Sunday, July 15, 2007

Day 22 (7/14): Timber Creek campground, CO --> Boulder, CO (70 miles)

Days mileage: 70 miles.

A somewhat early start (7am) and a somewhat cold morning. We were camped just at 9,000 feet elevation near the base of one of our biggest climbs for the entire trip. We clipped into our pedals and started up Trail Ridge Road...we had 16 miles to reach the top. (By the top I mean the top of the highest continuous road in the U.S....elevation topping off well over 12,000 feet).

Switchbacks helped greatly in adding great heights and elevation gain to our climbing efforts and soon reached elevations of 10,758 feet (another Great Divide crossing), 11,800 feet (visitors center)....dodged in and out of the construction zones and soon passed right by the heighest point in the U.S. without there being a sign or any trace of where the specific location was....I flew right on by it without knowing and stopped at a rest station that was at 12.080 feet. I stopped to eat some food and take millions of pictures of the majestic Rocky Mountains.

The rest of the day was a long, long, long descent towards Estes Park (which, silly me, I thought was another national park of somekind. Ends up it's just a town with a name that lends itself towards confusing conversations wtihin one's head).

We grabbed some lunch and headed out towards Boulder...I had just gotten off phone with Loretta and they would be touching ground in Denver within a couple of hours. We were only 36 miles from Boulder and I was anxious to get there.

It only poured rain for a long 3 miles climb that took us out and away from Estes Park. We then enjoyed a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnng descent for a good 15 miles or so and eventually rolled into Boulder.

Stephen made some phone calls, figured out where he was supposed to go and we then parted ways....though we figured there'd be a good chance of crossing paths somewhere between Boulder and the Atlantic Ocean. I then hung out outside of the Safeway food store and waited to be picked up by Loretta and Co.

It was awesome to finally see Loretta again after what felt like ages and just hang out and knowing I had a couple of days to just relax and not bike anywhere. We got to Mike and Tana's house nestled deep in the mtns of Boulder where there's an amzing view of mountains and a small mountain stream flowing by the front of the house.

I was ready for a two day hiatus and periodically lost myself in thoughts about the past 2,000 miles that I put between Astoria, OR and Boulder, CO....


Pat said...

Hooray!!!!! We are all so happy to see you accomplish this major milestone on your trip!! Enjoy your well deserved break!

Hi to all with love from all the Bilinski's

Taz Brown said...

Welcome to CO Mike! That lady at the Rand PO was awesome to us too. She had an awesome dog as well! The wild purple wild flowers are most plentiful over 11,000ft! Enjoy your break...get over Hoosier Pass and it's be mostly down hill for another 1000miles or so.

Loretta said...

Ha, you are soooo lucky I didn't know what Trail Ridge Road was before you climbed it. I would have never let you do that on your bike had I known - I would have cried and cried! Now I am so glad you are just coasting along until you get to the Mts we know and love of the East Coast. You are the bravest, most physically awesome person I know. I don't know if thats good or bad, but I love you anyways! MWAH! MWAH! MWAH!

Mom said...

Hi Michael, this is Stephen's mom, (to explain why it'll say "mom said..." at the top). Hey, been wondering what you are up to? I've missed reading your blog entries this week. Are you pressing on? Hope all is well!
Donna Petranovich