and the nice new Marathon Plus Tour tire.

Side note for those interested - Schwalbe does still make the Marathon Plus. Their website lists it as their most popular tire. It is $57. The Plus Tour model Is $58. It has more tread. I didn't readily see weights for either tire, but if this is your tire, I don't think you care much about weight.

We got Jacinto's bike all put back together and the panniers installed. Now I needed one tube and he needed two. We went to nearby Aloha Cyclery. They did not have our preferred tube - a 26x1.75 with a Presta valve. I was surprised. While I had my rear brake pads replaced, Jacinto walked across the street to Ajax Cycles. They didn't have that small of a tube either. We ended up buying only one 1.9-2.25 tube. I guess that will be a project as we go through towns, looking for tubes. I suspect Absolute Bikes in Salida will have what we need.

I went ahead and took off while Jacinto was fiddling with his music. I tried to tell myself it wasn't hot at 78 degrees and I had lots of ice water with my new insulated flask. Still - it's one thing to be outside as it heats up and another thing to just walk out into the sun and stay there. 78 felt pretty hot to me.

Miles down the very nice Rio Grande Bike Path - here came Jacinto. He had just pulled up next to me and we were talking about lunch (of course the conversation centered around food - what do other cyclists talk about?). All the sudden he said, "Wait!" and stopped. But I didn't wait because he would catch me anyway. Then Jacinto whistled me back. In his hand he held one of his pedals. It had come off the spindle! Amazing.

Jacinto said he was having too much bad luck, maybe we should go home. I asked if he was serious. He said no. But he added if he has another flat tire he is going home for sure. We settled on calling Marcela to bring us a set of pedals. Crank Brothers aren't a common enough brand of pedals for most places to stock. Plus, we had a brand new pair just sitting there. Several years ago Jacinto broke a Crank Brother pedal clean off. We agreed that they must be considered expendables and bought several sets on sale so he could replace them yearly. Except he hadn't done that . . . .

Jacinto had been talking about doing a climbing loop around Snowmass Village to add some miles. Instead he got a bonus 17 miles riding back to Carbondale. I continued on.

In the meanwhile he had left the tube he bought on the counter at the bike shop. It was still there when he went back. It was good that he now had the forgotten tube. Too bad he didn't know at the time about the forgotten sunscreen at the motel.

Since he was there, Jacinto had his handlebar tape replaced. Again, they got us right in and fixed up. Jacinto was back down the road in no time.

In the meanwhile I was toodling along. Today was an almost rest day with only 30 miles and ~2,000 feet of climbing. No need to be in a rush. I was saving my muscles for the big climb tomorrow. Hardly anyone passed me going my direction. Does that mean I wasn't really riding so slowly or does it mean that no one else was out in the heat? When I topped off my ice cold water (!), I noted the temperature. 85 degrees. Again, that shouldn't seem so hot - but being right in the sun felt hot. Whenever I would pass through some shade, it was delightful.

The closer I got to Aspen, the more cyclists there were. All of the women were model thin. It was quite intimidating. I saw just a couple of normal (to me) size women. All things are perfect in Aspen. Unless you start looking at faces. There is quite a bit of not so good plastic surgery walking the streets.

Jacinto and I never really finished the food conversation, but I decided to go to Clark's Market. They have an excellent deli and I should save some money going there. Yea, right. There were too many delicious looking items to save any money. I could have purchased far more food, except anything extra would have to be hauled over the pass tomorrow.

Just as I sat down outside to eat, Jacinto called. I told him it was nice in the shade, I would just wait at Clarks. I can't believe I ate all that food. Clarks no longer has meals, so I had four little tubs of food to eat, plus chips, and a Kombucha. I ate all of the little container food, but a few veggies. When I got there, Jacinto finished things off. He went in and bought a pop to drink with his pistachios. He couldn't find a V-8. He said maybe that's too much sodium for Aspen. I haven't had a V-8 yet this trip.

Jacinto warned me that we had to go up the honking hill to the motel. Of course we do. Why would we not have a honking hill on a full stomach and cold legs? It wasn't so bad and the motel was only a few blocks away.

We checked in, got the bikes in the spacious room. My first project was getting my new cold water flask filled up and in the fridge, ready for tomorrow. Then we did the regular getting to town stuff.

As we prepared to leave Clarks, I asked Jacinto if he wanted to buy dinner stuff since we were there. Oh, no - didn't we need an activity for later. Not me. I have the journal for an activity. As we were lounging on the beds, he kept saying he should go to the store. Did he go? No. But then my stomach started growling. It doesn't matter that I ate a giant meal at 4 PM - two hours later is plenty of time for another meal if you are a touring cyclist! Jacinto is gone now buying dinner. The only reason we figured out that the sunscreen got left behind is because Jacinto wanted the grocery bag it was in. Aspen is very green, so it is encouraged to bring your own bag to the store or there is a fee for a paper bag. Plastic is not a choice.

Let's see what he brings back for dinner. He was bemoaning the fact that chicken here isn't $6.99 for ten legs like it is in Palisade.

Tomorrow is one of two giant climbs on this trip. The other one is Slumgullion Pass near Lake City. We are riding both Indy and the Slum up the hard side. It's easy to make decisions like that in the middle of winter, sitting comfy on the couch. Now we have to actually do it. I've never ridden this side. I'm some intimidated. I know it is 20.0 miles from our Lodge to the top with 4,299 feet of elevation gain. That is very significant. Wish us well!

I need to comment about what a delightful ride the Rio Grande Bike Path is. It starts in Glenwood Springs and goes 40 miles to Aspen. It is an old railroad bed, so the total elevation gain is impressive, but it is a gradual climb. The Glenwood Canyon bike path seems to be much better known, but it is so heavily traveled as to be no fun at all. My opinion, obviously. If you are in the area, either path would be a good ride, but the Rio Grande would be my first suggestion. We sometimes start in Glenwood and ride to Woody's Tavern for lunch, then coast back home. That's 70 miles round trip. Or we start at home and spend the night in Aspen. That is 70 miles each way. The path is a special treat, if you ever have a chance.

Lodging edit added after the trip - Jacinto mentioned that Snowmass Village (8 miles before Aspen) is a far cheaper option. Research shows for a random date in July that the Wildwood Village is $113. taxes included with the Colorado resident discount. We paid $211. taxes included at the Tyrolean. Neither offer breakfast. The Wildwood was the least expensive Snowmass option. I stayed there years ago for a seminar. It is very nice.

Interesting that both lodges are exactly 7.9 miles from Woody's Tavern. However, the Tyrolean is half the climb at 700 feet compared to the Wildwood. There are plenty of bike paths in Snowmass. They are challenging because of the altitude gain.

Second edit - I just checked the price again for 8/13/17 - $52. At the Wildwood. A hostel bed at the St Moritz is $59. These are unbelievably cheap prices. Who knows if it's typical or not. But I will be checking them the next trip we make through the area.

Worn clear down to the blue. 2.5 years old. Young in the lifespan of a Marathon Plus. Jacinto's front tire is still looking good. It's original to the bike, 2009.
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Robert at Aloha Cycles installs new rear brake pads in anticipation of the big downhill tomorrow. Labor and the pads were under $20. I was out the door in ten minutes. Give them your businesss. They are right on the bike path.
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Can you believe this? Jacinto's pedal has fallen off the spindle. Speedplay Candies. The last time he had trouble with one of these, it broke clean off, spindle, and everything. Speedplay warrantied it with a new set. That was quite alarming to Jacinto. His favorite cycling position is standing up. What if he had been standing up when the pedal broke? Think of the family jewels . . . . I told him perhaps the pedals are consumables, to be replaced yearly. He likes the rotation on the Speedplays. But that's not a good track record.
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We had ridden exactly a half mile together when the pedal broke. Jacinto is turning back to Carbondale. He will get a bonus 17 miles. Marcela is bringing him another set of pedals. Isn't it nice she can Recuse us?Hopefully she will be bored for the rest of the trip.
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I had slurped down two water bottles in 15 miles. I'm at elevation, so it's not terribly hot. 85 degrees at 1 Pm. I think I drank all that so fast just so I could break out the ice cold reserve water!
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Beautiful scenery, as expected.
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Jacinto actually took a scenery photo.
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Even the water treatment plant is beautiful in Aspen.
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I went to the deli at Clark's Market to save money. My lunch was $26. Perhaps the $7. piece of salmon and the $6. kombucha had something to do with that price tag. But it is Aspen. Clarks is foodie heaven. Too bad anything extra I buy today I have to haul 5,000 feet up Independence Pass.
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Home sweet home for tonight. We have stayed at the Tyrolean the last few years. If you are a single person in Aspen on a budget, the St. Moritz has dorm beds on the third floor for $45. (?). Bicycles stay outside at the St. Moritz. It is very nice. You just have to know what European style lodging is. I suppose in this area, you can't say hostel. That would be low brow.
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Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 252 miles (406 km)

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