Tour Divide: Day 14

Adventure by Bike, Adventure Cycling Association, Bikepacking, Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, Mountain Biking, Salsa Cycles, Tour Divide

Day 14:  Clark to Kremmling I slept in a bit to wait for the Clark Store to open.  Once they opened I went inside and got some coffee and was thinking about getting something else but didn’t really have an appetite quite yet.  I got a scone and something else to drink and went outside.  It was a mostly paved route into Steamboat and I figured I could get a big breakfast there.  I also had a package waiting at the post office with some much needed items and needed to make a pit stop at the bike shop.  I knew Sean had to stop there as well and was hoping I’d meet up with him at some point today. I rode into town and started looking for the Orange Peel bike shop but couldn’t find it.  I think I actually rode right past it but found myself on main street where I was Sean’s bike parked in front of a little cafe.  I popped in and he was just finishing up a huge breakfast.  I sat down and told the server I would have the same thing he was having.  Eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast on one plate and 6 thick pieces of french toast on the other!  “And an extra side of bacon,” I added.  Sean said he was waiting for the bike shop to open and needed to hit the post office so after I woofed down my food we headed over to the bike shop.  We got there about 20 minutes after they opened and there were already a few TD folks in there with some tall orders.  This might take a while! While we waited, Sean and I borrowed some cruiser bikes and went to the post office to get our boxes.  I had a rear tire and a chain in my box I wanted to have put on so needed that before they could get started.

Back at the bike shop we were still waiting.  The guys at the shop were great but the line-up of TD bikes in shambles was killing me.  I guess I could have thrown the chain and tire on myself but I wanted everything to be setup perfect.  I was running a tubeless setup with Stans and wanted my shifting to be dialed in and that’s what the shop delivered.  It just took some time.
Sean and I hanging out at the Orange Peel Bike Shop.
We had some time to kill so went and got a huge burrito for lunch and I even hit up a Health Food Store.  I walked around not really knowing what to do.  I was accustomed to seeing candy bars, chips, cokes, danishes and some kind of frozen burrito or hot pocket and that was about it.  What was all this organic, leafy green delicious looking food?  I just stoop there and ended up getting a sandwich, a brownie and a Sky Blue soda.  Healthy enough, right?
Finally my bike was done so after checking out and getting all packed up I was off.  It was already like 2 in the afternoon or something but I was loaded and ready to go.  The ride out of town was a nice mix or bike path, roads, gravel trails and such.  We passed a nice reservoir where people were out tubing behind boats.  I was super jealous as the day was really heating up again!  I got back in the groove climbing up Lynx Pass.  I had already drank a ton of water so stopped at a small creek to refill and have a little break.  
Mmmm….organic Blue Sky Soda and my organic sandwich.  Was this stuff really any better than Coke and Hot Pockets?  Who knows…all that mattered was it was calories in my body.  I do know that I would have gone broke if I had only been stopping at Health Food Stores along the way. Good thing gas stations were more prevalent along the route.

I continued on up Lynx Pass and finally got a view of the valley below.

I crested Lynx Pass and started the descent down the other side.  There was some re-routes required through this section and it was a little confusing but between my new cues and the GPS track that was pretty accurate it wasn’t too hard to find my way.  There was a big creek crossing that when I came up to it looked super DEEP!  I noticed a little trail going up stream so checked it out and found a much better place to cross.  I still decided to take my shoes and socks off just to keep my feet dry.

Next up was endless roads with steep climbing and descending that went on and on.  It seemed like I was going to be dropping off the edge of the world but I kept having to climb back up over and over.  Finally the route description said “Steep Decent” so I finally started barreling down off the mountain! The another turn and it was back to climbing again.  Just for a little while but at this point I was ready to be at the bottom where I would cross over the Colorado River.

I made it to Radium and crossed over the Colorado River.  There was a rafting group that had just pulled off the river.  They all looked like they had just been on the greatest adventure ever and I’m sure that they had.  I would have loved to spend a day floating down a river!  So being I was at the Colorado River I figured there was only one thing to do next, climb back up.  So up I went up a steep and straight road.  It was super steep and didn’t let up.  I grinded it out and made it about to the top just as dusk was fading in.  I stopped to turn on my light and realized the mosquitoes were terrible so made quick work of it and continued on.  It was late and I was tired.  It didn’t seem like I had gone all that far today since I was held up at the bike shop for much of the day.  But by the time I got to Kremmling I had put in a solid 100 miles. It was close to 10 when I pulled into town so I figured if I saw a restaurant open I should stop right away before anything closed.  The first thing I saw was a Mexican restaurant so I pulled right in. I ordered a coke and a water and two burritos and instantly started pounding chips.  There was a group of guys at a big table in the middle of the restaurant drinking beers and reminiscing about their day out riding.  It turned out they had done a big road ride.  They were asking where I was riding from and what I was doing and when I told them they’re jaws hit the floor.  One guy offered to buy me a beer so I took him up on it and added it to my table full of beverages.  They were super nice and started asking me all sorts of questions.  It’s funny when you tell someone about the Tour Divide and they’ve never heard of the race.  You can see their brains going through the scenario and some people either get it or they don’t.  These guys got it.  I told them about trackleaders and watching the blue dots along the route.  They were headed to their hotel room and said they’d get right on and check it out. It was fun telling people about the Tour Divide and what I was doing along the route.  It always made me have a big sense of accomplishment.  But it was equally exciting hear about other peoples adventures no matter how big or small.  The important thing is to just be outside having fun!