Friday, June 26, 2009

YES Tour Day 17

Yogaslacker Tom reporting - (since this was my first day, they said I should write the blog entry). After driving from Flagstaff the previous day and arriving after midnight, I was a little groggy in the morning. That was soon cleared up with some fabulous hospitality in the form of pancakes. Sam was pretty excited that I have a hardtail bicycle and thus can attach the trailer to it, but he took pity on me and decided not to make me take it (I think he was worried about breaking me on my first day). While we were loading and packing the bikes they realized I had knobby tires and said they would break me like they broke Dan. Luckily we were able to borrow a set of slicks from our host. After a salmon salad lunch and more procrastination and last minute packing we set of at a civilized 1 pm for the ride from Denver to Colorado Springs. The first 10 miles or so were on a nice but winding bike path. It was pretty hot and muggy but that was dispelled by the gust front from an approaching storm cell. The majority of the rain slipped behind us and we were treated to a cooling sprinkle and strong tailwind.

Sam got an instant flat when something (glass?) sliced his sidewall. We stopped and replaced the tube and slacklined on a chain that was across the convenient driveway there. We also watched the next approaching storm cell complete with lightning show. While pumping the tube up it blew out again. It turns out the slice was large enough to allow the inner tube to pop under high pressure. We braced the sidewall with a Raw Rev wrapper and patched the tube. Then we were on our way again.

By now we were on 83 heading south. Some of the time it had a decent shoulder, and sometimes the shoulder was a white line and a dropoff. Then the rain hit. This time it was large cold drops. Soon we were pretty wet and chilled. Chelsey was smart enough to put on her rain coat, but the rest of us just kept pedaling. After what seemed a long time, the rain eased off and we began to warm up again, especially as we headed up a rather long and persistent hill. It seemed to go forever and I was quite thankful that I didn't have the trailer. At the top of the hill we were on a expansive high grassy plateau. Chelsey was quite a ways up ahead of us by now and us men were grumbling about giving her more weight. There was another large storm cell in front of us, and I thought it would slide off to our left. I was wrong. It started out gently, but soon large icy drops were pounding us. It was coming down hard enough to cover the road with water and the spray soaked the last dry spot on my belly and got my glasses covered. Did I mention it was cold? It was. Eventually it slacked off and while not exactly warm, we weren't so chilled. We had come 55 or so miles now, and my hands and butt were not so happy with me. There was another storm cell off to our right, so we put on some warmer clothes (leg warmers, raingear...) That kept the rain more than spritzing us. Then we hit some long downhills and Chelsey disappeared in front of us. (grumble grumble) in trying to catch up my thighs started to burn for the first time. Sam and Jason took pity on me and rather than keeping up with her blistering pace they hung back with me (or so they claimed).

When we passed a megachurch and could see the Air Force Academy we needed to pull out the atlas to navigate. This is also where Sam's tire started leaking again. Every 10 minutes we had to stop to pump it up again. This interval seemed to decrease with time.

Due to some laziness (to avoid a large detour) we got onto I-25 for a few exits. That was an interesting experience. Cars had been blowing by at 65 mph for much of the day, but 75 or 80 is a different level. The edge was wide enough that it wasn't too terrifying except the on and off ramps. Those were bad. At least it was downhill so we were cruising along over 20 mph. In fact road debris thrown up by the trailer hit me in the leg and the face. I backed off another 30 feet. After a few scary bits we were all happy to get off the highway.

Now we were on the final stretch, but we still had to stop to pump up Sam's tire a few more times. Finally we were biking through neighborhoods and just as it was starting to get dark, we got to our destination. A lovely old house with room to spread things out to dry, food, company, and an enthusiastic dog...

I don't think it was the farthest I ever bicycled in a day, but it was with a load, and it was the longest I had bicycled in an afternoon and I was very glad to get off my bicycle. I was pleased my homemade rack system worked.

YES Tour Day 17 at SpotAdventures

Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging

Jason here - We are all super pleased to have Tom with us, as he neatly filled the holes in the team since Daniel left to take care of his knee. Tom is an incredibly talented photographer (as was Daniel), an amazing climber, slackliner, and an amazing sufferer. I am looking forward to strapping the BOB trailer to him as we go up and over Monarch pass in a few days....I just have to be careful to keep him at least semi-healthy till then.

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