Wednesday, August 15, 2012

crmbt-pagosa springs to creede

Sunday 8-7-12

Sleeping in the cool mountain air felt great. Getting out of my sleeping bag in same, not so much. But get out I did, to the sound of zippers all around me. Peter, the tour organizer, gave his first morning talk, and by 7:00am we were on our way. We climbed slowly for 16 miles to the first "aid station", then the real climbing started as we rode past the sign stating "Wolf Creek Pass Summit 8 Miles".
My first stop was at the scenic overlook a couple miles up which we had enjoyed so much coming down this side a few years ago.

After riding with Denise from Boulder for the first 10+ miles I had taken off to make some time before the ascent. I'm sure she passed me by while I was gasping for breath on the side of the road. But there were several other riders to suffer with on the way up. Many of us took advantage of photo ops, looking back at where we came, and admiring the road in front of us.

I ended up riding to the summit with Paul and Steve, "Team Pittsburgh", because of their strategy of stopping for every 500 feet of elevation gain. Brilliant! Then it was time to refill bottles, have a snack, and take pictures of the signs for the "Great Divide".

There has to be some kind of reward for riding your bike up a mountain, and riding your bike down a mountain is it. We enjoyed a nice descent down the pass, through a beautiful canyon (and a couple tunnels) and on into South Fork.

At South Fork we got off of US160 and onto CO149 heading northwest toward Creede. There was an aid station just out of town, and after a brief rest we had about 20 miles left to our first day. The first 10 were enjoyable, admiring the rugged landscape and enjoying a slow climb. The last 10 were kind of miserable. I stopped for a few more pictures, to drink, and mostly just to get off my saddle. It was also getting kind of warm.
Finally, mercifully, we rode into Creede. Theo had set up tents in backyards, front yards, and in front of the elementary school. I was just happy that mine was the first tent I saw, and it was under my very own pine tree. I enjoyed part of the afternoon with a book in the shade of my tree next to my tent.

I had a quick lunch at the hot dog stand downtown, and later walked to TommyKnockers brewpub with Paul, Steve, and Matt. We were able to catch a little of the Olympics while we enjoyed our dinner. I enjoyed my  brief stay in Creede so much more this time than when we were on our bikes for 12 hours as we climbed over "the pass that shall not be named" a few years back.

Finally, it was time to get organized and to bed early, because that pass was waiting for us in the morning. I had convinced myself that it would be "easier" from this side, and I hoped it was true. Otherwise, the second day of the tour stood a real chance of making me cry like a little girl.

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