Winter is coming

October 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

This was it. The big one. The bad mother of the Great Divide. Indiana Pass. Biggest climb. Highest altitude (11.910 feet or 3.630 meters). Mount Doom.
And as an afterthought, Stunner Pass right after. I was going to do it. And I was going to do it by myself, because Mat’s rack didn’t arrive. Bummer…. (click “Read More”)…

Not all that glitters is gold

October 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm

After sucking up civilisation in Salida we were ready to go. There were some big, big passes between Salida and Del Norte. However, the grades in Colorado so far have proven to be quite agreeable. It’s just that the climbs seem to last forever sometimes.

Riding out of Salida, Marshall Pass came first. I think this was the most beautiful pass of the entire trip so far. We rode amidst billowing oceans of green, gold and red. I will let the pictures speak for themselves (warning: a whopping 53 of them!). Just click on “Read More”…

An update & some banter

October 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

So, to everyone reading this blog, it is much appreciated — but as you can see I haven’t been able to update the blog for two weeks. Part of the reason for this is that it’s hard to find a good place & time to update. I would need the following things for that:

– a PC of decent speed
– with available USB ports
– and Internet
– and some image processing software (Windows Picture Manager, Picasa, that sort of thing)

And I would need that for a bunch of hours because usually there’s lots of photo’s to go through. Also, it takes time to tell my story in a comprehensive way instead of rambling on. At least, I like to think it’s comprehensive.

So, right now, I left you hanging in Salida, Colorado whereas I am in fact typing this up in Grants, New Mexico. I have got about 40 minutes left on this PC so I am not even going to attempt to process pictures. It’ll be just text and I’ll type up decent stories later.

Part of this is to provide some detail on what I did, part of this is just for myself, to make sure I’ll remember everything later on when I’m back home! Click on “Read More” to get an update on what happened…

El Camino

September 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I wanted to ride from Como to Salida in one day, which would entail about 120 kilometers, with some climbs and headwinds to brave. Still, I was going to do it: the day’s ride would involve crossing South Park. The South Park of TV fame is actually a ghost town — THIS South Park is a big piece of “flat”land,  resembling Wyoming more than anything else. Ah well — what can you do but ride? Click on the “Read More” to learn more about my revelation today…

Como in the distance. Bye-bye, densely forested mountains… for now.

What’s a guy to do but climb?

September 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

September 18th marked the day of departure from Boulder. Huybert and his wife Rebecca drove me to Silverthorne and after a late start the three of us would ride together for a bit towards Breckenridge. Then it was all up to me to conquer Boreas Pass, the second highest pass on the Great Divide route (11.492 feet or 3.503 meters above sea level). Soundtrack by Enslaved – Heir to the Cosmic Seed, because of the extraordinary altitude and the otherworldy views. It’s a gentle track, just like the climb itself.

As always, click on the “Read More” to continue… Be warned though: I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

View from Dillon reservoir after a short but steep climb.

25 square miles surrounded by reality

September 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm

The title of this post is used by friend and foe alike to describe Boulder, Colorado. It is a most peculiar town, very progressive, almost as if in a cartoon. People doing yoga on the street and all that. Lots of “spiritual gift shops” around and what not. In the sixties it was a real hippie-town, but these days, the yuppies come flying in as well. It is hard to find a decent living place though: there is a dedicated sales tax in Boulder of 1% and the city uses it to buy and maintain the surrounding lands. So the city doesn’t really grow anymore. There are awesome mountains (the Flatirons) right in the backyard. There is a big university (about 30.000 students on a total of about 100.000 inhabitants) so you can imagine the kind of place it must be.

Boulder is a hippie town so I’m playing you two tracks of hippie music:

Dragontears – Two Tongue Talk

Dragontears – Masters of War (Bob Dylan cover)

(this band is led by the same guy as the band Baby Woodrose, of which I played you some stuff earlier — check their stuff out, it’s very uplifting and the world needs more peace & loving anyway).

I really, really liked it. Especially downtown proper, with lots of bike lanes and pedestrian-only streets. And I lucked out with my timing: I arrived at saturday evening and sunday there would be a big street festival! Click on the “Read More” to, er, read more…

How you doin’ ….

Going slightly mad

September 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

The rest day in Steamboat Springs proved to be just the thing my muscles needed. Mat & I met up with Colin & Jeff and we visited the Old Town Hot Springs. It looks like a normal swimming pool but it’s fed by the hot springs. I would love to visit the place in winter, when there’s snow all around and you can sit in your swimshorts outside in these hot pools.

View of downtown Steamboat Springs.

Steamboat Springs is a really nice town; there is a ski-resort but it’s located a ways from downtown. It also had a great selection of outdoor stores which proved to be pretty handy. I was losing so much stuff, it was crazy. There is this song that played in my head all the way from Steamboat down to Silverthorne. Not something I would normally play at home, but out here, I guess I am going slightly mad. A very fitting soundtrack to this post. Click on the “Read More” to learn why…

A cunning plan

September 13, 2012 at 12:04 am

This post describes my hardest day so far. The recurring theme is wind. Wind, wind, wind. Murderous, furious headwinds. Still, I’m writing this up in cosy Steamboat Springs, so we evidently made it. But I sure had a hard time…

Waking up in the hotel room in Rawlins, I was really hungry. Where did all the food go? I looked into the mirror. Barely any fat left on my body. Where did it all go? We shopped and I ate an entire foot-long sandwich at the Subway’s for breakfast. I finished it with ease. Where does it all go??
Riding out of town, we faced the wind. A headwind. I knew it was going to last, because I had checked out the weather predictions. Ah well. Lots of uphills, facing a headwind. What’s a guy to do but climb, eh?

We met Cam, an Australian who was hiking the Continental Divide Trail as part of a gargantuan, 15.000-mile-trek (that’s 24.000 kilometers) in 18 months across the Northern America’s. Having done already about 11.500 miles, he was planning to finish the CDT in October and then fly up to Maine to start his last hike: the Appalachian trail, southbound. How he is going to survive that, I do not know — it gets COLD up there in October! What an amazing feat though. He was doing 40 miles (64 km) a day. Had been doing so for a year, with a pack on his back. It blows my mind. The Nijmeegse Vierdaagse is like a sneeze for this guy!
Meanwhile, Mat and I were suffering. This was no fun at all. We did about 7 km riding about town and we knew that 24 km downroute, there was going to be a campsite at Teton Reservoir. We decided to just call it a day. It was a pathetic attempt at making any sort of mileage, but the next campsite was about 60 kilometers ahead of Teton Reservoir and after four days of desert, we just didn’t feel like it. In fact, we still were in the desert.

At the campsite, which looked more like a scene from Mad Max than anything else, the wind kept whipping around us. Our stoves even got blown out once while cooking a meal! I was in a bit of a morbid mood, recalling that Alice in Chains song, “Would?“, adding my own twist to the lyrics:

Am I wrong
Have I rode too far to get home
Am I wrong
Left you here alone?

It wouldn’t leave my head for the coming few days, and therefore it’s the theme song to this post.

The campsite. Completely exposed, buffeted by the unceasing winds.