Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 50 & 51: Saved By the People

Denver, CO to Nederland, CO to Tabernash, CO  

2 Day Mileage: 54.3 + 39.2 = 93.5  
Total Mileage: 3,012.7   
Day 50 Average Speed: 9.5 MPH
Day 50 Elevation Gain: 5,648 ft
Day 51 Average Speed: 11.4 MPH  
Day 51 Elevation Gain: 3,392 ft

  MSquared Velo Snapchat Day (off) 49
  MSquared Velo Snapchat Day 50
  MSquared Velo Snapchat Day 51  

 Yes, yes, yes.  I do love Denver. There is plenty to do in the city and it's not over crowded, thus cycling is breeze. To top it off, there were two cops directing traffic while Adam and I rode around town. I slowed to a stop to obey their directive and the female officer turned when she noticed us and waved us on, then apologized, "sorry to make you stop."

Where Amber works
    Where in the world am in?! This is not one of those cop rants. This is a simple statement. Holy shit I didn't get a dirty look by a police officer while on my bicycle!!!  


  So I love the city, but it still is just another city. What makes Denver great is the ability to get out of the city and see some amazing stuff.

 Our host for Sunday night was Sean Ryan and he made sure we got that experience. We drove out to Estes Park and hiked to Ryan's favorite spot, Emerald Lake. Words and pictures won't do the scenery justice, but I'll let you look anyway.  



 


    We even saw a family of elk! They were super chill and had no problem letting us get close and take some great pictures.

Sean's pumped about the elk
 


  We made our way to the third lake of the path, Sean's cave.   



  Sean took a few swigs of whiskey, his shirt and shoes were off and he was jumping into Emerald Lake. A lake formed from the runoff of the melting glaciers. He gave a good whoop, but didn't make it sound too bad... My turn... With the GoPro rolling there was no turning back. I dove.


    I don't know where to begin to describe the feeling of diving into an ice cube. My heart wasn't in my throat, but somewhere at the bottom of the lake. My testicles is what were in my throat. I could hardly catch my breath due to that blockage and couldn't do more than doggy paddle to the rocky shore. (See the video of my dive on Instagram (@msquaredye), you can hear me squeal)

Don't let the smile fool you, I'm frozen
 


    Thank you Sean.

  Day 50

 So beings day 50 and a goodbye to Adam. After a great weekend with my best friend and the first person I am seeing from back home, it was hard to leave. Even hard to ride. I didn't realize how homesick seeing Adam would make me feel. Thus, making riding hard to get into.

 But continue I must one mile at a time. It was a lot of climbing but I was happy to know I had a Warm Showers host set up for tonight, Bill Anderson.




  Not so fast...

 Google Maps really did screw me this time. I brought me down a dirt road for a very long time... Maybe 6 miles. I was getting nervous but had faith. Once I reached the end of that road, all that was left was a hikers trail. Not a trail I could ride, not to mention the guy leaving the trail said it only gets worse. Like rock steps worse.

 The guy leaving happened to be Marty and just behind him, Jeff. They basically told me I am better off turning around. Marty offered to drive me back to the highway which was super generous. I could then make my way down the highway around this damn mountain. But I don't think I will be making it to my warm showers tonight, thus upsetting me further and setting me back.

 I threw Jasper in his pickup and we made our way back to highway 119. After a brief discussion about what I am doing and where I am from, etc., Marty asks if I would like to join them for dinner. I did not hesitate... Yes Marty, please! (I would later ask to pitch my tent in their yard, of course he said yes!)

 Marty and his family was just finishing up their annual family vacation at their cute cabin in Nederland, CO. With a few nieces already gone, I took their place!


    His whole family was so nice and happy to have me. Even with 9 people over, they included me in all their conversation and never left me feeling excluded. I even got a photo shoot with the local foxes!  

What does the fox say?

    Marty and Jeff saved me. Their generosity turned what would have been the first miserable day of this trip into another day of love and kindness. Sure, now I am a day behind, but Bill said I was still welcome tomorrow night so long as I could get there by 3 PM (no problem with an early rise), so I cannot complain.

  Day 51

 The tent was perfect. It was cool and I was cuddled in my sleeping bag. I snoozed the 5 AM alarm and woke up again at 5:45.

 I shared some yogurt and cereal with Marty, packed up Jasper and was... Oh shit, where is my helmet?

   Of course I left it in Marty's truck. His wife took the truck to Boulder so I had to wait. Now I am not sure I'll make it to Bill's by 3.

 Well, Marty made some sausage and trout (trout was amazing) for breakfast number two while we wait and told me, no problem he will throw Jasper in his cab and drive me wherever I need. 


    Let me confirm, I did not cheat across this beautiful state. First of all, I have gone out of my way back east to climb Mount Evans and ride into Denver. Second, where he was dropping me was just past Idaho Springs (where I stayed before climbing Evans) so I would be continuing back west on a route I have already ridden. Third, I hit 3,000 miles today so BACK OFF!

 So I took off from Downieville and said farewell to Marty. He wouldn't even accept gas money for driving me 45 minutes. Just a genuinely great guy.

 Today my 40 miles consisted of climbing Berthoud Pass and riding down it to Bill's in Tabernash. That is it. Up and over. Let's go!

 Well wait, I need a snack. I pulled over to take a picture of the Welcome to Empire sign and have some trail mix. Lucky me, Valentine was passing by with two lone back panniers (no tent or anything else).


  He pulled over immediately. We had the usual questions for each other: where, when, why, bike, etc. Turns out were both civil engineers.    


    The conversation wasn't going to end, so I jumped on Jasper and said, "Lets ride together!"   

Valentine, from Switzerland and I rode up Berthoud pass talking the whole time. Like he said, it's great to have someone to climb a mountain with because it distracts you from the pain and hunger you likely have. I was hurting and would have stopped at least twice, but Valentine kept a good pace and I stuck with him the whole way with no rest!  


    I loved speaking and riding with Valentine because he wasn't afraid to ask my age or even my income. Everyone is so sensitive about this,  but sharing this information allowed for some deeper conversation. Speaking of, Valentine is a damn good looking 50 year old. He attributes it all to cycling. Go cycling!

 So we made the climb together and I said bye to Valentine for his descent while I went to the bathroom.   


  "Goodbye my Polish friend!" He shouted as he rode away. I replied, "I'm American!" But he didn't hear me...

 The descent to Tabernash was epic. So gorgeous. Come on, Colorado, you can't help yourself!  


  I made it to Bill's at 1:30. Ahhhh nice short day.

 Bill made me feel right at home. As a former chef, he made a homemade salad (everything from his giant garden) and tacos with unbelievable salsa.

   I am super comfortable in a leather chair, enjoying a beer and watching the olympics with this view! Life is good.  

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