Monday, July 6, 2009
YES Tour day 26 Salida to Gunnison
Flat tires: 2
Miles biked: 72
Elevation gain: 4,250 ft
Top Speed: 42.5 mph
high speed crashes: 1
time off bikes: 10:20 p.m.
We all slept in a little bit after the grueling day and late night of day 25. we consumed a large amount of oatmeal and liquids we headed off to the 4th of July farmer's market in Salida. In addition to the usual arts and local produce there was a circus school performing at the market. We set up a slackline and did some yogaslacking and taught some people a bit as well as acro demonstrations. Too soon we had to leave to prepare for the trip to Gunnison.
Sam was trying to clear up some issues by text message on his telephone and was probably getting blisters from all the texting. We packed up and ate not enough food, waited out a sudden and heavy downpour and were back on the road heading west around 2:30. Another bit of rain as we headed out of town got us wet but not soaked. The sign said 60 miles to Gunnison and we were pleasantly surprised. Then a mile later we turned the corner and the sign said "Gunnison 66". Something so little can be so demoralizing. But it wasn't as frustrating as the uphill. We were heading for Monarch Pass, so uphill was the name of the game. Eventually it got to the point where we just put it in low gear and kept pedaling. We stopped to refill water at a campground and then continued up. Luckily where things were steepest there was usually a passing lane so that the cars and trucks weren't passing quite as closely. Up Up Up we went. At least the scenery was beautiful. It cooled down nicely and finally we topped out Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet above sea level. Unfortunately we got there just as the little summit store closed at 6:00. More accurately Jason and Chelsey got there then, Sam and I got there a bit later. We inverted a bit to drain our legs, took some pictures, ate the last of the food, redistributed our water, and put on some more clothes for the descent.
The descent was a bit scary but mostly fun, especially as I wasn't pulling the trailer. We bombed down at high speeds (Sam hit 42.7 mph without pedaling, but in a tuck). Soon we were at the bottom and refilled our water bottles and talked to a guy in the middle of a race down the continental divide by mountain bike.
The next stretch went fairly quickly as it was mostly downhill and we kept in a tight paceline and zipped right along. This came to a literal crashing halt when we spread out a bit going down a hill over 30 mph. As we regrouped Chelsey merged into where Jason was and her rear pannier hit his front pannier. He recovered but the trailer wobble was enough to throw him off balance and he went down at about 28 mph. Needless to say this wasn't pretty and damaged his panniers, bicycle, left side, clothes, and hands. We spent some time patching him and the bicycle up (flat tire, ripped panniers) before heading down the road again.
Another 10 miles down the road Sam's tire went flat. By now it was fully dark and there was a fair amount of traffic as people were heading home from the fireworks. A car pulled up behind us to see if we were ok, and it was a guy from CDOT who patrolled this stretch of road. He put on his orange reflective vest and kept the car behind us to help keep traffic away from us. Then an ambulance stopped (it turns out there was a bad accident up the road, and on the way they saw us and decided to make sure we were ok too). We patched this flat (a double pinch flat from some big bump Sam had hit at high speed). Of course we didn't see the second hole until we had patched the first and started pumping the tire up again. Then we were on our way for the final 8 miles into Salida. We were very happy to get to the Wanderlust Hostel recently opened by Amy, one of Chelsey's friends. We were exhausted, but also starving, so we cooked up a heap of Eastern Essence food, showered, and went to sleep. Sam actually fell asleep texting.
YES Tour: Day 26 at SpotAdventures
Map created by SpotAdventures:GPS Geotagging