Day 25

A Beautiful Ride Into Colorado

Posted by Conner McCormick on 2016-06-14
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Ride Date: 2016-06-14
Starting Location: Centennial, WY
Ending Location: Walden, CO
Miles: 60
Lowest Elevation: 7828
Highest Elevation: 9144

I woke up feeling very refreshed after the much needed rest day. I made myself some oatmeal and started packing up to get ready to head out. Sam and Taylor were getting ready to head out to Laramie and we ended up leaving at the same time. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way. I was very glad that this would be the last time that I would ride the gravel Rainbow Valley Road.

I made a quick pitstop at the small convenience store in town before heading on my way. A little bit out of town I realized that my front tire pressure was low, so I pulled over to fill it up with some air. When I continued on, I was supported by a favorable crosswind. I got about a half mile down the road before realizing that I had left my mirror behind since I knocked it off my helmet when I was pumping up my tire. I turned arond and road up the street until I knew I was at least far enough up, then I started retracing my ride very slowly, checking by each one of the reflector poles since I didn't remember exactly which one I had stopped at.

While slowly checking by each one of the poles one by one, a street sweeper pulled up next to me to warn me that they were spraying oil on the road right behind me and I needed to either get moving quicker or get to the other side of the road. So, I finally gave up and decided that the mirror would be left behind. This was the second mirror that I have lost so far on my trip. Before I had a detachable mirror that I put on my handlebars, but I lost it coming down the pass into Ennis, MT. Both mirrors lasted me less than a week. I think I will try to get another one for the helmet and try to secure it better, but if I end up doing something stupid to lose that one too, I will take it as a sign that I need to live a little more on the edge.

When I turned onto highway 11 towards Albany, I was immediately stopped in my tracks by the powerful wind. No longer was it a favorable crosswind, but now an intense headwind. I had to use really low gears just to keep myself moving. I saw a sign that read 11 miles to Albany, and figured that I would be dealing with the wind until then. The next few miles were incredibly slow, though I had an amazing view of Centennial with Medicine Bow Peak behind it.

First view turning onto highway 11 as I was stopped by the wind Centennial and Medicine Bow Peak Centennial and Medicine Bow Peak

The wind continued to pose a problem for me but it started to slow down a bit and be a little less consistent. I followed through a couple ridges before eventually making my way to the dirt road that I would be riding down for the next 10 miles.

Fox Creek Road

I was a bit worried about riding on a dirt road for such a long time, but it was actually one of my favorite parts of this entire trip. Fox Creek Road took my over a hill and then down directly into some mountains where I carved through to eventually make my way out to Woods landing. Although there were some parts of the road that were a bit bumpy, it was so incredibly beautiful the whole time so it was easy to ignore. Plus, with next to no cars on the road at all I was able to maneuver my way around many of the bumps.

Luckily the wind wasn't bad at all while I was on Fox Creek Road, however once I got into Woods Landing and onto the highway again, the winds were back for good. I had a lot of climbing to do for a good amount of the rest of the day, and the powerful wind made it just that much harder. During the beginning of the day I was doing really well at keeping myself happy and calm through the strong winds, but fighting it the entire way up the pass was very discouraging.

Heard some Marmots yelling while riding up the hill Good thing I keep the big lense handy now!

When I got to the top of the pass the wind got EVEN WORSE. There were a couple of times that the gusts of wind came at my so hard that it stopped me and almost knocked me off my bike. While starting to come down it opened up to some amazing views of mountains, and I was soon welcomed into Colorado by a sign. I felt a sense of pride crossing into Colorado, since I started this journey all the way on up om the coast in Washington.

I continued to fight the wind for the rest of the day, though it was a bit easier to deal with without the elevation. I was just thankful that my legs had a day to rest before today.

Just before Walden, I stopped in at the grocery store a bit out of town to get some more fuel for my camp stove and groceries for the next couple days. I then road into town, and went to the Sheriff's office to check in with them to let them know that I would be staying in the city park (my map for the TransAm trail said to do so). They took my name and number just in case there was an emergency, and told me to go set up my camp for free!

I headed over and rode my bike down into the beautiful park. I had picked out an area that had a bit of tree cover and a picnic table nearby. I then heard a man yelling at me and waving his arms. I decided to go approach him and guess who it was? JOOP!!! Man, was I happy to see him again! I had checked on his blog and figured that he would have passed through Walden yesterday, but he took a rest day yesterday as well while in Riverside (he stayed on the TransAm trail).

Joop told me that the sprinkler systems in the park come on really early and are unpredictable, and that I should set up my tent under the gazebo with his. I rolled my bike over and set up my tent, then he made us some coffee and we enjoyed it with some cookies while catching up on the past few weeks of each other's amazing adventures. I hadn't seen him since we parted ways after riding together from Missoula to Hamilton.

We got all caught up and shared stories about all the amazing people we have been encountering along the way, and then decided that it was dinner time. Joop made some beef stew and mashed potatos and I made a huge homemade pasta with fresh ingredients that I just got from the grocery store. We enjoyed out meals then shared some of each other's fruit for dessert.

Joop and I making dinner

I had told Joop that tomorrow I would be heading for Granby, then riding through Rocky Mountain National Park the following day, and eventually continuing to Denver. We checked our maps and found that Granby is only a couple of miles off the route of the Transamerica trail, so we would be able to ride together tomorrow for most of the day.

I told Joop that I would be staying at a Worldmark in Granby with way too much space for myself (thanks for the reservation, grandparents!). My place for the night would include multiple rooms and its own hot tub. Joop thought the idea of a hot tub and nice place to stay sounded great, so he decided that he would replan his next days so that he could join me for the night in Granby where he would continue on the TransAm the next day while I ride through Rocky Mountain National Park. It made me really happy to know that I won't have to be alone in such a big room for the next day!

We each took a look at our next weeks plans, and found that we would be able to meet up again in Pueblo six days from today. It would take him 5 days to get there, then he would enjoy a rest day. I would get there in 6 days on my route since I will be taking a rest day in Denver, so I plan to meet him in Pueblo on the end of his rest day.

To finish of the day, Joop and I headed over to the bar so that we could enjoy a drink and hop on the wifi so that we could each make our blog posts for the day. Remember to check out his blog again, he's been having an awesome adventure just like me!

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