Day 29- Silverthorne, CO

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Colorado

Today was the day we had been worrying about, the day we would finally be facing the Loveland Pass. There is a bike path out of town, that goes up to the frontage road right before the pass. The climb starts as soon as you leave Georgetown, winding through the thickly and beautifully forested path. The trail finally let us out at the base of the pass, putting us at 10,800 ft. We saw the sign marking the start of the pass, reading “Summit 4 miles”. This was decision time. Do we attempt the pass, which has barely a shoulder either up or down, grades up to 10%, and a plethora of large tanker trucks that are not allowed in the Eisenhower Tunnel? For probably the first time in the entire trip, we ran straight to the side of caution. Jon’s legs could barely carry him from the climb up Mt. Evans the day before, and I am barely functional above 10,00 ft. And I was terrified of getting run off the road by a tanker truck. We flagged down a ride at the base, and ended up getting to talk to a Colorado native named Kevin (who turned out to be a professional mountain bike/downhill racer) about extreme physical exertion in places of high elevation. It helped to ease our wounded pride from not doing the pass, and also helped give us a bit more rest. There was still the Vail Pass to attempt, after all. Kevin dropped us off at the Arapahoe Basin, and we rode the rest of the way into Keystone.

Descending the last half of the pass.

We hung around the resort for a little bit, did a little maintenance on our bikes, and looked into winter jobs. Jon wanted to take me to the <a href=”http://www.dambrewery.com“>Dillon Dam Brewery</a> the next town over in Silverthorne, so we took off in that direction for a late lunch. We ended up staying that night in Silverthorne instead of pressing on to Copper, and found another playground to camp at. Clouds were looking threatening overhead, and we hoped that they would pass over and drop the rain somewhere else. We weren’t that lucky, although the playground equipment did a very good job of protecting us from most of it. Our main hope was that we could make it out the next morning without too much rain, and, thinking of what we would have to face the next morning, fell asleep for the night.

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