Today the big challenge was Wolf Creek Canyon Pass at 10,500’. It was a butt kicker. The first 90 miles were great – a group of six of us (Randy, Tim, Jon, John, Max and I) worked together through some easy to moderate rollers and a few short climbs. Starting at mile 90, at the foot of the pass, we climbed 2,400’ over the next eight miles, at a grade of 5-7%. Us old flatlanders could definitely feel the high elevation.
After a nice lunch stop at the top of the pass and adding a layer to handle the cold descent, we blew down the next 20 miles in well under an hour. Our good luck continued after that with a 20+ mph tailwind or another 15 miles. All good things come to an end though and our last 10 miles we had a cross/quartering wind. Overall though, a very nice day with 7,650’ of climbing.
We are staying at the Movie Manor, in Monte Vista, Colorado. Out our window are two drive in movie screens – we can choose between ‘How to Train your Dragon’ or the ‘Bounty Hunter’, once it gets dark. Most of us will probably be in bed by then, but the concept is very cool.
Tomorrow we have two more big mountain passes, La Veta and Cucharas, both in the 9-10,000’ range. They should be a little less steep than what we did today but there are rumors of a headwind later in the day . We end up in Trinidad, Colorado tomorrow night and after that, we start heading across the plains.