For Part 1 preview go here.
For Part 2 Days 1 and 2 go here.
For Part 4 go here.
Day 3 Bonus..... Route navigation! I thought I'd take a moment to talk about the signs you use to follow the trail, when its marked....
Most of the time the trail is marked at an intersection with a sign like the following on a tree or sign 20m or so down the fork of the trail that you are supposed to take. So it is key to watch for intersections and then search for the marker, especially at night. They are easy to miss in the dark.
Much of the time two or more trails were on the same route you would get a marker like this,
Even better you might get a sign like this that can't have the marker torn off. Many of them seem to have gone missing off the tree or post. It seems that the higher in the tree a marker may be the more likely it will still be there. Much of the trail past Molas pass later on was "marked" by posts like this one with out any mark on it at all.
Markers like this one were prevalent at copper mt.
Many of the markers were on the flexible posts like this. Many times the sticker was missing or the post was broken in half.
The best was an actual sign.
And much of the time the trail was marked by large piles of rocks or cairns in the high country...... So there ya go.
My Day 3. I was out the hotel door and riding up towards Cottonwood pass by 4am. I reached the Colorado Trail and hit it in the dark. The trail after this had me a bit worried. You have to cover a lot of very remote and rough trail with out any towns until Silverton, which isn't very big. And then I noticed that I was having a hard time riding through a rocky section. Sure enough low blood sugar. I have a Dexcom 7 continous glucose meter but didn't bring it as I didn't think the batteries would last and sometimes it just doesn't work well. So I had a glucose meter in my pack. The time to check wasn't too bad unless I did it a lot. (foreshadowing hint hint). Hmm I sure hope I have enough food to get me to Silverton.....
|Some single track.|
And the route with the detour
The next section I had ridden at night in the opposite direction during the Vapor Trail race the year before. It had a gnarly climb and then some good single track. Getting closer to highway 50 that goes over monarch pass I passed some other CTR's at a raspberry patch so I stopped and ate some. There was several piles of bear scat in this area.... I passed them and after what seemed a long time finally arrived at the highway. It had rained just before I got there and I just got a little of it as I started riding up Fooses Creek. I met many hikers along here that had counted racers and put me in 6-8th place. They were all friendly.
|Common bridge. I wonder if I could ride this?|
|The flowers on the whole ride were crazy.|
|Picture doesn't capture the flowers.....|
|Having fun on the Crest|
|And the sun began to set.....|
It was dark. The coyotes howled--not yipping like the normal unpossessed variety. My huge front wheel darted back and forth through large white rocks trying to find passage like lovers' tongues. The darkness was pervasive. The large eyes of bovine in the middle of the trail shone unmoving until the light from my headlamp created shadows that spooked them off. The partial moon dropped behind the ridge. And the rocks and roots continued....... unrelenting. I ran into Jerry later and he saw a mountain lion in the middle of the trail here.....
|Representative sample of the next 25 miles.|
The day had gone OK....not quite as far as I'd liked with the mechanical but.. Vital stats: about 92 miles and 13,700' with ride back to BV. Tomorrow would be another day.