Monday, June 27, 2011
Hartsel to Salida
It was a long and tiring 53 miles, starting at 9am and arriving at 7pm. Today was one of the hardest days on the divide, the first 35 miles along wash boarded gravel roads, heading directly into the wind. With the wind never on my side, the bike and trailer was pushed left and right with futile strength leading to a very slow day. This was a day where fitness did not matter, today was all about mental strength, it was long and painful, with every turn leading to another climb and endless trail. Parts of the trail were full of sand with little traction, and the end of the day finished with a 1000ft climb over 4 miles. It was a high and lonesome terrain leading into the San Isabel National Forest. The literature's use of the words "quite steep" was an understatement as I moved from 9000ft to over 10000ft and back to 7500ft. At the top of the climb it was refreshing to see the peaks of Mount Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton in the distance and a half hour decent to the outskirts of Salida. But even during the decent I had to keep a strong awareness for the bumpy trail and aching hands, fortunately they did not turn blue from the rattling ride. Little to no water sources were found in this desolate stretch and less than half a water bottle remained as I entered Salida. From here I climb back up to 10000 ft reaching Marshall pass and it will be four days until I reached services again. Till then..
P.S. There's something about Michael Jackson, shitty days and remote plains that just makes you scare the locals with your dance moves