Silverthorne, CO - Scott City, KSHad a great time in Denver with my girlfriend for a few days. It felt good to wander around and have a car for a moment. She dropped me back off in Silverthorne, CO for the start of this week. On the Fourth of July, I rode my way through the masses of people on the closed streets of Breckenridge. I fumbled my way to the other side of town and began the highest pass on the TransAmerica Trail, Hoosier Pass. Once I reached the pass I dropped into Alma, CO which, is the highest incorporated town in America. I was greeted with a potluck dinner and a huge celebration in the city park. I saw the fireworks and dozed off in my tent.
Woke up early on Tuesday and was immediately approached by a homeless man who loved to talk early in the morning. I slowly walked away from the conversation and biked down the trail. I'd originally planned on doing 70 miles into Guffey, CO but, ended up rolling nearly 100 miles into Canon City, CO. I reached town and got a bite to eat before heading to the campground. Turns out the campground was closed and the nearest camping was 16 miles East so, I found a motel owned by a polish couple who were generous enough to give me a discount. Love surprise motel stays.
Woke up refreshed to the worst day of the trip. Left the hotel around 9:00am and it was already 90 degrees. I began up the last minor climbs before the flatland of Kansas. I struggled all the way up and felt so weak but, made it to the top of the climb in eastern Colorado. I was relieved and went to take a sip of water when I realized one of my Contour action camera was missing. In a rage, I cursed out loud and kicked the ground. I then made the decision to cut my losses and move on to my planned warm showers host in Pueblo, CO. As I kicked off to leave, I realized my tire was flat and the rim was on the ground. As you can imagine, a tall biker in the middle of nowhere yelling at inanimate objects as if they did something wrong. After I fixed up my tire, I finished my 70 mile day into Pueblo just to be told that my warm showers host could not host anymore because she had to leave town. I thought the day couldn't get worse until I realized the nearest camping was 6 miles back the way I came. I reluctantly made myself go back to camp and finally the day was over. The only thing that went right was the 24oz beer I drank that evening.
Woke up feeling bad for myself because yesterday was such a nightmare. I laughed it off and rolled back into the familiar town of Pueblo for a coffee. I left the coffee shop at 9:30am and again was sweating by 9:31am. Started the long day and had a great tailwind for the majority of it. Although the heat was brutal, the wind was nice and cooling. I headed into the small town of Crowley for an ice cold Gatorade that gave me a brain freeze. I fell asleep on the park bench in the shade and woke up some time later. I biked 7 more miles into a headwind to Ordway, CO. I set up my tent in the city park and then was approached by three other bikers who invited me to their warm showers host in Ordway. Slept inside a hollowed out trailer and stayed nice and dry for the hail storm that happened at 4:00am
Woke up to the tin roof being ruined by golf ball-sized hail. I almost camped out in this weather and was lucky enough to have been invited to a shelter. The entire town of Ordway was flooded and broken and apparently, it wasn't over. I made the same decision as the girls that we would wait until the storms pass and night ride if the weather allowed us which, it did not.
On Friday, we woke up at 4:00am and left the warm showers hostel at 5:00am. Watched the sunrise over the plains of Colorado and biked in the cool morning. We biked 60 miles by noon into the town which is the halfway point of my tour, Eads, CO. Eads did not have much but, it did have a shady place to take a nap to let the heat die down. 6:00pm came around and we left town. The girls got a few flats and we had a headwind but, we made it 30 miles to a church hostel in Sheridan Lake. As we were rolling into the town, fireworks began going off but, no one in the town of 22 was watching. A private show to congratulate us on making it halfway I suppose.
Woke up in the church hostel because it was Sunday and left before the girls. I said goodbye to them and will perhaps see them down the trail. I headed out before the heat and made it to the boarder of Colorado and Kansas. Gave myself a stiff pat on the back and kept going into the windiest place I have ever been. Made it 50 miles into Leoti, KS and the wind picked up very hard. Stayed the day in Leoti and did my usual laundry and resupply before I hit the road at night in Scott City, KS. Had a fantastic week riding these larger-mile days and cannot wait to see what adventures I find in Kansas!
People: This week I rode alone most of the time except with three girls I met in Ordley, CO. Two of the girls who began together were named Erica and Cali. Cali is 25 and Erica is 29 and were both from California. They are not cyclists at home and just enjoy traveling. They have both been interested in touring and this was their opportunity to tour together.
They met another girl named Nicole from my side of the states in South Carolina. Nicole is very knowledgeable about bikes and this is also her first tour but, she is only 18. She is going to college after this trip and is already addicted. I stayed with these girls for a couple days waiting out storms and night riding but, left them to get a package before the post office closed.
Other than the usual westbound riders I meet, I had a fantastic warm showers experience with Gillian, a New Zealander turned American. She moved to Ordway 20 years ago and never left. She is very well known in the community for trying to get everybody involved in outdoor recreation locally as well as a known bike hostel. She was very welcoming and opened her house up to us and all we had to do was a 15-minute chore as payment. The first day we spread around some hay in her horse barn and the second day we raked up apples for her animals after the crazy hail storm. She was very sweet and has been my favorite place to stay thus far.
Geography: It has been the most dramatic transformation in weather in the past week I have ever had. The wind plays a very large factor in how many miles and when you can ride. I slept in the banning of the week in 37 degree weather in Alma, CO outside of Breckenridge. I was still in thick pine forests and at elevation. Once up and over Hoosier Pass, I dropped elevation all the way into Kansas. The forests in Colorado ended about 50 miles east of Breckenridge and turned into rolling hills and fields. There was nothing taller than the mass amount of crops being grown in the valley.
Through eastern Colorado, there was not much of a difference in terrain when you cross into Kansas. It looks like a sea of crops and the wind has been howling at 20-40 mph. I have night ridden a couple nights and the wind doesn't even stop. I will be very interested to see how that affects me in the miles to come. Although Kansas is boring already, it does have a vastness about it that portraits its beauty.
Gear: Yet another report stating that all the gear is holding up incredibly. I did lose a personal camera and tear a small hole in my Kitsbow shirt but, touring happens. This week I am beginning to test how this material on the bags holds up to the constant heat from the sun. I am also interested to see how the Big Agnes tent does in the famous winds of Kansas.
I did have another soaking bike after it fell off of the wall it was leaning on into a puddle of mud. This happened during the night of the hail storm and was soaking up all of the water. I picked it up in the morning and bought some cleaning supplies then crossed my fingers nothing was wrong due to the hail. Everything seemed to check out and the steel frame is shining like new again.
One hell of a trip and over halfway there! Check back next week for the updates!
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure?The feeling of adventure and seeing new places. On a bike, time seems to move much slower and I would love to feel that again.
Have you traveled by bike in the past?I have completed the Great Divide Mountain Bike route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
What is your goal for the route?My goal is to diverge from the route off the beaten trail and go find adventure! I would like to be able to gather stories about my adventure in order to motivate others to get out there!
What do you hope to get out of this journey?By the end of this journey, I hope to have collected stories, meet as many people as possible, and all around have fun. Along with doing this, I would love to have a very detailed journal and blog for others to follow and get inspired.