Tuesday, June 30, 2009

YES tour Day 21

Day 21 In which a "short" ride somehow grows into a long ride.

Statistics for the day:
Miles biked : 64.5
Dirt Road miles: 20 (I think)
Pitches climbed: 8
Handstands: at least 7
Flat tires: 3
Chocolate milk: 2 quarts
sore butt cheeks: 8
Water Bottles consumed: I have no idea, but an awful lot.

It seems like more than one day looking back at it. Things started with packing, loading the bikes, and saying goodbye. Not surprisingly, this took longer than we planned. Then we headed off in the "wrong" direction to the Garden of the Gods. There we did a really fun 2 pitch climb up one side of a vertical fin of rock. This climb "Montezuma's revenge" featured lots of nice exposure up Montezuma's Tower. We did some yoga poses on the summit, but I wasn't willing to risk an ugly fall by trying a handstand. After first lunch we were back on the road before noon. At some point in Colorado Springs we had some navigational challenges and got turned around. We knew something was wrong when Pike's Peak was on our left. While slowly crawling up a hill a man stopped and gave us some water. Heading down the other side we realized this road wasn't curving around like we thought it would so we stopped to consult the map and he pulled up with some more food. It is very uplifting to witness the amazing kindness of strangers we have been blessed with along this trip. After some confusion with the map we realized that backtracking a bit was the best option, so we turned the train around and headed back. As we approached Fountain, Sam got a flat back tire. He was smart enough to get it where we could stop at a gas station with water. He patched the hole and drank a quart of chocolate milk , we ate our second lunch, and we were on our way again.

Soon my back tire started getting squishy and it was hard to keep up. I wasn't smart enough to do this where there was shade and water though. We pulled through the cones of a construction site and realized both my back tire and the trailer tire were flat. No wonder it was so hard to keep up. It was a tiny shard of glass in my back tire and a bit of wire in the trailer tire. We cut the last patch in half and patched them up and headed on.

As we got out of "civilization", the shoulders on the road got thinner, but luckily the traffic did too. By now we were all getting a little cooked from the sun (our usual afternoon thunderstorm wasn't hitting us). After another long hill up into the wind we stopped for a break with some slack-barbed-wire walking and sitting as well as handstands in the middle of the road. The cholla cactus were blooming which was nice, but there were also clouds of midges on our legs and biting flies which weren't. We actually looked forward to loading up and pedaling off to get away from the bugs. We dropped the midges, but the flies were able to keep up and bite us while biking.

We turned south onto Meridian, which was a dirt road. Something we didn't realize when planning this route. It was a pretty good dirt road with very little traffic, so we could ride anywhere on it in search of a line without washboards or loose sand. Sometimes this was successful, but I was getting worked by the loose sand. I had a few close calls where the trailer started fish-tailing and my front wheel would just jump back and forth (I was badly back-heavy). Then it happened and the front tire skidded sideways and down I went. Luckily it didn't seem to hurt the gear rack or my bike, just my hands, back, pride, and nerves. This is also about where we were running low on water. It was the low point of the ride for me, hot, sunburned, dusty, parched, bruised and scraped, tired, and on edge. We were all really happy when the road became paved.

We stopped at the first gas station we got to and all drank many water bottles worth of icy water and NUUN (and Sam got another quart of chocolate milk). Glenn, (one of the people we had contacted in Pueblo) wanted to ride out to meet us, but somehow we passed him and then waited for him to come back. We followed him into the downtown area stopping at a fountain cold wet handstands for Jason and Chelsey, and to pick up more escorts for a mini tour downtown. We stopped at the Fountain of Health yoga studio for a tiny acroyoga demo before unloading our bikes and moving into another wonderful and unique place. This time it is an old downtown building with a theater that is converted into apartments.

The "short" day of downhill biking had grown from around 40 miles to more like 65 with a headwind for much of it as well as blazing hot sun and a good stretch of dirt road. I for one was very glad to get out of the saddle. My shirt and skin was salt and dust caked. We were treated to a healthy and delicious dinner and then we moved into the hot tub on the roof and watched a thunderstorm approach over the city.

YES tour day 21 at SpotAdventures

Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging

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