Montrose - Telluride, CO: I feel out of place without dreadlocks. - There Ain't No Air In This Air! - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2013

Montrose - Telluride, CO: I feel out of place without dreadlocks.

It was agreed to head out of town at first light as today would be a climbing day. We had to pay the piper for all of the downhill we've had lately. I was first, leaving at 5:30 AM. I was surprised at the number of vehicles on the road. We had a 3.5 mile bike path to get us out of town. It was much appreciated. Otherwise we would have go through numerous traffic lights and traveled along a five lane road. Montrose is the biggest town we will pass through.

The bike path out of Montrose. Dim photo as I had left at first light. Lovely bike path - so nice, just too short.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I had only been on the road a few miles when the rest of the crew caught and passed me. Traffic was heavy, commuters heading to Telluride. Luckily, we had a good shoulder all the way to Ridgeway (27) miles, except for a short and very not fun section.

Outside of Ridgeway, I jumped on the bike path through The Dennis Weaver Park. Some of you will remember him from the TV show, Gunsmoke. The path was nice, as was the park. There were several picnic areas and even a vault toilet.

Taken from the Dennis Weaver Park in Ridgeway. Many of you will remember him from the TV show, Gunsmoke. He was a long time resident of Ridgeway. A bike path appeared by the roadside a few miles out of town. I jumped at the chance to get away from the traffic and enjoyed a quiet respite before the path finished at the town park.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The path ended in the city park, where vendors were setting up for the Farmer's Market. I suspected, correctly, that I missed the SAG. He was sitting back at the highway intersection. I continued on, not wanting to back track.

We had a 10 mile climb from Ridgeway to the top of Dallas Divide. In that 10 miles we would gain 2,000 feet. That is not too difficult. Hey 62 has some of the most amazing scenery anywhere. I was happy not to start climbing right away as it gave me a chance to look around.

One of the many small downhills at the beginning of the Dallas Divide climb.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Sneffels mountain range is one of the most beautiful in Colorado.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Tom zipped up and passed me in short order. He threw over his shoulder that he was trying to beat the rain to town. We had a 60% chance of rain forecast for late afternoon. So far the clouds were photogenically white and fluffy.

The road continued to be undulating rollers. Mile after mile ticked by. Then I started to get worried. If the road didn't take an upward tilt soon, it would be a heck of a last few miles to the top. Yep, that's what happened. The last couple of miles were ~6% grade. Several day riders passed me either coming or going. One woman with a long braid passed me, yelling, "Go sister!" over her shoulder.

You can't have too many photos of this area.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Aren't these clouds so innocent and fluffy? Believe no mountain cloud on a summer afternoon - the later it gets the more likely you are to be drenched!
Heart 0 Comment 0

I had resorted to my hill climbing tactic of stopping every mile for a breather and to briefly rest my legs. On my last break before the top, I could see Jacinto's red shirt in the distance. Surprisingly, I made it to the summit before he caught me. We took photos and ate a quick snack before starting the bodacious 12 mile descent. It was somewhat marred by a headwind. Since the wind didn't rival the Monarch Pass day, I was okay with it.

Close to the bottom, the SAG caught us. I got a refill of water and ice. We took the turn up Hwy 145. Up being the key word. Now we were on our second climb of the day. We had to regain the elevation we lost on the downhill. This section of Hwy 145 was said to be one of the most treacherous in Colorado according to my cycling guide book. I hadn't ridden this way since 1999 and remembered it as being a narrow, canyon climb. My memory was correct. Vehicle drivers were polite and gave us as much room as possible. This climb was similar to Dallas Divide in that the first few miles were too easy and the last couple of miles hard.

Jacinto and the Bianchi San Jose single speed at the top of Dallas Divide.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The clouds had been gathering and getting darker. Occasionally I heard thunder. I could only ride so fast without burning myself out. I reached a guardrail section that was the last big up before town. Light rain started to fall. More thunder. Darn. There was no sprinting on this climb, just steady progress. Every corner I went around, the climb continued. Double darn. Finally I had to stop. I was getting hot foot and needed to eat. I was SO ready for town. It had been an excellent day, so beautiful and the climbing was easy enough to make me feel strong. My strength was fading. The break did me good. I got to the top of the climb, then the road flattened out into town. I hopped onto the bike path when it started. I questioned the choice, as it was in very rough condition with big heaves/cracks from the winter freeze/melt cycle.

Jacinto opportunely called to give me directions to the hotel. I promptly forgot them. It had rained heavily in town and the roads were wet, splashing me. Finally, I made it. Running on fumes only, I don't think I was much fun until I sat down and ate Jacinto's day old burrito.

After sitting on the steps and eating, Cal and Ken brought our luggage over. It took an embarrassing amount of motivation to get inside and shower. My calves were covered in road grime. Good thing the grocery was a half block away, otherwise I might have pleaded with Jacinto to go alone.

We passed an Irish Bar and I suggested going in for a beer. An afternoon beer is a touring tradition. Jacinto peaked in the door and said it looked like all homeless people inside. We just don't see that many people with dreadlocks at home. No beer for us.

Telluride has joined the communities that don't allow plastic bags. We paid ten cents for a paper bag. Our small bag of groceries was $55. Welcome to paradise. Later we went to a take out place for pizza and a sandwich. All of the guys went together to a Mexican restaurant.

I was asleep by 9 PM. I lead the wild life for sure!

Today's ride: 67 miles (108 km)
Total: 272 miles (438 km)

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