Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 14- Dillon to Salida: 114 miles.


I awoke early to try and make up some of the time I had lost by staying in Dillon. The bike path to Brekenridge was very easing going and filled with morning riders. The climb out of Brekenridge to Boreas Pass was surprisingly easy due to itfollowing an old constant grade rail bed (this time without the sand) and it being hardpacked.

I didn’t even stop in Como but should have to break up some of the most boring flat, dry and sandy riding through to Hartsel.

After stopping at a restaurant for burgers and beer in Hartsel (“He’s so hot right now”) I started out into what looked like becoming a storm. Guess what? It began to storm, the worst thing being that the lightning and its slow southerly direction meant I couldn’t ride through it (I wasn’t carrying a defibrillator) and I kept on catching up to it.

Ze Storm

The storm gradually moved away from the trail and I now moved through the rain on very muddy trails. I tried riding on the grassy sides, but wasn’t willing to wait for the clayey mud to dry. I began to slow as mud built up on my wheels and bike. Even getting off and pushing was difficult. I was determined to make it over Marshall Pass to the south of Salida by bedtime and so I continued on. At one stage the drivetrain jammed, sending the bottom rear derailleur pulley into to my spokes. After flipping the bike over, pulling the derailleur apart and removing some of the mud I was under away again. I didn’t get far, mud quickly jammed the drivetrain and without realizing it, I had sheared the rear derailleur off. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wouldn’t be making todays goal. Last night talking to Dad, I was told of a bike store in Salida where all the previous guys were stopping. The new goals for the afternoon were to find a ranch with a phone to call the guys at Absolute Bikes and find what time they were open to that night  and what time they opened in the morning. I cannot remember exactly where the drailleur broke, but talking later to the locals, they referred to the roads as undriveable when wet. They would avoid driving after the rains, and only then with a 4WD.

Derailleur caught in the spokes

 I had a chain tool, so I could have set the bike up as a singlespeed, or even a trispeed with three front chainrings, but I was hoping to find a phone quickly to get the call done. Of course, there were no houses for the next several miles. I walked the bike out of the worst of the mud and then freewheeled downhill and walked uphill for the next hour. Eventually, I found an occupied ranch and was able to get through to Anton at Absolute (Retro- doing this race again, I would learn how to pick doorlocks and hotwire cars. I came across several weekend houses with 4WD’s but wasn’t willing to break a window just to use a phone. If I knew how to pick a lock in this situation, I still wouldn’t have, but they would be lifesaving skills if I had broken something or was bleeding badly). I was suprisised when he said that he would be willing to come in to the shop if I got there before 11 that night. My spirits lifted, I walked the few steep miles over the Watershed and coasted down to Salida. Some people gave me directions to the shop and I got there just as they were closing up. I got in and stood around whilst Andrew and Anton worked on my bike, replacing and tuning a new rear derailleur, cables, cassette, truing my wheel, fixing the computers and checking everything else. Shaun Gillis, the owner took me across to a bar that served food and we drunk whilst chatting. I paid for everything (I never pay retail for bike gear, but in this case I was willing to pay whatever they wanted considering the service they gave me. Shaun gave me and all other racers a discount on parts as well. I am always happy to see a LBS know what they are doing). After an offer of a floor to sleep on from several people I got a lift to Antons place where there was a hot shower and bed. The generosity from people like Anton and his girlfriend and guys like Gary Montgomery caused the biggest disappointment of the whole race for me. I was disappointed not being able to stay longer and in no way able to repay the generosity.

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