Hoo-hoo! What a ride!
It all began smoothly. We left Frisco on Monday morning (thanks again Jeff and April) and rode 46 miles to Williams Fork Reservoir. Climbed Ute Pass and had a welcomed downhill to our campsite. First (but not last) day of substantial rain. Next day, we rode to Route National Forest, only 38 miles but earned every inch of it. Some climbs so steep, it made me believe ACA would have never included these roads if they had considered those traveling north. Difficult route but the best scenery thus far, sweeping views of green valleys and snow covered mountains. The rain didn’t bother us so much... until we hit the MUD. This is the mud that all GDMBR and Baja Divide riders fear. Described as “peanut butter,” it clogs up your chain and cassette. Adds 10 pounds to your tires. At some point, you can’t even push your bike because it is so heavy, your feet are slipping, and you are sucked into the tar pit, only to be found thousands of years later.
So, are we having fun? I have asked myself this and my answer is, most of the time. I had a good and long conversation with myself about why I am doing this and made the following conclusions: I am pursuing the unexpected memorable event or encounter; being outdoors with all of its physical and emotional benefits; accomplishing a goal; testing myself, both physically and mentally; and keeping fit in an effort to avoid the cost and other consequences of additional needed healthcare. I would have included the economic benefits of living cheaply on the road without any debt and few expenses but honestly, we’ve had so many unexpected costs, this isn’t reality.
On Wednesday morning, John’s derailleur decided it had enough and decided to end it. His derailleur self-combusted right before Rock Creek. It blew up real good. Luckily, John is bike-repair savvy and was able to shorten his chain and turn his bike into a one-speed, enabling him to reach pavement. We caught a couple of rides into Steamboat Springs, where we left the bike with The Orange Peel bike shop and went to stay with our WarmShowers host, Rich. Rich is awesome and kind. Thanks for a dry and welcoming place to sleep. Keep living an amazing life.
Thursday we we did lots of zero-mile stuff like hanging out at the public library, drinking coffee and eating delicious baked goods at Smell That Bread, and waiting to hear from the bike store. We saw that the weather forecast for the next day was rain and more rain. And rain is okay. We can do rain. The fear factor comes from rain and COLD. Or even worse, rain and COLD and MUD. So, we booked a room for 2 (two) more nights in Steamboat’s finest and cheapest hotel, with a full kitchen.
Best damned decision ever. Honestly, I admire those GDMBR riders plugging along, regardless of weather. But that ain’t me—today. Reality is we woke up not to rain but to snow. Snow on the first day of summer. Welcome to Colorado 2019: the snow and flooding episode. But we get to spend the day walking around a winter wonderland and eating cereal with cold milk/baguette with butter and jelly/yogurt/and salad in a bag. We are hanging out once again in the public library, may go to the Old Town Hot Springs this evening. Already feeling energized and looking forward to heading out once again in the morning. Because we’re doing this. In our own sweet time and John/Beth manner. Gratitude abounds.