I did it. I crossed the Continental Divide! 11,312 feet elevation. What an unbelievable feeling! I’m now down to 1 more mini mountain to climb before I’m done with the Rockies! Then it’s on to the flat cornfields of Kansas.
It was a 43-mile climb, but 33 of it was a steady 1-3% grade. It was the last 10 miles of 6-8% grade with a plunging drop-off and little shoulder with increasingly high altitude that presented a new challenge for me. I hydrated regularly (thanks to Barber Bob’s warning!), praised my granny gears repeatedly, cylced (slowly) 10 miles at a time, waved to cars that diligently scooted around me, and soaked in the gorgeous, soaring mountains and sunshine simultaneously.
Today, I continued the ride down the mountain for 30 miles and then rode 35 miles up the side of our last mountain pass in the Rockies. Another stunningly beaufiful day in Colorado.
I stood at the Continental Divide sign 30 years ago when my parents drove us to Colorado for a summer vacation. I was wearing a red and white striped shirt with blue jeans and posing ridiculously for the camera. The sign hasn’t changed and I’m not sure I have either. But I did ride my bike here…
(Significance: Continental Divide, also called the Great Divide, is a natural boundary line separating waters that flow into the Atlantic Ocean from those that flow into the Pacific Ocean.)
On my way down the mountain, I rode off route because of road construction on Rt 50. Feeling a little lost, I stopped in a town (more like a block) called Maysville. Had I blinked I would have missed it. I met Mike who was outside working in his lawn. Mike has been like the Mayor of Maysville for 41 years, 25 of which he ran the ski shop across the street. I asked Mike what he loved about his job and he said, “Skiing and helping people to share in my love of skiing. And summers off to spend with his family.” Must have worked its magic because his daughter and son-in-law live across the street, making up the rest of the population of this “town.”
We had been craving Thai food for days when we saw the sign for “Authentic Thai Food.” And authentic it was! The owner’s sister had just flown in from Thailand that afternoon and was in the back cooking our dinner! Nopie (the adorable woman in the picture) opened this restaurant 12 years ago. What she loves about her job is nourishing people with healthy foods. I got the sense from her energy and stories that she also loves that she created her own success without any education, training, or know-how. Just sheer gumption, passion, and moxie! I asked her how she influences the success of the people who work for her and she said, “By modeling kindness.” How refreshing!
- Sign in Howard CO: “Home of 1201 Nice People and a Few Soreheads”
- Sign in Westcliffe CO: “This Ain’t the Damned Lake Road. Stay Out” (a few soreheads evidently found their way to Westcliffe…)
- Sign: “Point of Interest 1/2 mile” (CO is the only state that gets me ready to identify interesting sights ahead with these signs!)
- Sign on building: “Cowboy Church” (with a bull riding machine next to it)
- The hundreds of little bugs smashed against my sunblock-covered arms and legs on the way up the mountain (I was a human windshield for a few miles)
- 8 deer on the side of the road alive (I quickly cycled away before I had to count them as road kill)
Day 25 miles: 60.50 miles
Day 26 miles: 64.98 miles
Total mileage: 1,660.60 miles
Day 25 ascent: 4,768 ft
Day 26 ascent: 2543 ft
Total interviews: 43
Road kill count: 182 (another snake and a mountain lion!)
Destination for Day 27: Pueblo, CO