Tuesday, August 21, 2012

crmbt-montrose to telluride

Wednesday 8-8-12

The morning was cool, but not the kind of cold that makes you stay in your sleeping bag as long as possible. The sun was up and it was nearing 7:00 when I left Montrose. I had mentioned to Scott that my front derailleur wasn't letting me get on my small ring right away. I need my small ring! So he made some adjustments before I left, and had it working smoothly. But the group I had been riding with on and off all week was already gone before I got on the road.

There were still lots of riders just on the road, and many who would not leave for a while. We only had 65 miles again today, basically climbing slowly to Ridgeway, then going up and down over the Dallas Divide, before climbing once more to get to Telluride. It was a beautiful morning to be on a bike as we headed south on US550 for the first 25 miles.
 Nearing Ridgeway you could see hot air balloons floating over the area. I remembered them from the last time I rode through here, and still think it would be an awesome way to get a bird's eye view of this stunning part of Colorado.
 After the aid station stop in Ridgeway we headed west on CO62 and before too long were on our way up Dallas Divide. This is one of my favorite climbs. I think you gain a couple thousand feet over 10 miles, and top out at 8970 feet. I love it because the views of the Sneffels Range are unbelievable.
I was grateful that this wasn't a longer day as it afforded me the opportunity to stop and take pictures every time I thought the view warranted it, and that was often. And on this morning you could see for miles, and it didn't look like we would have to worry about weather for the foreseeable future.
If you're going to spend a couple hours riding up a mountain pass, this is a wonderful place to do it. We were told that somewhere near the top is a ranch owned by Ralph Lauren. If I had any doubts about Ralph's taste, that took care of them.
Eventually I had to get back on my bike and ride. I had ridden to the summit before, but everything on the other side would be new to me. I had heard riding into and out of Telluride were something to see.
The summit of Dallas Divide was a great place for an aid station, beautiful scenery, lots of folks having a wonderful time having finished that climb, and with with about 15 miles of downhill to look forward to before one last, tough climb into Telluride. The descent varied from in-the-drops flying downhill, and rolling along at speeds in the mid-20s without having to work too hard.The fun was over when we had to wait in traffic for a short section of one-lane road where we made a left turn onto CO145 heading southeast. It turned out well when, on this road which is sometimes narrow, with a narrow shoulder, the traffic we had to contend with came in spurts. In between there were some nice breaks where we had the road to ourselves for a bit.

 We rode through Placerville and Sawpit, and while the river on our right kept falling, we kept climbing. Our route map made it look like we would climb all the way to Telluride, level out and climb a little more before we were done. The scenery was amazing, but as afternoon approached the temperatures were doing some climbing too.
Where the main highway turned to go to Mountain Village and beyond, signs instructed us to get off the road and onto a bike path. It seemed like a good idea to get away from the traffic which was getting heavier as we entered Telluride. But the bike path was not in good shape. Cracks in the surface jarred you every few seconds. Thankfully it didn't last too long before we arrived at the middle school that we would call home for the next two nights.
 After finding A2 and getting cleaned up, we walked downtown and looked around. I ended up getting a snack from the supermarket across the street. An afternoon visiting under the canopy was followed by an evening where some folks rode the gondolas up to Mountain Village, some walked to the brewpub downtown. I had a craving and satisfied it by finding Caravan, a middle eastern cafe, and eating on the patio outside. A cool evening after the sun went down made for good sleeping weather, and no need for an alarm in the morning. :)

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