Gunnison

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I’ve gone much further than planned today, and arrived much later than usual – after 4pm. But the second part of the ride was much easier than the first part and I decided to continue.

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Initially I wanted to stop at Sapinero, by the Blue Mesa Reservoir, at one of the campgrounds. That seemed to be enough distance for one day, especially as that meant going up two summits back to back. I thought maybe the slopes would continue to be gentle, but not anymore ! It was going up right after Montrose, and what the slope was lacking, the headwind really made up for it. So the Cerro summit took me a long time already.

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Then a downhill into another nice valley, and immediately the next uphill, plus road works along the way. The guy regulating the traffic told me something I assumed was “wait for next wave”, but I waited and waited and he didn’t ordered me through. So I started walking again, and tried to stay away from the traffic. But there was only one lane left, the other was gravel and pretty soon I was blocked by the construction engines. At that point a pickup from the roadworks team stopped by me and I got (gently) admonished for going through. A cyclist almost got killed last week for doing exactly what I did. They picked me up and got me at the end of the road works less than a mile further. I suppose I was meant to wait for them by the first guy.

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I finished going up, and bumped into a couple attaching a platform trailer to their car. The guy offered to switch our trailers to help, and after I explained my bike trip, called me a “badass son of a bitch” 😉 With this confidence boost I went downhill, through a nice but short canyon, up a surprise slope and there I finally got to see the Reservoir.

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Here I started having some flashbacks of the “Hite experience” that were not welcomed. Sure, the place was way more populated (at least many more campgrounds), it was much greener, and the elevation was much flatter from here on. Still, I didn’t feel like staying around 🙂 So I stopped at the Sapinero store, drank the maximum possible amount of coke, had a cup of noodles, and decided to move on. It was already 2pm, with 25mi/40kms to go, but a critical element had changed 🙂 The wind had switched from east to west. Having a tailwind is almost as great as having a headwind is painful (actually no, I’d relish all tailwinds for not having any headwind).

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So I went around the Reservoir, seeing on the way that the campgrounds had little to no shade, and reached Gunnison in about one and a half hour, with a great speed all along. Incidentally, that meant that the half burrito I had left from dinner might be the burrito that traveled the most in Colorado history. It was a huge burrito. Maybe I’ll get it through Monarch pass and release it into the wild over there.

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