We got up early again and got on the road quickly. This was going to be a big day. We would be climbing to over 11,000ft. By far our highest summit, and the last mountain we would face in the Rockies. Plus, this would bring us to Denver and a rest day at one of Doug’s of friend’s house. His family would also be meeting us there.
The early miles were fairly easy. Again we were surrounded by beautiful scenery. It was a chilly morning, but it was a great ride. We stopped for breakfast at the second town we came to.
After breakfast the trek to our final mountain in the Rockies began. A few miles up the road we were joined by Jr’s friend, Dan, who we would be staying with. He’d got a ride from a friend so that he could accompany us on the day’s ride.
We moved along steadily, drafting off of Dan, when we could. The miles melted away and the climb drew closer. We were slowly gaining altitude as we went, and it wasn’t long before the slope started to pick up. The early miles of the climb weren’t too bad. The slope was fairly gentle to begin. Eventually though it hit some switchbacks and grew much steeper. My spokes again started pinging from the stress, but held solid.
After a long steep climb the road finally started leveling some and I began to think the climb was about over. But every curve revealed the road continuing to gently rise. It seemed endless, and I covered several more miles steadily getting higher. I’d been climbing solo pretty much the whole way. Jr fell back early, and Dan kept riding ahead so he could get pictures of us as did the climb. I would pass him while he was taking the pics, and after he got pics of Jr, he would ride past me and repeat. Seeing him along the way helped with the mental part of the climb.
Finally I saw the sign I had been waiting for, the passing lane was ending, which meant I was finally at the top. I pulled over into the park’s parking lot at the summit and waited for Dan and Doug. It wasn’t long before they joined me. We got a few pics and began the descent.
We flew down the mountain, averaging over 40mph (anything faster and trailers got difficult to control). We coveted about 20 miles fast. By the time we reached the bottom only 35 miles remained on the day.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then began the last stretch of the day. To keep us off dangerous highways we hit some bike paths and a couple sections of dirt road. At one point we ran out of bike path and had to scramble over a steep, narrow dirt path which was unrideable with road bikes. There were also a few short, but steep climbs we had to get over. A couple hours later though we were done.
We ended the day in a parking lot where Dan’s car was, and Jr’s wife Krystal waited with a van. Everything was loaded up and we drive the rest of the way to Dan’s house. Riding to his house would have taken us will off our route and added quite a few miles. Plan was to take a rest day at his house, and then get dropped back of at the parking lot to resume our ride. This way there would be no gaps in the ride and we’d still ride the entire width of the country.
The rest if the day was doen’t cleaning gear, and enjoying family and friends.
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