Jawdrop: Welcome to The Rockies

June 29, 2012

After a few days kicking it in the Front Range (the Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and any other area in East of the Rockies area), we dove/crawled/inched our way up and into the Rockies. But we certainly enjoyed our time at a only mile high altitude…

We said goodbye to Alan, Charis, Gregory, and William after a wonderful night at their place. You all will be missed!

Gregory and William made us some really sweet goodbye cards. They are stowed safely in our waterproof panniers. Word on the street is that Gregory rode a two wheeler for the first time the other day. Champ!

As we departed Alan and Charis’ house in Fort Collins, the temperature had already reached 95. Anna and I opted to spend the afternoon in Fort Collins and then put in about twenty miles when it cooled down. But we ended up staying another night. I am glad we did…

While Anna and I were enjoying Fort Collins we ran into Ron. Ron, an avid cyclist in Fort Collins offered up his home for us that evening. An amazing man, we spent the evening chatting route advice, trading stories, and just enjoying Ron’s company. Andale Ron!

Ron invited us to an Overland Mountain Bike Club meeting that he is a member of. The club is sponsored by New Belgium Brewery which just so happens to be at Fort Collins. The meeting was actually held right at the brewery. The club is doing some wonderful things and it was neat to be there. Plus… free beer and pizza.

Anna nor I are real beer drinkers. But when it is free and at one of the neatest companies in Colorado…

Anna and I left Fort Collins for Boulder the following morning mighty early to beat the heat. Ron had called a friend in Boulder who let us set up camp in his yard. He lived a stones throw from University of Colorado Boulder and Pearl Street, one of the neatest streets in Colorado.

When Anna and I arrived to Boulder, we were stopped by Taj, an employee at Community Cycles. He encouraged us to swing by the shop, put our bikes on the stands if needed and just chat bikes. It was a great intro to Boulder.

While our bikes are holding up beautifully, I did swing by for some route advice and to see if I could steal some somebody’s itunes. Community Cycles had it all: advice, itunes, and smiles. Thanks fellas.

While in Boulder we made a pit-stop at Celestial Seasonings. Their factory is right outside of the city. Anna is a big tea drinker and before I found coffee, I was too.

While waiting for the tour we were able to try any one of the dozens of teas they offered. The tour was neat, highlighted by the peppermint room. A sealed storage room with only the peppermint tea. It was like taking a bath in menthol…

We also scored a wonderful meal at one of the many hole-in-the-wall places in Boulder. Anna and I do appreciate healthy eating but I have found that our side salads with low fat dressing are now being replaced by french fries and ketchup. Fine by me I suppose!

That night one could see the smoke from one of the dozens of fires that have found the dry lands of Colorado. It looked a bit like a volcano and it covered the city in smoke. However, when we woke up the next morning it was crystal clear but Anna and I could see fires burning on the hillsides as we pedaled out at 430 AM.

After a nice breakfast in Golden, Colorado “Gateway to The Rockies” we mounted up and headed West once more. Albeit much slower…

Our first day in The Rockies was not too brutal. We had a couple big climbs, but no passes. While tough, it was a nice intro.

When Anna and I eat dinner we begin the meal with the high and low of the day. This was WITHOUT A DOUBT the low of my day. For nine miles we had to ride Interstate 70, the main highway through Colorado. It was miserable and I was so thankful that we both got off of it alive.

We ended the day in the gorgeous town of Georgetown, Colorado.

A “gem of a store” as Anna would call it. This neat place was the oldest continual store in Georgetown.

Our campsite out of the rain.

Now, the following day was a real gut-check. We had three different passes. Number one was the Guanella Pass at just under 12,000 feet. It hit us right out of the gate and didn’t let up until 12 miles later….

The view of Georgetown maybe 1/34th of the way up Guanella Pass.

Boom!

It was a haul, but we made it to the top. Those smiles are not forced. I promise.

The ride down was much more enjoyable; until we reached the unpaved section which lasted for about 3 miles. But it was a good first pass. Yea…

The next two passes were easier. The Kenosha Pass which weighs in at 9,997 feet dropped us into a beautiful valley.

Despite the rain, this vista after Kenosha Pass may be my favorite of the trip so far.

Finally, we ended the day with the Red Hill Pass. At 9,993 feet it was comparable to Kenosha. Upon reaching the top Anna was prompted to shout, “I am a Red Hill Warrior!” That you are Anna.We finished up the day cruising into Fairplay, Colorado.

Today has been nothing short of beautiful.

We only had one pass, Trout Creek Pass, which we boomed through, dicho hecho.

I am writing this from the wonderful library in Salida, Colorado in the Arkansas River Valley, which is unfortunate because today was all downhill… Thank you all so very much for reading. I would especially like to say hello to everyone at the Samaritan Center, guests, staff, and volunteers. I miss you all dearly.

We will update you soon as we make out way to the Four Corners, Grand Canyon, and beyond…

Much love, Andrew

Support Bike For Brady

5 Responses to “Jawdrop: Welcome to The Rockies”

  1. Beth Scanlon said

    Thank you so much for including me in this blog of yours, I love reading every sentence. Both of you inspire me so much. I was at an immersion conference with other directors from across the country. I was talking about you Andrew and one of the guys at St. Louis University said OMG that there were several students at SLU who were so impressed with you presentation at the Teach-In last year. I wanted to pass that along to you.

    Continued safe travels – you are making incredible time on this trip. I can’t believe that you are almost to California. You are rocking the Rockies. Those passes are high and I bet the air is a wee bit thin up there. Please be careful with the fires, they seem to be everywhere and are devastating.

    Much love,
    Beth

  2. Anonymous said

    Beth, as you probably realized, they haven’t yet needed to avail themselves to the JVC alumni. Can you believe the offers for lodging that they have received?!!
    Cathy

    • Anonymous said

      Cathy, they are amazing. My brother and his family live in Albuquerque, NM and they was bummed that they were not heading in their direction. I love that people keep offering such wonderful hospitality. The biking community across the country is pretty special.
      Beth

  3. Anonymous said

    Hey Andrew and Anna,
    I’ve been spreading the good word about your journeys to anyone that will listen to me. Careful with all the fires going on! Let me know if you see any frisbee action in Boulder ;)

    Matt

  4. Leslie Nelken said

    We’re so proud of both of you. I can imagine the trepidation through the winds and heat of the prairie, knowing that you had the Rockies to still conquer. It’s so wonderful that the folks you meet along the way have offered you companionship, food, and shelter. Good luck getting through the other side of the Continental Divide!

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