After we had breakfast and Tom made himself a sausage sammie to go from the breakfast bar we headed out of Steamboat. The route immediately took us to bicycle Nirvana. Gorgeous bike routes! The first half hour we must have seen close to 40 cyclists. The local bike club even arranges porta potties so cyclists can take bio breaks.
Soon we were off pavement and on a sweet dirt road that followed a stream populated with Saturday morning fly fishermen.
An easy path that led to single track took us around Stagecoach Reservoir, the dam and a picturesque mountain home community around the water.
Then the climbing began. Again. Nothing new here. All good. It was a subtle but longish grade. On the way up the first assent I told Tom we should give ourselves credit since it’s pretty hard to train for all this elevation living in flat Indianapolis. Tom answered, “True but why are you talking while we’re punching pedals up the hill?” 😂
Less than a week before, Lynx Pass was closed because of forest fires. Grateful the fires had been extinguished we continued up the pass and saw so much community support for the fire fighters. Very cool!
After 30 miles we stopped for a quick roadside snack and noticed the clouds moving in. We were still about six miles from the top of Lynx Pass.
Shortly after, not only did we begin seeing evidence of the burn, both vegetation and some structures, the cold rain began. And. It. Did. Not. End.
Up, up and up we went. There was no shelter and the steady rain kept coming. We put on rain jackets shortly after it began and the constant grind of climbing kept our body temps warm but we wondered when the rain would quit following us.
Another concern was our cranks. We both have Salsa Cutthroats and they have been performing well but both of us were beginning to feel and hear grinding as we pedaled hard up the pass. The muck and sand seemed like it was seeping in with all the rain. Hummm what to do if it doesn’t go away. The grinding sounded destructive.
After hitting the top of Lynx Pass we found shelter under the eave of a pit toilet building and put on a warmth layer and rain gloves. We wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible since we could see more nasty clouds moving in.
The route said that the Watershed Divide would be impassable if wet so we had to detour to the pavement. That meant another pass… in the rain.
By the time we reached the top of Gore Pass, it was raining even harder and the wind had picked up. Without shelter, we knew we had to keep moving or get colder so we had a quick snack at the top to ensure we didn’t bonk. I had my sites set on the bar-b-q Vienna sausages I’d been carrying around in my fork bag since Rawlins but we opted for the quicker choice of Cliff bars. And I popped a couple of the Goetz’s chewies in my mouth. Then we began our descent.
That’s when Tom noticed his brakes weren’t working properly. Seriously? He was Fred Flinstoning it dragging his left foot on pavement trying to stop his bike while descending Gore Pass in pouring down rain and relentless wind. We quickly pulled off the road and he adjusted his brakes. Not sure how he did it with such cold fingers but in less than 10 minutes we were back on bikes coasting down ginormous descents. In the rain, only this time we weren’t peddling, just coasting wicked fast and we were so cold!
We were off route, had no cell service but we had our Adventure Cycling map and found our work around to Highway 40 which was another adventure in itself. Apparently rock slides on I-70 shut it down so traffic was routed through Kremmling, our destination for the day, via Route 40.
We just rode our gravel bikes off the side of the road when we saw traffic approaching from the rear. Those little helmet mirrors are life savers.
We rode a couple more miles than expected, and opted for a budget hotel room for the evening to dry out but at least now we know why Colorado is so green. It rains!
Tomorrow it’s Ute Pass. And there’s no rain in the forecast. Plus Tom still has his sausage sammie to look forward to!
Click on the image below to view the video.