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Day #48

I’m in Telluride, CO. The MS guys have a scheduled rest day here. While they’re out riding mountain bikes down the bare, melted ski slopes, I’ve been working on creating a soft copy of my route to Berkeley/San Fransisco.

Yesterday we made up for all the downhills of the day before with a climb, downhill, climb. 5 miles into my downhill, it started raining. Unfortunately, the rain isn’t as satisfying in these altitudes as it used to be in the heat of the East. I was freezing and had to ride slowly due to limited vision & potential traction loss. After riding the freezing, yet would-be-terrific down hill for a half-hour, I met up with a bunch of the MS guys seeking shelter at a general store sans bathroom. We rung out our clothes, redressed, drank some *hot* coffee, and waited an hour or so before finishing off the last 19 miles of the grueling uphill.

The last 3 miles of that summit was too steep for me to pedal and maintain balance (which is a first for me in the Rockies), so I had to walk it up some narrow, fairly busy, windy, 2-lane road with no shoulder. A car stopped and the driver and her passenger offered me a ride to the summit. I got the impression that this couple were either (a) smoking crack or (b) had *way* too much coffee. Granted, it was a really sketchy place to be stopped, so they were rushing like crazy to get me in and over. The dude hopped out and helped me throw my bike on top of their 2 bikes in the truck bed. When I looked in the cab, I realized there wasn’t any room for me. The guy told me to take the passenger seat, he hopped in the back with the bikes–standing and holding onto the roof of the car. Before I could find my seatbelt, the chick shifted to first and accelerated full-force to ~50 mph around those narrow, curvy mountain roads. At one point, the girl shouted at the guy standing in the truck bed to ask if he was alright. She didn’t hear a response, but kept driving. I assured her I could see his legs still. We got to the summit, and before I could unbuckle, step out of the car, and shut the door, my bike was already out of the bed on the dirt. I thanked them, the guy hopped into the passenger seat, and they sped off.

That morning I happily stopped into a burger joint (The Shanty II in Montrose, CO) with a Friday & Saturday special: all-you-can-eat pancakes for $4. When I went to pay, the lady told me that I broke their record number of pancakes eaten–which surprised me because (a) the previous night I had 3,000 calories just for dinner (b) I had a couple bananas before eating breakfast and (c) I could have probably fit in another 3 pancakes, but I didn’t want to over-eat (I had to bike 60+ miles!). The cakes were no joke; they filled the plate (~8in in diameter). I had 8–apparently breaking the previous record of 5.

As always, I’m sure there’s plenty I’m leaving out, but it just occurred to me that the soft-copy of my route doesn’t tell me when I hit the desert. So, I’m off to improve my chance of survival by adding some footnotes!

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