Wednesday, June 8: Don’t like finishing a ride at 5:30 PM like we did last night. Just makes for a short, tough night and then the fun starts all over again the next day. It’s like there’s no transition from ride to ride. With the earlier starts and finishes, we have more time to just unwind and relax, to kind of recharge for the next day. But I’m happy I got that darned 40-mile section in yesterday despite the late start/late finish. We went straight from the ride to this little barbecue place on the west side of Trinidad. I just put my shorts over my sullied cycling garb and went in to eat. To tell you the truth, I was so tired from driving and riding that I was not feeling that “bitch hungry” thing going on. No, it was more a matter of just getting some food in the belly and hitting the rack. Did a pulled pork sandwich, fries and slaw and that was it. I think we were all feeling the effect of driving/riding. Went back to Super 8, had a couple New Castle Brown Ales and it was lights out. The three of us hit the hay at 9 PM and slept like logs!

Got up late, for me, at like 5:45 AM. Did the coffee thing for Judy and then began a work session on my computer until Jude was done doing a walking workout. Ate a meager Continental Breakfast and then we were on the road to our finish spot from yesterday’s ride. Bill had decided to bag the first leg of the ride today and save his energy for the climbing once we hit the foothills to the Rockies. So they dropped me off for what I figured and measured was a 18-mile ride to the foothills. I Xed over Rt 160 and got on 81 Rd and rode gravel along the top of the Purgatoire River valley for about 3 miles to the northeast, then dropped down and Xed the river, came around the other side and went L, southwest, on 75.1 Rd to El Moro. 

Next up was a R, north on 75 Rd for a long, long stint. This was a mess in places as some trucks had drove on the road right after the rain last night, so the road was rutting with these deep ruts and furrows. I rode on the periphery to keep out of the mud and ruts. Then I came to a Road Closed sign for 75. Just kept going. I figured that I’d be able to surmount any closure that lay ahead. And I was right. An Arroyo bridge was out, but there was this baja track down and up and over it, which I rode with zero issues. Then I was back to riding north on this long, lonely one lane stretch of gravel for another 6 miles. Out to the west about 4 miles to my left, I could see the traffic on I-25, which I was paralleling. 

Finally got to 52 Rd, and went L, west. This was a rutted mess from a few trucks driving on it while it was wet. So I really had to stay to the far left of the track or to the far right. My only issue was that I was VERY close to the vegetation, and any potential sandbur issues. This was another LONG false flat. By this time I knew that I would be much longer than the time I’d told Judy and Bill. But hey, nothing to do but just ride. The crappy rutted out stuff finally ended with about another 3 miles on 53. Next up with a L, west, on 63.2 Rd, which was labeled 61.3 Rd. But I was so close to the meeting point with Judy and Bill that I went that way nonetheless. Once I did that L, my gps did indeed tell me I was on 61.3. Made it to our meeting point about 30 min late and 7 miles further than I had bargained for. Had to ride this half mile section section of asphalt up and over I-25 to meet up with Judy and Bill at the Ludlow Exit 27. 

Did a very quick stop. Bill was ready to go, and we both knew, what with the weather looking pretty iffy, that this could be a BAD deal if the weather deteriorated. Here on the front range of CO it’s been really unstable weather-wise, with a big increase in the rain. They call it the summer monsoon out here, with rain occurring early to mid afternoon every day, and some of the storms are very heavy. As we were getting ready to roll you could just see the heavy cloud build up to the west, right where we were headed. This caused me to make a mid-course adjustment, a kind of “bail out” stop just in case we were getting ourselves into some severe weather. 

Without the bail out stop our route would be some 47-50 miles on gravel mountain roads with zero support opportunities. But I figured that we could cut this down to about 35 miles if we exited the route and instead rode 5 miles on CR 310 to meet back up with Judy at Pryor, at Exit 42 off of I-25. Then, if the weather was good, and we still had more gas in the tank, we could go back and continue the rest of the route to La Veta. Maybe, if 310 was a good road, we could even have Judy drive us back to where we exited our route. This sounded way more palatable than taking a chance with the weather and just gutting out the whole thing in rain and/or thunder storms. Bill was good with the change, and honestly I felt a bit better to knowing that we had that in the cards. Meanwhile, Judy would go to Walensburg to shop for camping supplies while we were riding, and then to back to Pryor to meet up with us. I told Judy we could be 3 hours on this section. So we all set our watches and Bill and I were off. 

The first 2 miles west on 44 Rd were paved, and again, I just rode pavement rather than risk the sandburs and goatheads. Then 44 went gravel and dirt, and it began climbing like heck! There were sections which were still muddy and rutted from the prior days rain. So the riding was laborious and slow on this mushy roadbed. At times the climbing was unrelenting and switchbacky. A lot of this was middle and little ring climbing. Sometimes I could muster no more than 5-6 mph. And thank God for my gps with the CO/UT micro SD card, because there were a few junctions that could just befuddle the heck out of you. In addition to my gps I took pages from my CO Gazetteer just for insurance, and that really helped to. 

Now some 10 miles in I found that I could not shift into my little ring, so while I was waiting at a junction for Bill I fiddled with the thing for a good 15 minutes. Finally figured out that if I rotated the barrel on my front shifter cable I could get the chain to drop into the little ring again. Something must have changed or gotten jostled such that I couldn’t get into the little ring. I may have even inadvertently changed it as I was riding. Nonetheless, I was relieved to have that little ring back. As I was fiddling with the front changer rain had begun, and I could hear thunder storms off to the northwest. Not good! Bill arrived and we continued through a maze of unmarked junctions to our next turn, a R onto CR 43.7. The rain gradually died down and the sun actually came out for a short stint. 

This 43.7 was a main thoroughfare so to speak for a dirt road, and it goes up to the town of Aguilar, so it must get a ton of traffic compared to the other muddy, rutted out stuff we’d been riding. This thing was packed down like a dirt race track. It eventually changed to pavement for just a short stretch before we made our turn, L, west, on CR 50.9. This pup was a stiff climb on single lane gravel, followed by a stiff descent. So we’d climb up to about 71K and then descend back down to like 66K. We’d do this several times during the ride. Next was a R on CR 45.4, and again, another stiff climb followed by a big descent. By this time we were well into the foothills of the Rockies. 

We then turned L, west on CR 54.2, and began riding up into Mauricio Canyon. Ditto….more climbing and descending. Next came a R, north, on CR 41.4, and this guy had the stiffest climb of the day. Thank goodness I’d gotten that front changer to drop into the little cookie, or else I’d still be out there hoofing it up that guy. We changed counties and thus the road names changes, so 41.4 changes to CR 313. We good this to another big multi-road junction that my gps had dialed in quite well, and we eventually got on CR 315.1, and climbed again. Are you punch drunk from all the road changes so far? I was. 315.1 went into 315 and we took that to a dead end into CR 310. And as you might remember, 310 was our bail out road. 

Well, back on that crippling little climb on 41.4, both Bill and I decided that our day would be done by just taking 310 back to meet up with Judy at Exit 42 off of I-25. I just didn’t have the legs to go that extra 15-20 more miles from that point up to La Veta. So we made the R, east on 310 and rode a blazing descent down to the little town of Pryor. We’d taken some 4 hrs to ride just under 40 miles, and damn did I feel it. Met up with Judy, loaded the bike and we were done. I ended up with 62 miles for the day with about 3500 feet of climbing. Bill was toast to!

So we headed to the town of Walsenburg and got a cheap motel because the weather forecast for this evening is for rain and potential thunderstorms. And since Judy had bought all this food to cook out for camping, we went to the town park in Walsenburg and cooked dinner under an enclosed picnic area on our camp stove. Had some turkey burger, dogs and a super nice salad that Judy prepared. During the cookout, we got some rain, but nothing that was really threatening. 

Now I’ve had one of my blog readers, JimO, ask for more details on my eating habits. And I’ve been kind of leaving those out on this trip because I’d thought that you folks were not interested…BUT I will start to give you more of my food intake specifics…Soooo I had 2 burgers, 3 dogs, and about 1.5 lbs of salad. Toss in several handfuls of potato chips and that was about the story there. Now subsequently, Judy did make us this wonderful Devils Food Cake with milk, strawberries and blue berries. And add several New Castle Ales on top of that. So there you go JimO!!

Well, I’m going to have another beer and just yank this bloody computer from my lap and relax. I’m done working for the day. Late…Pete