Saturday, 3 July 2010
Highway 96, which carried us for 303 miles across these two states starts to divert from it’s regimented East West route that it’s adhered to through Kansas and takes on a more wandering rebellious track through Eastern Colorado.
Even the strict grid layout of the fields that we’ve become so used to start to look less organised and lush crops seem to be replaced with grazing cattle making do on rough pasture.
It is also immediately apparent that Colorado spends less of it’s budget on road repair. As soon as we crossed the state line the 96 highway took on a more cracked and weathered appearance and every five metres or so a crack would stretch across both carriageways like a rib. This would cause our wheels to jar and our bodies to soak up the jolt, which after a few miles starts to become rather tedious! I always thought ribs were for extra pleasure, but these type certainly weren't!
My first view of the Rocky Mountains ended unceremoniously in a First Aid incident! Whilst staying at Gillian and Mark’s cyclist hostel and small holding in Ordway, they asked me if I wanted to walk the dogs out in the fields so I could see the sun set on the distant Rockies, I of course jumped at the chance.
Whilst crossing the field I stood on a twig stump that had been cut short as part of a fire break; there was a pop as the sharp twig pierced my Crocs and went into the sole of my foot. I limped back to the house feeling my Croc start to fill with warm blood, panic set in and I thought it could be the end of my Trans Am adventure. After a liberal soaking with iodine and a large sticky plaster the brave soldier was ready to pedal on. I never did get to see the sun set on the Rockies that night!
All we new about Brian was he had lived in Russia for 8 years and had just returned, occupation unknown, we wondered if this pedalling lethario was a Bond \ Bourne agent with a license to thrill. The one error in his plan was that his “Western Express” route across miles of desert would provide a drought in more than one sense of the word and have little chance of putting a dent in his full to the brim condom pannier! But maybe the free love of his destination, San Francisco, would be more than adequate a prize for his fasting in the desert!!
Robin on the other hand was a young tattooed fitness instructor and probably the more obvious choice for a cycling love God, but he was content with the challenge of the cycling and was keen to take on the mountains and head into the Rockies.
The closer we got to Pueblo the bigger the mountains appeared and our up and coming rest day would be well earned and vital for recharging our hill climbing legs.