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Day 28: The Colorado Trail Finale

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

I got to wake up late and enjoyed a couple bowls of cereal provided by Jenny and Stan. Wheaties are the breakfast of champions. I didn’t feel like much of a champion, having bailed on the last thirty miles of the Colorado Trail, but Jenny and Stan not only offered to drive me back up to where I got picked up hitchhiking, but also allowed me to stay another night with them! I was elated since otherwise I was planning on biking back up 60 miles to where I got picked up and complete the trail that way.

Jenny and Stan are also avid cyclists and were preparing for a trip of their own in just a few days, so it was very generous of them to allow me to take up their time the way I did. Stan even rescheduled some physical therapy in order to fit in the trip back up to the Colorado Trail.

On the way, having heard that Lorene worked at a bakery, we stopped there and I got to not only see her, but Ron again! I had another delicious cinnamon roll and a filled croissant. After saying a final thank you and goodbye, we drove further up the highway and I was dropped off right where I was picked up the previous day. Yesterday, where I had come out on the highway was a trailhead and a bathroom. When I had rolled through the previous day, I had found about 10 hikers all crammed into the small bathroom hiding from the rain. From overhearing their talk, they had been there for a couple hours when I had come by. Where I was on the trail when the rain started, there were no bathrooms to shelter in or I would have done the same…

But today you wouldn’t have guessed the previous day was so cold as the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky. The only remnants of yesterday's downpour were the trenches that formed in some parts of the trail and occasionally some mud. However, the dirt is really mostly sand, so almost everything was perfectly ridable just the day after the liquid barrage.

What made it even better for me was that I could leave my bags and gear behind at Stan and Jenny’s, so my bike was light and nimble. Too light and nimble as I proceeded to go too fast, fail to make a turn, and crash almost straight away. Luckily, the sand caught me as opposed to the rocks I hit. I made a point of limiting my speed going forward…

That‘s one benefit of the bags. You’re really heavy and you tend to stick in the sand as opposed to being more floaty without them and more prone to sliding out. But for the rest of the day, I took it a little slower and had a blast. There were some remains of old mining equipment and roads, but the earth had taken most things back and it was hard to see how they got all that equipment out there since all that’s left now is the one to two foot wide single track trail I was riding on.

Since I only had around 25 miles of the trail to ride today, I took my time and I did a lot of video to make up for the previous day where the rain prevented me. However, looking at my photos, I clearly prioritized the videos because I have so few photos from the day.

I had heard that there would be some gnarly sections of trail on this section and near the end of the 25 miles, I found them. The trail would change from sand to rock and drop around 20 feet rapidly. I attempted a few of these drops and tipped over twice on them. This time I fell on rock and not sand, but I was going slow enough that I wasn’t hurt in any way.

Once past the rocks, I would drop down into the flat end of the Colorado Trail through a canyon. There, Jenny and Stan said I was likely to find some big horned sheep, and sure enough, I found them!

I made it off the trail and finally concluded my time on the Colorado Trail. From the beginning of the planning stage, I had been anticipating the trail and it lived up to all my expectations! A huge thank you to Lorene, Ron, Jenny, and Stan for allowing me to successfully complete the trail!

Jenny and Stan live near the trailhead, so I rode back to their house and we enjoyed dinner on their deck. However, looking at the forecast, it seemed the rain would be back tomorrow… My plan was to now ride right back up into the Rockies to Idaho Springs, where I would be climbing the highest road in the USA (Mt Evans) before heading to Winter Park for the mountain biking national races. Tomorrow’s ride would be a pretty long one and having just experienced the worst of the Colorado rain, I wasn’t too keen on riding through it all day again…

Jenny and Stan, the heroes they are, offered to drive me up to Idaho Springs tomorrow due to the rain. I had a small mental hang up on the fact that I really want all progress on my trip to be done under my own power, however, since this drive would be taking me back west and having just nearly frozen to death, I accepted the drive pretty quick. Tomorrow, I would get a rest day in preparation for one of the most physically challenging days of my trip!

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Byron May
Byron May
Jul 18, 2021

Good to hear from you again Pete! We think of you often. Glad the adventure is still going well!

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