Sargents to Del Norte:
Being that Sean and I didn’t push on the night before we were pretty motivated to get rolling the next morning. We were up before the sun and on our bikes at first light. We rode out in a dark canyon and it was freezing! I had all my clothes on and still couldn’t get warm. The pavement didn’t help much either as we were cruising right along. I was getting hungry but I didn’t want to stop until I found some sun.
At last right at the turn off of pavement and onto gravel there was sun! I stopped and ate some breakfast. Mostly junk food, a cold burrito and two candy bars. Apparently we were in Doyleville but there was nothing there but a couple beat up looking houses.
We pressed on down the gravel and eventually Chris Culos caught up to us per usual. He said Kevin wasn’t feeling well last night and was up most of the night. I guess it was from that burrito!
Eventually we made it up to Cochetopa Pass (10,067′).
And then back down. Onto a paved road for a little while and then back to gravel and climbing. The terrain was somewhat gradual and kicked up a little bit the closer I got to Carnero Pass. There was so pretty open fields leading up to the pass surrounded by green mountains. It was really heating up and I was plowing through my water.
Once I got over Carnero Pass Sean caught back up to me and we headed down. Once we hit the pavement it started raining and then pouring. We were so hot that it didn’t matter but still decided to put on our rain jackets. We made our way back out of the mountains and into the open flat land again. It looked like the desert and with signs that said places like La Garita, we knew we were getting close to New Mexico. We were tempted to go into town and get some food but I wasn’t really sure if anything would even be open. It didn’t look far on the map but in the end we decided to push on.
For some reason after looking at the map I just assumed it was going to be pretty easy going all the way into Del Norte. The elevation profile showed a small climb but it seemed like it was going to be easy. Looking in the direction we were heading also looked flat so we were good to go. I was beat down and ready to get to a town and get a big meal in me.
We started riding and shortly after made a turn towards some rough looking terrain. Where were we going? This didn’t seem right. At least it wasn’t at all what I had made it out to be like in my head. I’m generally good to go no matter what lies ahead. I always hope for the best but expect the worst. Even when I think I’m getting close to the end of something hard I always just keep telling myself that its probably another few miles or probably quite a bit more elevation to gain. No sense in letting yourself down over and over. But this time I let me guard down and I was not ready for this.
We climbed up and onto some double track that was sandy and then rocky and then more sand. Steep little climbs followed by short descents. It was like interval hills all over again. We climbed and climbed through the rocky terrain. The scenery around was beautiful but I was too tired to notice.
We got to what looked like the top so I pulled out my camera to take a few shots. It was then that I noticed how beautiful it was. Once we started down it actually started to get fun. The double track turned into a roller coaster of jumps and bermed corners. We climbed up a little more through two huge desert mountains and looked down to Del Norte below. It was still a ways away but it looked to be mostly down hill from here. The terrain was rough though and pretty washed out. It was pretty close to riding single track and got exciting a few times!
Eventually we made it back to the pavement and noticed on the GPS that we had to go a little in the wrong direction to get to town. I guess it was just how the roads went but it seemed like we were riding away from town.
Sean and I had met up with Peter and Chris on the descent so we got to catch up with them again on the ride into town.
We found the first place to eat that was open and went in and sat down. The menu was a little different than what I was used to. The place was your typical diner/cafe but nothing really seemed to sound that good. I got the usual coke, water and chocolate milk to drink and when she came to take orders everyone seemed to be getting some kind of “thanksgiving dinner special” they were having. I gave in and decided to give it a try. Well it was horrible. I don’t think anyone really liked it but we of course all ate it because we were starving! Chris Bennett popped in shortly after us and ordered the same thing. I mention this because form here on out Chris Bennett seems to pop up quite often along the route. He was sort of a lone ranger and seemed to push on longer into the night and get up earlier in the morning. He always said that he was just slower than us “young, fast kids.” But he always seemed to stay ahead of us or pop up at funny times. And he was generally in a big hurry at restaurants as well. I respect his way of racing though. He didn’t stop much and not for long. Just spent a lot of time in the saddle.
After we ate there was lots of talk of pushing on or getting a hotel. There wasn’t much for options in town for hotel rooms. Sean and I wanted to push on or at least not pay for lodging anymore. We had heard of a place up the road that we could stay. It was just someone’s cabin and their number was on the map. He is listed as Kevin and is at mile marker 165.6. In the meantime it started raining outside and it was looking pretty nasty.
We called Kevin anyways and figured we could ride up the 13 miles or so to the cabin and go from there. Kevin answered and said he was up at the cabin and for us to stop in no problem. He also mentioned he had a house just outside of town on the route and we could just stay there if we wanted. He was staying up at the cabin so his house was wide open. Told us to crash in his bed and everything, “just make yourselves at home.” We hung up the phone and thought it was a little strange but figured what the heck. Sounded good. Nobody else wanted to come with us even after hearing it was free. So we got on our bikes and hit the road.
Pretty much right as we got out of town the clouds started to break. We were tempted to push on but I think we were both feeling beat down after what we had been through before reaching Del Norte. We came up on the house and rode up to the front door. To say this house was a little strange was an extreme understatement. That wouldn’t even begin to describe what we were about to walk into. We knocked and nobody came to the door, as Kevin had stated, he was up at the cabin.
We went inside to take a look around. This was the weirdest place I had ever seen. I was very artistic in many ways and clearly a lot of time went into the design and creation of this place. But there were a lot of things that were just creepy. At first we both just wanted to get the hell out of there but there was something intriguing about the place. We had to keep exploring. There were so many nooks and floors and staircases so we just kind of wandered around. The upstairs was definitely what made us think we needed to leave. The floor was covered with socks, I mean like 200 pairs of socks just lying on the floor almost as some sort of extreme “shag carpet.” There were wire fences and couches and it just all seemed like something I could never dream of thinking up. We went back downstairs.
Entering into the kitchen you had to walk under a giant upside down tree which on the opposite side had a large hole in it with a light. Was this supposed to have meaning? The stuff in this house definitely made you think that there was a lot of meaning behind all of it. Nothing was created for no reason. A lot of the trees in the house had humanlike qualities. In the center of the house was the bathroom and it was basically surround by boulders which made up the walls.
We explored around and then had to make a call. We were both a little creeped out and didn’t really know if we wanted to stay there or not. What if this guy comes home and he’s a wacko? What if one of his friends stops by? Who knows, it was just an erie place. In the end we decided that we probably were making some false assumptions and that the guy was probably super nice and just has a bit of a interesting taste in architecture and design. He was clearly an artist. His name and number was on the map so he must have other people who stop.
So we decided to stay. The next questions was where the hell was I going to sleep that didn’t freak me out?
I found a nice little spot on the floor with some nice big windows and some really cool log work so decided that’s where I’d sleep for the night.