Day 7: Kremmling to Arapaho NF
I took my time leaving Kremmling, knowing I only had about 30 miles to cover, and it was a relatively easy day. A few miles south of town, i turned off onto a dirt road that followed the Colorado River for a while before turning south. A short climb led to Middle Park, a broad, windswept valley that has a reservoir sitting in the middle on the Williams Fork. I’ll be passing through a similar area–South Park–next week. The road was pretty smooth and had gentle grades as it made its way up stream, behind the Williams Fork Mountains. There were still some heart-pounding hillls to climb, but overall it was a relatively mellow day.
My legs do feel somewhat dead and tired, but the biggest complaint I have is my ass. Although not as tender as during the first few days, it can still be somewhat uncomfortable to spend so much time in the saddle. I’ve found that using Desitin, the ointment for diaper rash, has soothed my butt and I’ve also been experimenting with some different seat heights. Other than that, I’m feelling in pretty good shape a week into the trip. I have a bunch of nicks and cuts on my hands that are taking a while to heal, but I’m not struggling with any real injuries or ailments.
I stopped for the day at about 3pm, only about 4 hours after I started riding. I knew where I’d be camping because Ginette and I had spent a night in the area a few weeks back, before we did some hiking in the nearby Eagles Nest Wilderness. Just a half mile inside the forest boundary, I turned up a side road and found a great campsite beside Keyser Creek and beneath lots of tall conifers. Took a refreshing dunk in the water after putting up my tent and then took a nap. It was great to set up camp early in the afternoon, without being dead tired, and I’m glad I could catch up on some sleep. I’ve been getting at least 9 hours a night, but I think my body still needs more. Same thing with food: I’m eating huge quantities, yet still feel hungry. One of the many great things about this trip is that I can eat whatever and however much I want, yet still lose weight!
Day 8: Arapaho NF to Silverthorne
Today’s ride was also on the short end–a little less than 30 miles, most of it on paved roads. Unlike the past few mornings, when dew was covering everything, today began dry, but the wind kept getting stronger. After a few miles on a hard-packed dirt road, I came to the Henderson industrial complex. On this side of the Continental Divide is a massive mill and tailings pond; on the other side is the continent’s largest molybdenum mine. The two are connected by a gigantic underground conveyer system that goes straight through the Divide. It’s pretty much an industrial sacrifice area, but it’s hard for me to get all self-righteous since my bike frame is chro-moly, as in chrome-molybdenum.
The ride through the mine is the ascent to Ute Pass, which is all paved and never gets too steep. On the other side, there are incredible views of the Gore Range on the other side of the Blue River Valley. Today’s strong westerly winds were creating some interesting cloud formations over the peaks and helped slow my descent toward Highway 9. From there, it was 13 miles to Silverthorne. Lots of traffic, but a huge shoulder for me to ride in so I felt totally safe. I was going NW for part of the way and enjoyed a nice tailwind.
Once I got to Silverthorne, known best for its huge number of outlet stores along I-70, I headed to Chipotle for some lunch and then to my motel. Unfortunately, no laundry machines, so I to ride to the laundromat, about a mile away. I stripped down to just my shorts/bathing suit and washed everything else. Not a minute too soon–I was really starting to smell!