Salida, CO to Luders Creek Campground, CO
Mileage: 146 km (91.7 mi)
Riding Time: 12 h 35 m
Standing: 12th place
|Day 14 Map|
I set the hotel alarm, but I was paranoid about sleeping in. I kept snapping awake in the bed thinking it was time to go. I think I was conditioned to getting up at 4:30am so sleeping in a bit was a little disjointed. I still slept well, but the last hour and a half were me sitting up in the bed every 20 minutes. Once I got up I tried to get ready quickly like I would have if I was packing up the bivy. It ends up things go a lot slower when you have a coffeemaker and all the comforts of home. I am glad I stayed out of hotels. I managed to drag myself out of this nice comfy room at about 9am and checked out.
I got to the bike store around 9:30am. This was another time I was thankful for the little flag in my GPS. The guys looked over my bike and all I needed was a new tire, more sealant, brake pads, and some screws tightened. I thought for sure I would need a new chain, but the mechanic recommended that I just keep the original on until the end. Even if it is worn out, if it’s not causing any problems, just leave it alone. The parts wear together and work best. If I started changing things, it might not be good. I was a bit skeptical, but took his advice. He was right! The chain lasted until the end with no problems. There is a restaurant right next door to the bike shop and there is even an interior door between the two shops. I had a coffee and breakfast burrito and talked to Kristin for a while. I probably hung out too long at the store talking to the bike store guys, but it was such a nice morning. Finally I was on my way at about 10:30am.
It was a paved stretch for a while, then turned to gravel on the way up to Marshall Pass.
|On the way up to Marshall Pass|
The road climbed and climbed, but the grade was gentle and the views were nice. Lots of camping and RVs.
After crossing Marshall Pass, the descending began. Another fun, fast flowing road. I was in my own little world picking my line back and forth on the road and didn’t notice a motorcycle right behind me. I think he beeped his horn and rode past. Hopefully I wasn’t holding him up.
|Road leading down to Sargents|
The gravel led to Sargents and a little store by the side of the highway. I saw the motorcyclist and apologised for getting in his way. He was very gracious and said something that I couldn’t understand in a thick British accent. I resupplied and made my way down the highway. It was a pretty busy road with some narrow shoulders at some points. It was nice to turn off onto gravel again. The sky was looking dark and I kept waiting for a thunderstorm, but nothing developed. The clouds just seemed to dissipate as the sun started to get low on the horizon.
|Clouds disappearing as the sun got lower|
On the way up to Cochetopa Pass the road went up and down rolling hills on smooth gravel. I passed countless farms and ranches until the sun went down. It was a really pleasant evening ride. The wind was calm, the hills weren’t too steep and the weather was warm. I passed Lower and Upper Dome Reservoir and just enjoyed the ride.
Sunset at the Lower or Upper Dome Reservoir
I could see the forested hills in the distance and I knew I would be climbing more steeply once I got there. I got to the base of the hills and dodged the mountain cows in the twilight. These cows must have ate a lot of laxative grass or something. Sloppy wet poo as far as the eye could see. I had to use all of my single track maneuvering skills to avoid most of it. That’s right…most. Yuck. I climbed past the mountain cows and started the ride through the forest in the dark. I got to the Luders Creek Campground, set the bivy up under a nice big tree, and had a great sleep on the soft pine needles.
|Bivy under the tree - comfy|