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Day 43 – Slogging our guts out

(50 miles)

Our task today was to get over the first ‘pass’ on our route through the Rockies, Current Creek Pass at 9485 feet. We had about a 30 mile climb to the pass but most of it was pretty gradual and there were even the odd downhills to mix things up a bit. As it was Sasha’s first day of real climbing we took things easy and slowed right down. Sasha is riding a road bike (as opposed to a touring bike/mountain bike). As such, her lowest gear is about the same gear ratio as my middle gear. So you can imagine it gets quite tough when you’re lugging a fully loaded bike and have no real hill-climbing gears! We took lots of breaks and used our specially selected ‘motivational playlists’ to keep us pushing. Pat even had another go at his patented ‘horizontal cycling’ (fortunately from a virtual stand-still) – but we all agreed that’s clearly a strategy that is fundamentally flawed.

I love the early morning sunshine as we ride west :-)

I'm considering ordering one of these for my flat...

With about 8 miles to go to the top, Matt and Pat set off at a faster pace while I stayed with Sasha, who was feeling the effects of a brand new saddle that looked expensive but certainly not comfortable! We continued to make slow progress towards the pass, averaging about 5mph. Sasha was obviously struggling but there wasn’t much I could do about it, except try to distract her with my witty banter. And I think we all know how painful that can be – its usually enough to make anyone pedal harder just to get away from me! We chatted about families, past relationships, God (apparently I’m quite private with my faith. Well, compared to your average American I suspect I am!), and I introduced her to numerous English slang phrases which no doubt will shortly be all the rage in New Mexico.

Eventually we reached the pass, meeting a couple of East-bounders while we were there. From then on it was mostly downhill, except for a couple more hills that Sasha noted bared a striking resemblance to a certain part of the female body…

Current Creek Pass: Boshed Out

First glimpse of the real Rockies

We arrived in the one-bar town of Hartsel and headed to the… bar. I wish I’d just videoed our whole time there – the bar was populated by some of the funniest, craziest locals you could imagine. The banter was hilarious – and largely unprintable! Matt and I decided to assimilate ourselves into the local culture and engaged in a special occasion known as ‘Happy Hour’. Good times.

Making the most of this Hour of Happiness.

Having found no other suitable places to shelter from the forecast storm, we went with one of the local’s suggestion and piled into the Post Office for the night. Dry, warm, quiet (except for the woman who came in at 3:50 am to check her mail!) and, after we removed 12 fluorescent light-bulbs (no light switch), dark. And memorable!

Home sweet home

One Response to “Day 43 – Slogging our guts out”

  1. Dennis says:

    Sleeping in the Hartsel post office and taking out 12 flourescent light bulbs is one of the coolest, random thing I’ve heard about bike touring. It’s nights like that that make it so fun! Hope you got a tamale from Dorothy’s while you were there!!

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