Tuesday 1st September
We had an absolutely beautiful days ride today, the best so far as far as scenery goes. As soon as we left our camping spot we were greeted with a backdrop of mountains, and the easy gravel and dirt road took us through rolling fields covered with grass and trees, across expansive plains, and winding through valleys and up and round hills.
It was big and beautiful with some fantastic views, and with easy terrain and the ideal temperature you had the perfect recipe for a beautiful ride.
We came across a really cool old wooden church at one point, and I was left wondering who built it, who used to visit it and when it was last used. I’m not religious and I’m not in to churches, but this one had so much character, and I imagined it had an equal amount of history attached to it.
We stopped in the town of La Veta for some fuel and a snack, and after that it was fairly flat but equally as enjoyable. It wasn’t long before we were back in to the hills though, and the beautiful views and scenery continued until we eventually left the valley behind us, and followed a graded gravel road through the forest.
This may sounds like it would be a breeze to ride on but it was often a bit of a pain. I frequently found my rear tyre breaking traction round corners, and ended up sliding round most of them, even at the slowest of speeds.
It felt like I was riding on marbles with road slicks, which to be honest my off-road tyres were starting to resemble. Having ridden with them all the way from Philadelphia we were due for a new set, which we thankfully had waiting for us in the town of Salida.
Before we knew it we were deposited on the main road, which despite being paved was equally as beautiful. It was good to be able to pay more attention to the scenery, not having to worry about sliding out or hitting a rock. Ed needed to return a faulty bottle to REI, and wanting to buy a different water filter we decided to take a detour to Colorado Springs, around 60 miles away at the nearest point on the trail. This may seem like a long way just to change a bottle, but we also had other ideas. Colorado Springs is home to Pikes Peak, a mountain famed for its uphill racing, and we rather fancied riding up it. We’d already conquered Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, albeit slowly, and as Pikes Peak apparently starts where Mt. Washington finishes we quite fancied the challenge. We thought it would also be a good exercise to see how the bikes deal with altitude, as we know that we’ve got some mountain passes to tackle, and at 4302 metres (14,115 ft.) it was the perfect mountain for the job.