Thursday, August 1
Today was supposed to be one of our easier days, but it sure didn’t turn out that way.
Since it took 13 hours to get to Del Norte yesterday we decided to reward ourselves with a later start this morning. Instead of a 6:00am start, we’d go with 7:00am. Rick & I were at the Windsor Hotel and the Casey’s were at a bunkhouse provided by Laurie (we’re saving costs whenever possible). We didn’t all coordinate and get ready to go until almost 8:00am. So, later than we wanted, but given the route, no worries.
It was overcast with a slight chill in the air. We started very strong since it was a slight downhill on smooth roads and we were cooking for about 20 miles. Stopped to eat and when we started again, I felt bad. I was cold and couldn’t shake it ,and had to stop to put on my coat. My stomach was also upset and I just didn’t have it. As a result, I had to wheel-suck and not take any pulls, and Rick and Tom did the work. That’s when it pays off to have stalwart teammates to drag your sorry butt along the route, and I never appreciated it more than today.
We stopped in Saguache as Tom suggested a cup of coffee or hot chocolate might make me feel better. Hot chocolate did lift me for a bit, but I still wasn’t doing well and felt worse and worse.
At one stop we were surprised by some of our Durango hosts who were driving to Copper Mountain for the Copper Triangle ride on Saturday. John and Monica stopped for a chat and it was great to see them again. They brought us ice cream bars, which I so didn’t need since I was trying to get warm. But their generosity was great and everybody else enjoyed the bars.
Due to the efforts of Rick and Tom we relentlessly ticked off the miles and it got somewhat warmer so I could doff my coat. Then the clouds came back and it started to sprinkle. We were 5 miles from the top of Poncha Pass and 15 miles from Salida when all the sudden another of our Durango hosts, Joe Williams, drove up. He was also heading for Copper. Well, he jumped out of his car, stripped down right there on the road and donned his bike gear. He wanted to ride the last 15 miles with us. It was great to see him again and to once again be able to ride with a Parkinson’s person.
I had started to feel better, but my legs still just didn’t have it after our exertions yesterday. By the time we got going the clouds were heavy and we had an infernal headwind for those last 5 miles to the top of the pass. To make matters worse, the road had recently been oiled and graveled, and all the gravel was on the shoulder, so we had to plow through 2 inches of that crap as well. It was slow going. Of course Joe led us all the way to the top. These Parkinson’s people remain amazing, and once again I had a lump in my throat. Joe lives well with Parkinson’s every day as well.
We finally crested the pass and were rewarded with a wonderful downhill all the way into Salida. We hugged Joe and parted ways and got to our hotel around 3:30pm, which was nice as we needed the time to R&R. Hit the pool and hot tub then cleaned up and are now going to dinner by the river. Looking forward to an early bedtime as tomorrow is another uphill slog through Leadville, over Fremont Pass and down into Copper.
Looking forward to seeing Joe and Carl and Cheryle and all the other wonderful folks we’ve befriended on our journey so far. It’s a wonderful feeling to become part of this community.
Loading up in Del Norte:
The riders leaving the Windsor Hotel:
Tom and Joe at the top of Poncha Pass
Joe and the Friends For Phinney entering Salida: