04 Aug COLORADO TRAIL RACE PART 2 LONG ROAD TO BUENA VISTA
COLORADO TRAIL RACE PART 2 LONG ROAD TO BUENA VISTA
AUG 4 2013
The second day was a very long day! Still seeing a lot of other riders along the way. My goal was to reach Buena Vista that night – but it was really starting to hurt. I was getting close to where I had to quit last year and I know there is just nothing around for miles. I knew there was a long section of road coming up when you come down out of the trees. There was a lot of talk amongst the riders of what they call Trail Magic – a shelter or cooler stocked with food and drink. After sun was up at about 9am this morning I had taken a power nap which had really worked for me – i had felt a hundred times better afterwards. During the day I had been worried about not having enough food and running our of water too often – I had been drinking as I went along and would then search for water when i got low. I soon learned it was better to continually top up my water bottle whenever i got a chance. I travelled with a group of three guys including Max and Alex for a while which was good – especially for the long road section which was pretty miserable. It was over a peak – the good thing was we were able to clock up some miles. Usually when you are at the top and having to hike you are lucky to average 3-4 mph – on this road we were able to do 6-8 mph.
And so it was the four of us who pulled up to this tent together – it was very cool. There were drinks and crisps and cookies, somewhere to shelter even a book about the trail which we flicked through as we rested! They they all got up ready to leave. But i thought to myself that since I wasn’t going to make it to Buena Vista now until tomorrow another nap might be more beneficial. Anyway they left and I went into the tent to get some sleep – even though it was only about 7 pm. As I climbed in I discovered another box full of provisions, tea, coffee and a cooker. I made myself some noodles and then slept through from 7 – 11 pm. When I woke I made myself some more noodles. I really have to donate to this guy’s charity – his trail magic absolutely saved me – I felt as though i had eaten a proper meal for the first time since the burger in Silverton. So at about 11 pm I headed out to make my way to Buena Vista. I expected to recognise the trail from now on – I thought the area where i had quit was very close. Though it turned out to be about another 15/20 miles on/off route! My Garmins are both pretty low in power now. One has the trail map and the other I use to record data. Every now and then I take the wrong turn which is a real pain. I have a charger for it which works off two AA batteries – usually this works great – but I have noticed that after plugging i tin for a while the charge actually seems to decrease from a quarter to an eighth charged – rather confusing.
Anyway I carry on riding – on into the next day. Hiking at the top I know there is a downhill coming up and at the bottom towards the right there is an RV park. I am nearly out of food, out of water and struggling in the woods. A guy I had passed earlier in the day suddenly powers past me – I am completely shot! I had thought I had plenty of food but have really had to ration it. So I am finally ready for the downhill – and I get a flat tyre. I have tubeless tyres that are meant to seal themselves – but every time I pump it up I see the slime oozing out – it just wouldn’t seal. Spent ages messing around with it when i should have changed the tyre straight away. But I wanted to make it to the RV park, get some food and then change it properly. In the end I had to pull over and sort it out!
Eventually I reached the RV park – strange little place. The lady there had a few microwave pasta meals so I had a couple of those. She didn’t really have any supplies I could take with me though which was a pain. So I bought what she had – some apples and cookies – that was about it – there was still a long way to go to BV so i was a little worried. But i did have plenty of drinks at least!
So I headed out. From there you had to climb back up the road – I don’t know quite what happened – think I was just in the zone climbing up this road – and assumed I had to go further. Of course my Garmin is off because I am trying to save the battery – so eventually I stop and turn it on and realise I have gone twice as far as I need to up this road. So I went back down and turned on to the trail just in time to find some more trail magic – thank goodness. Grabbed some cookies for later and carried on.
There was a good climb out of there – rolling climbs now. So the next stop I know is Princeton Hot Springs – the store there will of course be closed but it is a resort so hopefully there will be a restaurant and maybe even a room.. I am riding/struggling/riding/struggling/exhausted – sitting here now and looking back I really don’t know how I made it – I was so tired at the time. The ups were killing me – I was having to walk a lot. I made a decision to try to ride as much as possible. But it was killing me. I just didn’t practice enough on my mountain bike. Coming to a rock and having to put in that extra energy to get over it was hurting. I am very strong sitting on a road bike and pedalling for 20 hours but on a mountain bike it is very different – so now I am in pain. Thats just how these rides go!
So I finally arrive just before dark – there are a few really nice people there. everyone keeps telling me how well I am doing – its funny – there is me really struggling but being told I am doing well. Its a shame as I could be doing so much better. But never mind. So I drop down into Princeton springs and have a proper hot meal in the restaurant there – awesome! Tried to charge my Garmin again – the guy there plugged it in for me but by the time I had finished my meal the charge was only showing about one eighth again – definitely something wrong with it. It was fairly late now and dark, but looking at the next section it seemed to be a fairly good road climb to a dirt climb, and then a long down towards BV. So I figure I should be able to make it. So I am feeling really good on the climb up and bump into a friend Justin whom I know from the bike shop in Denver and who has also ridden the Tour Divide – we chat for a while and then go on our way – he is travelling the opposite direction. So I continued, finished the climb and then the long downhill – and finally made it to BV pretty well. Stopped there, found a hotel room, lay down and fell asleep!!