With 285 behind me it was time to head to the next camp site. Despite the issue with the chain, I was only 6 miles from my scheduled itenary. On the way I passed by some really interesting tee-pees.
Just as I was contemplating taking refuse in one of the tee-pees, the trees opened up and I was greeted with a view of South Park
I reached mile 3.1 of segment 5…and I was done. The next 3 miles would have to be tacked on to tomorrow.
This section I have been dreading ever since I started planning the trip. Bike Packers have 2 options when finishing segment 3. Either a 70 mile detour through mostly fire roads, or 30 miles through Bailey and up US-285.
The traffic is very heavy and in some spots there is virtually no shoulder. Plus the climb is huge. Bailey sits 7700ft and the top of the pass is at 10,000ft.
It was a happy moment when I saw the sign confirming the achievment.
Stopped at the Cut Throat Cafe…locals asked about my experience…next thing I know the entire clientele is rallying and flagging down anyone with a chain tool. Dude with a downhill bike happened to be cruising by, he comes into the cafe and looks at me…”are you the one who needs rescuing?” Three of us get the bike back to working order. The tool owner says “I would feel more comfortable if you just took the tool with you..” I gave him $40 for it.
I Love Colorado
I was not sure what to expect and figured 3 hours. Turns out there where 4-6 miles of screaming downhill. Hee Haww…don’t need no stink’n chain!
(The last mile is paved…Bailey can be seen about 1/2 mile away)
The thunderstorms have passed and at least for now it looks like it will be a clear night. I’m surrounded by mountains, but they are practically invisible because of how dense the forest is.
Segment 2 was totally new to me. After waking up in the perfect camp space I ate breakfast and packed up. I felt I was about a liter short on water so I didn’t bother with coffee. There was no opportunity for water for the next 10 miles so I wanted to conserve what I had.
Segment 2 on a hot day would be brutal. There is very little cover.
But the biking is excellent…especially the last third
Storms were moving in as I was finishing but they stayed to the north and missed me. The morning was riden in isolation, but ran across a number of riders and hikers around noon time. This included two 60+ year olds. This trip has surprised me with number of older riders. It’s great to see.
The first 2/3 of segment 3 were very familiar to me. This is a section that I rode often back when I lived in Colorado. Every thing past Buffalo Creek (which reaks of fish) was new to me. As I started my climb away from Buffalo Creek my chain started to “suck”. After fixing it several times it finally got totally stuck.
One of the links of the chain opened up and jammed. I was finally able to pry it apart, but the chain was now broken. I took it off and used my bike as a scooter for the final 4 miles.
When I reached the end of segment 3 the clouds opened up and it began to lightening. I hiked my bike back to the last campsite (1/8 mile) and set my tent up in the rain. As it turns out my rain fly leaks. So not the best way to end the day…but I’m too tired to push the bike to Bailey tonight…so the 9 mile hike will have to wait till morning.
From there I’ll have to taxi into Evergreen (or where ever the closest bike shop is) unless I can convince someone to bring me some supplies….
Just past the start of segment 2 I came across the tailings of a quarts quary. A couple of trees ringed a small flat mound and seemed it would do.
This was the first bit of “total isolation” I experienced on the trail. The first 6 miles of Waterton Canyon was packed with families. Once on single track I was passing hikers and bikers who were finishing their day trips. Even as I neared section 2 I passed a couple of bikers who were finishing up the Colorado Trail Race. Of course at the section 2 trail head I encountered more people.
But this spot was isolated, except for the occasional airplane flying high overhead. And was every bit of Colorado that you can imagine.