Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 40

Tuesday, August 16

Miles today: 62

We woke up to the cold Colorado air, which was a nice change from the hot nights we are used to. It actually got down into the 40s during the night! We ate English muffins with almond butter and got on the bikes for the first time in 5 days!
I rode the first 20 miles with my sweatshirt on, which felt so weird but good. The terrain felt flat but we were climbing slowly. We got into the town of Hartsel where we had second breakfast and took a little break.

After getting back on the road, we got caught in a thunderstorm. I was so happy to have my rain jacket back (my dad brought it from home) because it was so wet and cold- it was down to 55 degrees during that storm! We rode the next 18 miles into Fairplay, which was definitely uphill. We started the day at 8600 ft in elevation and knew we were climbing to our highest point of the whole trip at over 11,000 ft. We passed through Alma, which has a cool claim to fame:

The four mile climb over Hossier Pass was not actually too steep, it was just a long ride at a very slow pace (4-6 mph). Ben was really struggling with his breathing, we think because of the high altitude and low oxygen. I was a little tough on him, but I knew we had to make it over, unless we wanted to turn back. He powered through the pain and we finally made it to the top. We also crossed the Continental Divide, what a great feeling to bike up there! 

 He made it!!!

 The Recovery

Now we get to enjoy the ride down!

We took in the view for a while and celebrated make it to the highest point on our trip! It was cold up there so we bundled up for the 11 mile descent into Breckinridge (elevation 9600 ft). The way down was much steeper than the side we went up so we were thankful for that! There were hairpin turns where the speed limit was 10 mph! The side that we went up was nothing like that so we definitely picked the right side to climb! (I wonder how the rider that passed us coming down the hill on our way up, and then passed us while we were still climbing going back the other way felt about the hills. He does this stuff for an everyday joy ride- what a nut!) We arrived in Breckinridge and Ben was still having a lot of pain in his chest so we decided to get a hotel instead of going 8 miles further to a campsite.

Overall, it was a good day to get back on the road and pass another milestone (Hossier Pass!). Let's hope a night of rest will alleviate Ben's chest problems!

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