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crystal river

crystal river

Ride The Rockies, Day 2 | Hotchkiss To Carbondale Via McClure Pass

2y ago
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Description

Early morning back roads near Paonia and I'm out early with a head wind runny nose. It's another day of wind, flowing like water down canyon as we climb up Hwy 133. Man, this is harder than it ought to be. Pedaling squares. Blame the wind. Blame anything but my lousy form. A herd of cattle, a real Colorado peleton, take to the highway, and they're surprisingly spry, willing to share the road with us, know exactly where they're going. Women on horseback, watching the herd, wave and smile, reminding me how far from home I am. Coal country near Somerset. Lonely train whistles in the night and tall black piles. A working town. Pickup for sale. A grind up to Paonia State Park, the wind abates and the scenery opens up to the range above. Up ahead there's trouble as the road tilts up. Play time is over. McClure pass is steep and unrelenting. The day has turned hot and the relatively tiny bump on the elevation profile doesn't jib with what confronts me. WTF, I'm dying here come mile 4, praying for an end. Finally, it relents. Salt stain patina on my jersey like a road map of the past 5 miles. Find shade before pushing on. Fast descent, staying loose and relaxed as Agent Orange's warnings fly by. Down into the canyon, down along the Crystal river, and I link up with a tandem with a limpet on its wheel. I happily sit in and we rock it all the way to down to town. A legit day is over, but the real challenge has not yet arrived.