I was reading at 5:30 this morning when Bill D’s phone rang and he found out about the death of his sister Janet. It was not what you ever want to hear let alone wake up to.
I went to the Sacred Grounds Coffee place down the road for a Latte and let Bill try to get some more sleep. When I got back to the room he was up and about, getting ready to head out on the trail. We ate some breakfast, packed up and headed to Buena Vista to start the 4th leg of the ride.
We both looked forward to getting back on the trail and completing the COBDR. The trail was entered by going North out of Buena Vista on County Road 371. Before turning off on CR 375 we came upon a series of 5 tunnels cut through the mountains. The trail followed a 2 track road as we wound through rocks and fields with both wooded areas and open places.
Maybe 15 miles in we came to a portion of the trail that was sand. This was only about a ¼ mile section and had only one spot that was really loose and deep. I decided to slow down here, tucked the front wheel under and down I went. On the way off the bike I also took the windshield with me. It looked like I was having a yard sale in the middle of the trail.
We traveled the trail out to US 285, went North a ways and turned in on CR 433. We traveled through open range land and were suppose to make a turn which I managed to miss by a few feet. While pushing the bike back to make the turn my foot slipped and down I went again. Once we got the bike up we were once again off and running. We came to an area of woods and were heading down to a low spot when we came upon clay mud and water which some people refer to as “gumbo clay”. I didn’t stop to assess the situation and went thru on a line that was not the best. I fell into a rut under the water and down I went again. This stuff was very slick and sticks to everything. We got the bike up covered now in mud. Upset with myself we once again headed off.
Our next obstacles were 2 water crossings.
We crossed the river the first time and the trail followed the river to where we would cross back over the river. Just before the river crossing was some of the clay I had previously gone down on. I went through ok this time but as Bill followed his rear tire slipped out from under him and down he went. After getting him up we made the river crossing and continued on leaving the woods and entering more open area.
I stopped at a place where the road split so Bill would know what direction I was going. While still on my bike I took out my camera to take a picture, my foot slipped and down I went again. This was getting to be ridiculous.
We carried on towards Leadville on roads that became more stone filled as we went. We crossed the Weston Pass at 11,921 and continued on towards Leadville. As we came off the mountain the stone filled road became wider and better until we were again on blacktop (US 24). We then made a pass through Leadville and headed West to return to the route.
The route took us over Hagerman Pass and the Continental divide at 11,925’. The road up became very technical with many embedded boulders and sharp rocks, all the time traversing a steep bank off of one side. We were almost to the top when I stopped to wait for Bill and take a picture. Sitting there in neutral while getting my camera out my foot slipped on the gravel and I went down again. This was number 5 for the day. I believe my balance is alright, must be old age or just forgetting I’m holding the bike up while doing other things. Maybe I don’t multitask well?
We descended the back side of Hagerman Pass which has one river crossing.
We were now on the final leg of this day’s route to Gypsum CO. The road turned to blacktop and the route took us back to gravel for the final leg. It was getting late and we were worried about it getting dark so at Sylvan Lake we took a more direct route straight to Eagle.
We checked into the Best Western in Eagle, went to eat at the Chinese restaurant across the street, then called it a night. It had been a long day of riding. We started on the trail at about 9 am and were checking into the motel at 7:30 pm.