Travels with Schatzie: Day 27 – Into the Rabbit Hole

Continental Divide Rabbit Ears PassI started the day a little later than usual, since it has been so cold lately, and the early starts have been less than pleasant. I’ve found that the riding I have gotten in before nine the last few days has been difficult and strenuous, and I have had trouble regulating my temperature, constantly taking clothes off and putting them back on again. So, I slept in.

First of all I should say that Steamboat Springs is a fantastic town. Everyone was extremely friendly to me, the scenery is gorgeous, and almost everyone seems to own a bike. I have loved all of western Colorado, but Steamboat Springs is at the top of the list of great places to visit.

On my way back through town around eight thirty after spending the night at the local RV park, the local bike shop hooked me up with a few free packets of recovery powder, which taste terrible, but seem to work pretty well. Then I set out for Rabbit Ear’s pass, a nightmare of a climb to say the least. The first ten miles out of town were relatively flat and smooth. I drank some energy gel the shop worker suggested for me a few minutes before, and I was feeling pretty good. The letdown came a couple hours later, and I am still not convinced that any of those gels, liquids, or powders do much of anything. A good peanut butter sandwich and a chocolate bar are usually good enough for me.

The pain started around mile ten, when the road turned distinctly up, and was at 7-8% grade for the next seven miles. I managed to make it with only three rest breaks, and once at the top the road was pretty smooth and mostly downhill. The wind, however, was not at all smooth and sometimes downhill, sometimes uphill, sometimes crosshill and slanthill as well. Thirty miles of terrible wind meant what was supposed to be an easy coast to Kremmling was almost harder than the ascent itself. This was probably the most grueling day I have experienced on the trip, and I only went about 56 miles.

I made it there around four o’clock, however, despite the wind and the non-existent shoulder on Highway 40 and met some wonderful ladies in the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce who helped me find a campsite for the night (only $7!) and told me about the big city of Kremmling. Tomorrow I am off to Winter Park. Hopefully the wind will be less whipping for that journey.