Fast forward 14 years. Blue Mesa passed away on March 30th 2011. A month after Mesa passed above the earth plane, I was on another bicycle tour. This tour was along the California Coast near Big Sur, from Carmel to Santa Barbara, along PCH1. Cloudy skies created a surrealistic atmosphere as we pedaled south along the California Coast. Rained fell on us from the very beginning of the tour. Just like the tour in Colorado back in 1997, the rain started at the very beginning of the bike tour and continued for the half of the tour.
Four days later, we left the coast and climbed up over the coastal range from Cambria. The rain turned into a downpour as I made my way up the climb. At the top of the climb, exhausted, soaked and very cold, I felt once again pushed against the edge of my mental and physical limits.
After a 2000 foot climb from the Pacific Ocean, I met Blue Mesa at the top of cloud shrouded summit. Continue reading
The skies started to darken behind me. Storm clouds were brewing again. I had found during the last five days that the weather could change quickly and dramatically in the Colorado mountains. I knew I had better get started in order to have any chance of beating the rain. I had 70 miles to ride. I started back towards the steep climb that had led up to the Black Canyon. A steep six mile descent led away from the Black Canyon and essentially marked the start of my days ride. I reached almost 40 mph as the road fell away from me. I turned east on 50 and headed towards Gunnison. I had been told that today’s route would be easy, mostly up and down, no major passes. Not. The first summit was a 1000 foot ascent over three miles. The road to Cerro summit was very steep. I thought Cerro summit would be the only climb of the day. Then I met Alison in the van to refill my water bottles. Alison said the rest of the day was like this, up and down with hard climbs. I was worried. I still had 60 miles to go and the time was past 12:00.
We soon believe what we desire. – unknown
I reached the second major climb of the day. I was not looking forward to having to ascend another summit. I had missed the notation on the route sheet indicating another climb. I thought I had completed the only major climb of the day. This one turned out to be a 1200 ft climb to 9000 feet over 4.5 miles. I would make this climb alone. I had been riding all alone so far, and I expected to ride the rest of the day alone. Most of the riders were ahead of me. I believe three were behind me. Rain started falling lightly as I started the climb. The rain did not fall hard enough to make me stop and put on my rain jacket. Today was the sixth straight day of rain. I quickly became tired at the start of the climb. My legs felt heavy and fatigued, my left hand numb, and my lower back was aching. The strength I had felt yesterday had been an illusion. I knew now that I was in for an ordeal. The skies darkened considerably, the wind was swirling and howling, and the temperature was dropping quickly. I hoped for a tailwind to help me up to the summit. A few minutes later rain poured down violently, sweeping past me from the rear, almost at a 90 degree angle. I stopped to put on my rain jacket. The rain was extremely cold and pelting my back. Continue reading
Here are my three beloved Egyptian Maus, Cheetah, Spirit, and Sunwapta, who have all crossed over to the other side, above the earth plane. They would quite often be seen curled up and snuggled together.
A beautiful day along the Gulf of Mexico
Sunwapta, Cheetah, and Sarhina returned to the multitude of cats who have crossed over to the other side on the last day of my Minnesota cycling tour. Its okay my dearly loved four legged friends, I am ready to let go now.