CTR: Day 3
September 4, 2013
La Garita bike detour to (almost!) Mt. Princeton Hot Springs
84 miles, 13,811' gained, 20 hours
Another 2am start – the full moon seemed even brighter this night, bright enough to keep me from sleeping well. I made the mistake of leaving my camelbak nozzle touching the ground - little rodents chewed it up! Hope I don't get Hanta virus! It was warm and I got going pretty quickly, heading towards the long climb up to Sergeant’s Mesa in the moonlight. I passed Trail Angle Apple’s tent in the wee hours, nobody was stirring – I snuck in and grabbed a coke and bag of chips, feeling guilty for not being able to thank him and SO grateful for some caffeine.
Spirits lifted, I felt great for the next few hours of steady climbing, until of course I hit Sergeant’s Mesa: a 6 mile long pinball machine of baby heads and roots, infuriating and unridable, especially on a hard tail. I'd been expecting it, so just resigned myself to the slog, knowing it'd be over soon.
I was leapfrogging with Pete Basinger throughout the morning, and tailed him down the long descent to Tank 7, the start of a huge climb up to Marshall Pass. Only thing slowing me down was the local wildlife:
Crazy aggro cows actually almost trampled me. I put on some tunes and crushed the climb up to Marshall – I was again trying to beat out the clouds, didn’t want to get held up by lightning. Made it up and over Fooses by mid-afternoon, still hoping to make it to Buena Vista that day. Fooses was a fun, LONG descent – I’d definitely hate to climb that!
Endless hike-a-bike up to Marshall Pass
Steep, loose descent down Fooses
I felt pretty shattered once I got to Hwy 50 – this picked up my spirits a bit though, especially as I was getting low on food:
Quick little snack and I was off, visions of a hot dinner in BV dancing in my head. After a couple hours of pretty slow progress, however, I realized if I were to push to Buena Vista, I’d be there after midnight. Damn. I definitely underestimated this part of the CT, thinking it would go quickly. I resolved to make it at least to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, which seemed doable. Darkness came as I was riding the section of CT I knew from the Vapor Trail last fall – it seemed much chunkier than I remembered! Probably since I was on a hard tail, not my squishy Mojo I rode before.
I was about 5 miles from the hot springs when I decided to screw it and camp. I was making stupid mistakes and didn’t feel safe riding anymore. I just hoped my sad bag of trail mix and package of beef jerkey was enough to get me to Buena Vista – I planned on starting early, before the store at the hot springs would be open. Got passed by Ryan making a late push for the hot springs as I fell asleep. 3 days of insanely hard riding – I was smashed, and fell asleep instantly, despite feeling distressingly hungry.
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