Colorado 2010 – Day 49

Buena Vista to Fairplay: Looking for Kenny

Wednesday June 23, 2010, 38 miles (61 km) – Total so far: 1,942 miles (3,125 km)

The ride today takes us over Trout Creek Pass, through South Park and into Fairplay on Hwy 385. Because I came this way the other day, I know we’ll have moderate traffic, good pavement and a small shoulder (the shoulder is bigger going downhill). It’s a continuous but gentle climb. Since we don’t have to climb a big pass, and we know we’ll have a shoulder all day today, we don’t plan to leave til 7:30 or 8:00. Jen had switched out her rear tire last night, since the one she was riding had absolutely no tread left, but we wake to find the tire flat. She tries various tubes but the tire gets a bulge every time she inflates it. She puts the tire on and off the rim several times but just can’t get it to work. Eventually, she just switches back to the old tire and everything is fine. So we get a bit later start, but it doesn’t matter today.

There’s a few steep sections out of Johnson’s Corner that I climb ahead of Jen on, but today I do wait on her to catch up. Nothing is numb or cold. Once those first somewhat steep sections are out of the way, I stay with Jen and she tucks in and drafts me up the rest of the pass. We make pretty good time – I really love the climbing, even if I’m not all that speedy!

Sorry about the thumb – Jen climbing the lower part of Trout Creek Pass, CO eastbound
Smooth pavement near the top of Trout Creek Pass, CO eastbound

We have a snack on top and then Jen goes flying down on ahead. I tell her not to wait on me. I slowly reel her in across the gentle, imperceptible uphill across South Park. It feels nice to be in good enough shape to keep up with Jen since she has always been so fit. The shoulder is huge along here and in pretty good shape, too. We have beautiful weather once again. We see a guy out for a day ride who seems to want us to stop, but we figure he can turn and catch us if he really wants to talk.

South Park, CO – no cartoon characters with circle-shaped heads anywhere to be seen.

Shortly after, Mom passes us by and stops up ahead. She’s been to Salida this morning and has a massive peanut butter cookie for us. It’s just about more than Jen can handle, and as we ride into Fairplay we talk about how it was just like the care packages our families used to send us in college. Her mom always sent home-dehydrated fruit and stuff from the health food stores, my family always sent cookies 🙂

Following Jen up Hwy 285 on the way to Fairplay.

We meet mom at a gas station in town and she is excited for me because they have cheap rootbeer floats. She buys one for me and somehow I stuff that in, too, after the massive cookie. We get checked into our motel and decide on a hike based on information we’ve picked up at the Forest Service office. Jen elects to stay behind to sort out some work stuff and have a break from Mom and me, so Mom and I head up to a short hike through some ancient limber pines. Mom does an excellent job driving on the gravel road to the hike (she’s really pushing her comfort zones on this trip) and we enjoy the beautiful afternoon. I love trees – their various forms and adaptations – so I’m loving our time amongst these trees that are several thousand years old. It blows my mind to think about all of the changes in weather and climate they have seen. Awesome trees! Jen and I get some hot tub time in at the motel, in the late afternoon, too. Aaahhh.

Mom with a limber pine over a thousand years old outside of Fairplay.

Ave speed:12.9 mph Max speed: 30.8 mph

Elevation start: 7965 ft. Elevation end: 9953 ft.

Trout Creek Pass: 9346 ft. Ave grade: 3.7% Max grade: 4.4%


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