Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 9: an escort service and an all nighter

Miles: 88
Handstands: 10 each
Average speed: 5 mph
Top Speed: 45.5 mph

Jason here:
This was the big day. - Up and over the highest paved road in North America. After a breakfast of oatmeal (left over from the 2XtM expedition 17 months ago!)
The first few miles were pretty flat, and then the climbing began in earnest. Sam and I switched bikes so that he could take a turn at pulling the trailer. I was so happy to be free of it!

We climbed for hours. The temperature dropped, the wind picked up. At times it was hard to stay on the road. We stopped at an overlook an did some acrobatics on the edge of the cliffs, much to the dismay of the onlookers. At one point a woman got out of her car and walked up to Chelsey, who’d just finished doing bakasana (crow pose) on the edge.

“I don’t mean any disrespect,” she said animatedly, “but I would beat you senseless if you were my daughter!” She looked up to the park ranger for re-inforcement.

The park ranger smiled. “The National Park Service has no rule against stupidity”, he said plainly.


He did however make us stop moments later when a van pulled up and a group of kids got out. “If they see you all doing that, one of them is gonna try it, and then we’ll all be in trouble…”

The air got thinner, and our legs weaker. By 4 PM we were almost to the top. The final ascent was super exposed, and to make matters even more difficult, we had a 30 mph headwind. It was slow going.

We’d planned for our stay at the top to be short, but it was so beautiful that we ended up practicing a bit, doing more handstands, and Chelsey and I performed a bit for the other tourists.

It was hard to leave, but the promise of 25 miles of downhill beckoned.
We put on wind-breakers, and took off. On the way down we broke our trip spped record, maxing out at 45.5 mph. What took us 5 hours to climb, took us less than an hour to go down.

We’d planned to end the day by staying in Estes Park, but the shock of going from the remote mountains into a tourist filled mountain town was too much. We milled about in town for an hour or so, trying to find a free place to camp – all to no avail.

We debated going all the way to Boulder (another 35 miles) but knew that the road down out of Estes was steep, narrow, and really treacherous for bikers at night.

As the sun set, we were milling about just outside of town still not sure what to do. A car pulled over, and a woman asked if we were OK. We explained our dilemma, and she seemed to understand completely. She even offered to drive around and check out possible free (dirtbag) camping options. When that didn’t pan out, she suggested that she escort us down the canyon, driving behind us with her hazard lights on.

It really was one of those moments. This woman’s kind actions single-handedly embodied kindness, understanding, and a willingness to help.

20 miles later, safely out of the canyon, she parted ways with us with a friendly wave. We hope that we’ll have the opportunity to thank her somehow! (email us if you read this by chance!)

YES Tour Day 9 at SpotAdventures

Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging


The last 15 miles to Boulder seemed endless. It was surreal. Time stretched. Our sensitivity to the aches and pains of the cumulative days of effort intensified. Muscle memory kept the legs moving. The promise of a warm bed waiting in Boulder was our caffeine.

It was after midnight when we arrived at the little house on Grove Street.

29 comments:

  1. Yoga slackers!

    Hey guys, it's Kate. It was great to meet you all on Saturday at Prana! Are you all doing anything today around Boulder (it's Monday). I saw on the calendar that you might still be in Boulder today, so thought I'd ask.

    Thanks so much for your suggestions and help on our legal quest and for teaching such a wonderful thing :). You got Joe hooked on Yoga for sure--he wants to buy a line AND is going to start Yoga classes.

    Thanks again, and maybe see you around!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. PS. I read that you guys only have $10/day for the whole group--can I interest you in a $23.00 Whole Foods gift card that I have left over? I'm not sure who easy Whole Foods are to find in other cities, but at least you could fill up on some stuff in Boulder before heading out!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey slackers,

    I just saw you out of Boulder this beautiful morning. Hope you have a safe and healthy ride out...some of the traffic you are about to run into can be a little ferocious. Be careful, and keep hanging from those hubs.

    Boulder is a city that loves bikes, and I am happy to put a shout out for those who missed this energetic little caravan.

    Have a great ride!

    Travis Hugh Culley
    Boulder/Denver Couriers

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