Sunday, June 28, 2009

Free day

I groped my way out of Silverthorne this morning along a series of confusing bike paths. Just when I thought i was home free, I came up on the tail end of a large breast cancer awareness walk. For nearly 10 miles, I weaved through a parade of people wearing pink shirts and waving balloons shaped like breasts. At first I cheered them on, but after four miles, I began to feel herd weary. I blew through Breckenridge and ran into my third human traffic jam up Boreas Pass, with Sunday drivers and bikers crowding the narrow road.

I dropped down the pass into much more lonely country, wide open country without even a tree to pee behind. I was slammed by a couple heavy thunderstorms, dropping hail and mixing up mud. I was pretty muddy when I rolled into Hartsel, which was teeming with bicycle tourists traveling the trans-America route. Everyone was curious about my mountain bike and muddy state, so I spent more than an hour chatting with fellow travelers, including a vehicle-supported group traveling cross-country to raise awareness about affordable housing. They weren't very impressed when I told them I was averaging 100 miles a day. Sigh. Roadies just don't understand.

Still, human contact is a good thing. I returned to lonely country to climb a couple more small passes, and then dropped 3,000 feet into Salida on the most breathtakingly scenic road. Sunlight filtered through curtains of scattered showers over a skyline of 14,000-foot peaks as I buzzed around the narrow edges of sandstone outcroppings. When I reached Salida, I realized that I felt totally fresh, like the 115-mile day didn't even take anything out of me. It felt like a free day. I decided to soak it in and enjoy it, because I'm certain to not get any more of those. :-)

Sent on the go from my Peek