“I thought the Rockies would be a little rockier than this!”
We woke up at 5:30 in Alamosa and immediately checked the weather. Scattered thunderstorms all day. Scary! Today is the day we met Wolf Creek Pass. 10,000ft elevation. Scary again!
Jacob changed two flat tires before we even started riding. Apparently CO has a lot of glass on roads. He also attempted to buy a coke from the soda machine and instead got sierra mist…there’s no caffeine in that! Uh oh. Not a great start.
We rode up the foothills for a few hours. So far the weather was cool and cloudy but pretty dry. We actually had a tailwind in the morning too. It made a huge difference.
We hadn’t seen any cool church signs in a while, but today there was a doozy: “Hang out with Jesus, he hung out for you!”
We passed a mailbox for the Montoya residence. “You killed my father, prepare to die!”
At about 2p we made it to the base of the mountain. Sign said “Wolf Creek summit 12 miles”. Yes we can!
This climb was amazing. It was long and some sections were 8% grade but there were no switchbacks or coal trucks like VA/KY mountains. The views were breathtaking and I felt strong.
We saw some crazy mountain climbing prairie dogs and marmots, aspen trees and columbine plants.
A truck passed us and gave us a “nice honk” and some cheers.
My chain decided to fall off on a steep part of the climb and I fell into the road. Jacob ran behind me to stop traffic and I got up unharmed. “If it happens again, I’ll take the time to fix it”, Jacob said.
We went thru a short tunnel (a little nerve wracking) and an avalanche snowbridge.
About two miles from the top we saw two dudes (Wes and Tommy) riding mountain bikes in the opposite direction coming down the mountain. They stopped us and we chatted. They were in the nice honking truck from before and wanted to hear all about our tour. They are planning a bike trip from San Diego to Brazil and Ecuador. Wow. Jacob told them to bring Playboys to bribe federalis. “Good tip, man.”
We were close to the summit and, as if on cue, it started to rain. Here we go. We said goodbye to the dudes and got back to work.”Let’s hit it”.
We made it to the summit and hung out for a few minutes under a small overhang shelter, waiting for the storm to go away. It didn’t, so we pressed on. The descent was very steep. The road was wet and my miniature hands had great difficulty breaking. I felt out of control. The road has “runaway truck ramps”. I needed a runaway bike ramp.
With about four miles left to go down, Jacob stops at a scenic overlook. I could not stop behind him. I’m not good at stopping when ice skating either…I do it by spinning around in 360s or running into things. I decided to use the “spinning method” this time so when we got to the overlook, when it flattened out a bit, I did a few circles to get the speed under control before I could completely stop. I was a little panicked but it worked. “Gaaaah, do I need new brakes, Jacob?!?” He said “No, but I do! My rear brake is gone!”
We took some pictures at the overlook, saw some chipmunks, and and got rolling again. We were both cold and a little shaky but at least there wasn’t a strong wind. That saved us. I figured out that I needed to switch my hand position on the handlebars in order to get maximum leverage for braking. Thank goodness it worked. Yay for physics.
At the bottom of the mountain, with about 11 miles to town, my rear tire popped, Jacob stopped abruptly in front of me and (while I was looking at my wheel) I ran right into him at a good clip and fell. Serious ouch.
After a tube change we rolled down hill to Pagosa Springs and we checked in to the First Inn. We celebrated our Wolf Creek conquest with a six pack of Mexican Logger Ska beer (Jacob’s absolute favorite microbrewery) in the room and dinner/pie at Kip’s Restaurant and Cantina. Cool spot with live music. Jacob was so excited to find Ska beer. Let’s hope he can movetomorrow. What an awesome day. Take that, Rockies!