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Day 27: Rain and Hail

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

That night, while it rained, it never came down too hard. As another bonus, my food was undisturbed. Looks like the double barbed wire fences were enough of a bear deterrent.

The previous day I went as long as possible because the end was mostly downhill. I wanted to get lower in elevation in order to have a better chance of avoiding the worst of the morning cold. While I’m sure I was somewhat successful, it was still a very crisp morning.

Luckily, the riding was mostly flat with some climbing rather than just downhill, so I was actually able to warm up a little. I got a very early start since I had around 100 miles to go that day. The first 20~ were on paved roads and that went by fast. I was also able to poach some water from someone‘s gardening setup. There aren’t any stores nearby, so for the length of the Colorado Trail I was mostly surviving off of bars that had been kindly donated by my high school mountain biking team.

Once I was on the dirt road, the ride was less pleasant. Again, I’m faced with a lot of washboard and the weather was over 80 degrees at high altitude, so the sun was pretty brutal. On top of it all, I was riding through a previously burned area so there was almost no tree cover to provide shade.

There was also a lot of climbing on the dirt with limited water access and I began to run low. Then, for better or worse, what was previously an over 80 degree day suddenly changed, as seems typical of Colorado weather, and it started raining. I got to the top of one of the bigger climbs and only there did I have cell service. Since I didn’t see the rain making me want to camp any more than before, I reached out to a couple of Warmshowers hosts while I had internet and told them I would be coming off the trail today hell or high water. They were both near the trailhead I would be finishing at. I couldn't wait for a reply, so I pressed on out of cell service and hoped I would find some more later. Down the other side of climb I went and soon found myself riding alongside a beautiful lake!

The rain letup a bit at this point, but it was supposed to start again later in the afternoon, so I kept the pace high. Not long after I left the lake, I finally made it around the 85 mile wilderness detour. Instead of fire roads, I would return to single track riding.

I would push myself and my bike about as hard as I could trying to go as fast as possible due to wanting to finished ASAP and avoid the rain. But I wouldn’t get far before the rain returned by tenfold.

Where before I was being drizzled on, now the skies dumped on me. For the previous week, the storms had come and gone in 30 minute max increments. So it never really rained consistently for a long time. With this in mind, I did my best to stay dry under a tree and decided to wait it out. After about 15 minutes of waiting I was getting really cold. It was around 40 degrees and I was soaking wet. I decided I needed to keep moving to stay warm and ventured out into the rain.

I wish I had photos to show how bad the rain was, but being soaked and cold, my iPhone wouldn’t recognize my fingers as it is programmed to only register presses done by what it thinks are fingers. Being warm is one of thing things it takes into account as well as how wet something is I guess. But in any case, my ice cube fingers would not register on my phone at all.

As I rode, I would see hail covering the side of the trail, but not in the trail itself. This was probably due to the trail itself having become a river and washing away all the hail in my path. I am reminded that in Telluride, I asked the bike shop whether they thought I would need lube for my bike that would survive wet conditions, or, if dry lube would be enough. The mechanic said dry lube should be fine in June in Colorado…

Eventually, I was so cold and wet I was having issues shifting and breaking. I had been riding in the rain for over 2 hours. The trail crossed a highway, and I decided to call it there. I tried to look as pathetic as possible and put my thumb up for passing cars. After about 20 minutes of waiting, a car stopped for me. Man, was I lucky with the people who picked me up.

Ron and Lorene (I really hope I got her name right) were fantastic. After riding through the river of a trail I had been on for the last two hours, both my bike and I were covered in all the dirt the rain couldn‘t wash away, and yet Ron and Lorene helped both my bike and me into their immaculate SUV. Then, having heard that I’m a baked goods fanatic, Lorene detoured and brought us to the bakery she worked at. The bakery was closed for the day, but they would prep some baked goods for the early morning crowd and she brought me a freshly baked scone and cinnamon roll. Her and Ron both said that their cinnamon rolls were really good. I had nodded along knowing that I had had numerous “really good” cinnamon rolls on my trip and so far none had been anything particularly special. But the cinnamon rolls at The Bean n' Baker truly are something special. It was delicious.

In addition to all this, Ron and Lorene also bought me some food from Sonic, which I had never been able to experience before. I’m glad I get to cross that off my bucket list.

And then on top of that, where I was planning to ride on bike created a diameter of a circle. The circumference being made up of two highways. However, no roads went near the dirt trail itself. So that meant to get to the end of my trail, which was only 25 miles for me, it would take us over 60 miles to go around on the highway and reach the house of my host.

Luckily for me, both of the Warmshowers hosts I contacted on top of the mountain had responded to me. Once I had cell service again, I was able to find the closer of the two and I decided to stay with them. Ron and Lorene drove me all the way there, 40 miles past their home. So that meant another 40 something miles for them to get back after dropping me off. I couldn’t be more thankful to them because even after sitting in their heated car for over an hour, I was still shaking and shivering from head to toe. I’ve never really experienced prolonged cold like that before. It was only after the fact that I realized I may have been in worse condition than I thought I was at the time with how hard it was for me to warm up.

As we rolled into the area of my host‘s address, we passed into a gated community that had a ton of fascinating, unique, and obviously quite expensive, houses. Lorene, Ron, and I were all very impressed as we continued through the neighborhood. There were also great slabs of red rock jutting out of the ground like mini red flatirons.

I was dropped off and finally got to meet my hosts, Jenny and Stan. They had made some pizza since I was coming in that night. But before I ate, I really wanted to take a warm shower to raise my body temperature back to normal. Afterwards, I was very excited for the pizza. Jenny and Stan were great! Thank you so much for the literal warm reception! And thank you, Ron and Lorene, for getting me all the way there, and the delicious food, before I froze to death on the side of the highway.

At Stan and Jenny‘s, I had basically a whole floor to myself, and I was able to relax for the night after trying some of Stan’s homemade strawberry ice cream, which was delicious.

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3 commentaires

Hi Peter,

Just checking in today as Mike told me you were biking across the country and were already in Colorado!!! Color me impressed for sure. That is a lofty goal indeed. Keep your eyes on the prize and persevere to the finish in MA state. This will be an effort and accomplishment you can look back on with pride for your whole life.


Dave Chalfant

En réponse à

Thank you! I think it will be for sure!


Thank God for the "kindness of strangers"...!!!


Your adventures just get more and more amazing, Peter.

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