Salida is a neat old played out resource extraction economy town. All 2 story buildings. What a boom town this must have been. Slept @ turn out on old Monarch pass road 2 nights ago. Bit of rain that saturated the road to make it slippery & clingy to the tires. Don’t drive in the wet.
Made Salida. Did my wash. Grace called, we met @ Absolute Bike shop. She went off for a road ride and I hung around. I asked Absolute if I could buy a partial fit kit. I was told that in order for a fit to be justified I would be measured and calibrated which is in the full kit price of $275. Nix that idea. Guy dissed my Fizek saddle and maybe so but he lost points big time.
Made Ted’s house for evening after fixing 2 dinners in my van hunkered out of a downpour. bachelor Ted keeps an orderly house. Another shower.
Today Grace’s group of friends are meeting @ 8:30 @ rt 285 & 50 for Monarch Crest ride. We meet them, there are 9 riders, quite a diverse group. An 11 yo boy,a college soph going on his 4th mtn bike ride on a hard tail w/ rim brakes. I am wondering how this will play out.
Finally underway the usual pent up energy spurred the others on. I just marshalled my resources because that is all I can do. Weather forecast called for high probability of heavy rain, perhaps normal for this time of year. We needed to be off the crest b4 1:00. Rain hit us, gentle @ first then mixed in hail and the temp dropped. Everybody had rain jackets but we were still in shorts and short fingered gloves. It got nasty. We hunkered under the firs during a particularly heavey pour but we were all getting chilled & first symptoms of hypothermia were setting in. No choice but to pedal out counting on muscle activity heat. 2 guys passed us in short sleeve shirts, they were in for a tough go, we never saw them again. 14 miles above 10,000′ in the rain and heavy run of we made Spring creek drop in off the crest. Disc brakes are way better than the poor guy’s rim brakes but h2o still weakens discs until the friction dries the rotor. They do work and do eventually stop. As we dropped the rain abated and it got warmer. I stopped for a rider ahead then started again in a loose rock section and grabbed too much front brake and met mother earth hard. Small gash that was covered by patina of mud on my legs. We made the junction w/ the road and Rainbow trail. We had a choice: ride Rainbow for 9 miles in lessening conditions then the hwy back to cars, or just drop down on the road and ride the hwy back. The Rainbow would have warmed us up. Group decision was to take the road out. Downhill w/ speed and no muscle heat. I was affected by cold & wet. On hwy hit 35mph. My bike and me were shimming perhaps because of deep cold. We made it all back wet but warmer and smiling in our accomplishment under full conditions. The 11 yo was stellar. Such a testing experience at such a young age and he made it.
I drove back to Ted’s as I was hoping for a hot shower and h2o to clean off my bike. Score. Ted was home. My bike has received more abuse on this odyssey than I ever subjected a bike to. Brake pads & drive train parts get toasted.
Tomorrow I have a ride date w/ Bill form Tomechi cycles for Hartman rocks outside Gunnison. Monday Susan, his wife, and 2 friends will be riding Canyon creek back towards Monarch pass. I have 2 rides w/ locals lined up. Canyon is a spectacular ride topping out @ 12,500. Going to be special.