When I woke up yesterday, I was so sore and stiff that I could barely move. After walking around a little, and taking a hot shower, I felt better, but was still plenty tired. Looking ahead at the route to Montrose, there are three decent climbs along the way. I really didn’t think I would be able to climb any of them after the Monarch Pass, so I took a rest day. The hostel I was staying in was a nice place and the people running were great. Although, there was a young fellow staying there who kept trying to get me to try marijuana with him and explaining the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms. I had wanted to get to Montrose before taking a rest day, but needed it today.
This morning I felt much better and set out on my way. The ride was through some canyons. First, the highway traveled along the Blue Mesa Reservoir. This is a narrow lake in a wide canyon leading up to the Black Canyon. Just before the canyon, the highway crossed the lake near Sapinero. That’s another town name that is fun to say.
After Sapinero, there was the first climb. The highway climbed out of the canyon holding the lake and near Blue Mesa. It was starting to get cloudy, so I don’t know if I ever actually saw the Blue Mesa. Then there was a drop into a side canyon. The side canyon was narrow, steep and very beautiful.
Soon, however, the highway climbed out of the side canyon. There was road construction near the top and the highway was narrowed to one lane. This isn’t the first time I have dealt with a highway narrowed to one lane. Entering Gunnison, the highway was one lane for about three miles. I pedaled as hard and fast as I could to get through the area before traffic started coming at me, but the one lane zone outside Gunnison never seemed to end. I had to stop to let traffic go the other way. The one lane section in the canyon was not as long, but I was climbing out of the canyon, so moving slowly.
The crest of the climb was not far past the one lane section. As I took a break at the top, it began to rain, hard. It didn’t look like it was going to ease up, so I started to push on. I made it to a cafe about six miles down the road and waited out the rain. Sometimes I think all I will remember about Colorado is the rain. It rains about every day, even if just a little bit.
It didn’t take long for the rain to quit. I was pretty cold when the sun came back out. I only rode another few miles to Cimarron, at the bottom of another side canyon. There is a small campground that is first come, first serve. It doesn’t have electrical hookups for RV’s nor showers, so it doesn’t usually fill up. When I got there, there were only about three or four other people there. By the time I went to bed, it was mostly full, but not completely even for a holiday weekend.