Range Roaming – Reflections on Colorado

Here is the Colorado summary I sent out in my email update to family and friends:

Since the last update I’ve ridden 1200 miles in Colorado, crested 12 CO passes, overtook one semi as I zoomed downhill at 40mph, and finally finished my tour (sniff, sniff). Colorado provided dramatic and breathtaking mountain scenery and challenging passes to climb, but it all felt so crowded after my beloved Wyoming. The shoulders are crap in many places in Colorado and the traffic moderate and sometimes heavy, so the riding was more stressful than in Wyoming. My favourite part of the Colorado ride was climbing passes and the immediate reward (summit and downhill) for all the effort. If only paid work could create such a sense of achievement! I rode a bunch of new passes this trip – highlights included the rough, but beautiful dirt road up Kebler Pass through the largest aspen grove in the world and the short, steep climbs interspersed with curves and river views on Cucharas Pass on my loop around the Sangre De Cristo Range. It was tremendous to feel so fit that I could climb all of the passes and not even feel the altitude!

I am also incredibly thankful to have spent time with two friends from my Colorado State days. Both of them amaze and inspire me, in different ways, and I’m so grateful to have them still in my life. Jen took time off work to do a 4-day ride with me that included four mountain passes (2 over 11,000 ft) and long-mileage days. We discovered a tasty brewery, screamed down Slumgullion Pass, visited a great bakery and built more memories and stories for the future.For the first time on the trip, I even had someone to draft! It’s always like old times the second we get together. My friend Wayne also made big efforts, and drove through big thunderstorms each time, to come hang out with me in Cheyenne, Laramie and Silverthorne. I love his enthusiasm for life! I will hold all those fantastic memories close to my heart until I can see them both again.

My last night on the road I camped at Twin Lakes, one of my favourite spots in Colorado. 14,000 foot peaks reflected on the water as I reflected on the best 4.5 months of my life. I played in the water with Verne and Kermit and listened to my favourite tunes on the iPod. How could it all be over? The next day it felt so strange to answer the inevitable “where you headed” question of strangers. It broke my heart each time to say: “this is it, my final day on the road. I’m dragging myself to Salida.” Once there, however, my ever-so-sweet Mom had gathered together some of her friends and they welcomed me into town ringing cowbells, waving balloons and holding up a big welcome poster detailing my ride. It was touching and a great celebration.

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