Dolores - Durango, CO: What? No pass today? - There Ain't No Air In This Air! - CycleBlaze

July 15, 2013

Dolores - Durango, CO: What? No pass today?

Rolling hills were the order of the day. It shouldn't be too hard. I was hoping everyone would sleep in some and give me a chance to get down the road. That has always been my method of compensating for being a slow rider. It wasn't working at all this trip. I couldn't start earlier than daylight and this group was full of early risers, ready to go at daybreak also.

I hadn't gone any distance at all before seeing this cheery barn. It set a nice tone for the day.
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Riding was excellent in the early morning air. Clear skies removed any immediate threat of rain, although we did expect the afternoon monsoons. Everyone was happy on the downward tilting rollers on the connector highway 184. At mile 18 in Mancos we turned onto busy Highway 160. The shoulder was almost always wide, safety wasn't an issue. It was just less pleasant with the hum of traffic in my ear.

This spring I started playing music while cycling. Music helps pass the time on long rides and distracts me on the long climbs. I use an external speaker rather than headphones so I can hear what's going on around me. There's nothing better than belting out Sugar, Sugar by the Archies on a downhill. I know, I should be embarrassed admitting that . . . . it's the truth!

My 3 oz. Monster Bass speaker - one of my best purchases ever! $18.95 from Amazon. Battery charge life is over 12 hours.
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Typical scenery the first part of the day.
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I rolled along, up and down small rolling hills. There was a general upward trend until about 10 miles out of Durango. Then it was a long downhill into town. I could get used to this! Jacinto had caught up with me and we rode into town together.

The highway department in our area is not so precise with their mileage markers as they are here.
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I had whined mightily about his atypical insistence on lodging.Usually I do what I want. This time Jacinto insisted we stay at the cheap place.

It seems that lodging falls into one of two categories. Either there's only one place in town and we're relieved to get a room, or there's so many motels in town it's hard to make a choice. Durango falls into the later category. Being a tourist town, it was also expensive.

The conveniently located motels on our Hwy 160 route were all in the $100. range. We ended up at the Knight's Inn 3.5 miles uphill the wrong way. Now what part of that do you suppose I'd go for? The unnecessary uphill? The wrong way part? Okay, it's true - we saved $35. and that was more than enough to pay for dinner. However, we got lost on the bike path trying to skirt the 5 lanes of heavy traffic. We went this way and that way, crossed the busy road a couple of times. We ended up riding on the sidewalk the last few blocks. By the time we arrived, I would have happily paid the $35. extra to stay in a convenient location.

We had left Dolores early and the day had been an easy ride. We were to town before the rooms were ready. The receptionist sent us next door for a BBQ lunch. It was a busy place, always a good sign. We ate lunch and hung out with the guys. We finally got into our room, cleaned up and showered.

Hmmm, plenty of time on our hands. Durango is big enough for a movie theatre. Let's see what's playing. The old downtown theatre was playing Kings of Summer (don't bother - it's summer fluff and not even very good fluff). We took the free trolly to the theatre at the same time the guys were meeting for dinner. Our lunch had been later than their's so we weren't hungry. While riding the trolley Jacinto discovered he had the wrong shorts on. No money and no credit card either. Spoon had to give us a temporary loan so we could watch the show. Nice guy, that Spoon.

We had trouble getting back to the motel after the show. The downtown trolley stops going our direction were temporarily closed. Several groups of people were wandering around trying to figure out what to do. Finally were we on our way, just in time for a map meeting.

Again I tried my sales pitch on the group. I had prepared three different routes for the day. The guys weren't too interested in the optional routes - they wanted the most direct, easiest route, traffic be damned. Okay, traffic it is. Ken and Jacinto opted for the extra 5 miles and 1,000 foot climb on Florida Road towards Vallecito Reservoir. Had I known just how heavy the out of town traffic was at 6 AM, I would have threatened disowning the group . . . but I thought the commuters would be coming in to Durango, not going out . . .

Today's ride: 50 miles (80 km)
Total: 386 miles (621 km)

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