Day 53 – Ridgeway to Telluride CO

My eyes were on the weather forecast early today because I’d heard we were expecting early storms today. Many thanks again to Glenn, Jeff, Jim, Tommy, Monika, Jesse and Adam for hosting me last night. Since I didn’t have a tent to dry out I was on the road pretty early – hoping to get over today’s pass before the rain fell.

Heading out through the tall trees in the Uncompahgre Valley.
Red rocky bluffs abound here.

In Colorado a day’s progress is no longer measured in miles – it’s all about passes. So far I can do a pass a day – any more I think would be too much climbing. And today was tough because it was more like a pass and a half. I hadn’t expected such a climb up to Telluride (though I should have I guess – it is a ski resort after all).

After leaving the cabin I made the quick run back down to Ridgeway where I got distracted by the local farmers market. I picked up a delicious pastry and loaf of bread to take with me on the road. That will be lunch, or a gift for a warmshowers host.

Our bakers; “Don’t get into an arm wrestle with a baker.”
How to decide?

Leaving Ridgeway I had about a 10 mile climb to the Dallas Divide. As I was checking my map I was passed by three women cyclists who offered help if I needed it. I didn’t and thanked them (I think or did I just say I’m good which is a poor substitute). The climb was the typical Colorado style one – easy grade but long so I settled in and just enjoyed the scenery. The climb had an awesome view of the Mt. Sneffels range, a good shoulder, and sun on my back so all was good with the world.

I’m outpaced

I couldn’t help but push myself to keep up with their group. Ask my buddy Will but whenever I have a rider “in reach” in front of me I can’t help but push to keep up, even if its foolishly done on a 70 lb bike. I stayed with them for a bit and we stopped and chatted for awhile. They even offered to host me if I didn’t find a place which was very kind. Again this luxury of the cross country cyclist – so many people have reached out to help me on my way.

They lost me near the summit and I stopped to take pictures. When I got back on the bike I found I was more tired than I thought. The good news was I literally had a 13 mile descent with no need for pedaling. That’s the big Colorado payoff.

Nearing the summit. Mt. Sneffels range again.
Almost 9000 ft again. Sunday over 10k again.

By the time I reached Placerville at the bottom of the hill, the storms were closing in and I was still 20 miles from the Telluride area, where I hoped to spend the night. I hunkered down at the store, had a veggie sandwich and fell promptly asleep as the rain came down. Megan and Jonah will tell you I can sleep anywhere after lunch and I had a lovely nap while the storm played out.

Storms brewing again. Getting used to the daily rains now and they won’t psych me out of camping much anymore.  The clouds here are just amazing. 
Interesting red rocky bluffs in the San Miguel valley.

It cleared enough to get back on the bike and I made another long slow climb up the valley toward Telluride. After the rain the. San Miguel River made this amazing transition, in a matter of minutes, from clear and green to deep muddy red, and then back to clear and green again. The showers must have dumped a lot of the local red dirt in the river and when it stopped, the river color returned just as suddenly. I’ve never seen a river do that so quickly before.

The rains turned the water to muddy red.
And a short time later, they’re clear again.

The climb up the valley was more tafficky than I like it but I just slowly ground my way up the valley until Telluride was in site.

New wildflowers. Might look better with a decorative manure spreader nearby. Those mountains close off the valley and are the backdrop that makes Telluride kind of a “dead end” road. But it’s anything but dead and I’ll get some more pics there tomorrow.

The wealth of the area starts to show a few miles from town and I was treated to the first bike path I’ve seen in ages – complete with underpass for bikes to cross under the main road as you enter town. It’s immediately clear too why the place is so famous – it’s cute as hell, lined from one end to the other with cool restaurants, bars, shops, breweries mostly done in old historic buildings, and with the mountains providing a beautiful backdrop to it all. I only stayed a little while because it was getting late, the horizon was looking stormy again and I still had no idea where I was sleeping tonight. Turns out Telluride has a city campground but on the Friday night it was full.

Then two of my requests for lodging answered at once and tonight I’m staying with the Kramers, Don and Eileen, and their family who are super hosts and have an amazing mountain lodge that they share with friends and cycling travelers. They’ve even welcomed me to take a rest day tomorrow and explore Telluride  – an opportunity I’m glad to have.

The two main areas nearby, Telluride and Mountain Village, are joined by a set of free gondolas. They just threw my bike on the back, bags and all for the ride up to Mountain Village. (I had to go back and crop that off my Strava miles).

Thanks Eileen the cyclist too for the offer of a place.  I’m so greatful and overcome with all the good will and welcome that I’ve received here already.

Oh dear, it looks like I hardly got anywhere today. Oh well, I enjoyed it.

5 thoughts on “Day 53 – Ridgeway to Telluride CO”

  1. What a day you had, it’s good to take a nap after lunch! You’re making friends wherever you go, lovely. I had to look up Strava miles, interesting.

  2. Thanks for great views of Colorado scenery. We had cool weather and 20 mph breeze at Bodega Bay. Crab sandwiches and clam chowder at Spud point. And a nice sheltered beach at Campbell’s Cove on the inside of Bodega Head for some sand and wading. It was our rest day from biking. Take one too.

  3. That ride must have been a lot more effort than most with all that climbing. You didn’t get far on the map but if you shared the vertical distance I bet this was one of your biggest successes.

    It is wonderful to hear how gracious cycle enthusiast hosts are. I envy that part of your trip.

    Enjoy Telluride and thanks for spending time with the Hanson/Rosenbloom/Friedman clan. We could stop talking about how well you fit in with everyone.

    Post on my friend. I love every drop. It is better than poetry.

  4. These mountain pictures are soothing. Here in Tucson I start sweating just standing outside or walking the dogs over to the park.

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