Day 21 Finally made it into Cuba last night. Hated that route from Abiquiu to Cuba. Relentless climbing, miles of it were technical both climbing and decending.Left Cuba at 4 am to tackle the 120-ish miles. Finally got some progress logging 100 miles in 8.5 hrs. Picked up my mail package at the Post Office and grabbing some lunch. Still have sunlight and it’s to early to call it a day so gonna head for Pie Town 71 miles down range. Probably won’t make it there before sleepy time but it will be miles closer to the finish.The stretch between Pie Town and Silver City is 146 miles with no resupply. Gonna have to load up on food and water in Pie Town for that stretch.Loaded the last map sets this morning. Currently 368 miles to go.
Been at this so long, I think today is day 19? Lots has happened since last report from Del Norte…..Made it up and over the highest point on the Tour Divide, Indiana Pass reaching nearly 11,000 ft above sea level. Took about 5 hrs from town. Didn’t get rained or stormed on however, starting down the other side lots of rain and cold. Decided to call it quits as the decent was too wet and cold even with all my layers on. Camped in the bush again setting up the tent in the rain. Never knew I could my tent up so fast.Next morning made slow progress down to Platoro, CO. Low on food I went to the Cafe hoping for a stack of pancakes and 20lbs of bacon to find the Cafe is closed on Mondays. Distraught I felt my race could be over because I did not have enough calories on board to make it to the next known food stop, Sylvia’s Snack Shack in Canon City. Two locals walking by told me the Skyline Lodge with the blue roof might have something. YES!!!Skyline made me some sandwiches and burritos to go. Also loaded up on the essential Tour Divider cuisine such as Milk Dudes, M&M, Peanut Butter Crackers, etc. So far today the weather had been chilly but the skys looked like it could rain at any moment. Refreshed and refueled I headed onwards. Made quick time down the road to the pavement. Up and over Manga Pass (10233) and back Into the wilds. Met two north bound riders just before sumitting Brazos Ridge (10883) that warned me to not get caught out on the ridge during the storms that are coming. They also mentioned that I had taken them nearly 7 hrs to get there from Hopewell Lake campground do to the muddy road conditions.I kicked it up a notch and raced the storms, getting to the top and across Brazos Ridge before the rain came. I only got a few drops of rain on me but continued to charge downhill.Making great time and covering many miles after the Ridge I reluctantly called it a day 30 miles short of my goal.Found a nice little spot under some huge pine trees and slept like a baby in my Down Puffy Pajamas, in my down sleeping bag. Temp was 33 degrees when I woke this morning.Today’s ride plan was just make it to Abiquiu some 80 miles downrange for a much need reset. Ride was great, mostly downhill, and mud was not an issue. It took me maybe 2 hrs to cover the same ground the two riders I met the day before had covered. I hit a mud pit on the wrong line causing me to take a few minutes to clear the mud from the sidewalls and bike frame.A moment of scare was when bombing down a very bumpy road I hit something hard and heard something hit the ground. A quick scan of the cockpit and bike, everything seemed normal. I slowed and took a quick look back, something didn’t seem right. I saw something laying on the ground I had just covered. I turned around to see what it was. Turns out it was one of my two GPS units. The unit had come out of its mount, disconnected the USB powering it AND broke its secondary laynard. Glad I stopped because the next few miles where all downhill. Once noticed missing I would of had to climb BACK up the hill looking for the unit. Quick square knot and everything reattached I was back on my way.Rained of an on all day today. Stopped way too may times, rain pants on, rain pants off, etc. Mostly just a mist. Stopping early the night before and where I did was an excellent decision.Dropping of the mountain headed in to Abiquiu was fun. All-n-all the roads were mostly well graded and packed AND NOT MUDDY.Tomorrow, the last of the massive climbs with Polvadera Mesa topping out at 10328ft making it a 4328 ft climb in 27 miles.Only 565.6 miles to go!!!I am so ready for this to be done!!
Made it to Del Norte. So much has happened since last update. Gonna keep it short…Quick stop in Salida (Day 15) for some “Moe Burrito” one gut bomb for dinner and one to-go. Bumped into my friend Brian Steele just outside of town. The last 12-ish miles is a awesome downhill run.Slept in the bush again about half way up Marshall Pass. Day 16 – Finished the climb and enjoyed the 18 or so miles downhill to Sargents. Had a very large breakfast at Tomichi Trading post.Got caught in a storm again but coming down a mountain off of Cochetopa Pass. Called it quits at something like 5:30, set up tent in the rain and laid down. Slept solid 8+ hrs.Back at it this morning. Knocked out Carnero Pass and made it into Del Norte. Next up is the highest Pass on the trip. Indiana Pass is a 22+ mile climb up 4314 feet. Usually gets rain/storms in the afternoon so not looking forward to that.752.4 miles to go and counting.
Big Day yesterday. Disaster averted when Big Sky bike shop found my front axle loose. Reinvigorated I went for Basin, MT. Didn’t realize the one of the 3 mountain passes between Helena and Basin was gonna be such an ass kicker. Thre last 3-ish miles of the Lava Mountain pass was the toughest thing I have ever done. Imagine 14% grade, pushing a 60 lbs bike up over washed out jeep track strewn with boulders and the debris/remnants of fallen trees all in the dark with nothing more than a head lamp. Didn’t get any photos. Too busy pushing. Took me approx 9 hrs to cover the 38 miles and 5000+ feet of climbing.Rolled into Basin approx 1am, had trouble finding a camp spot, ended up setting camp in the easement of I-15. Got a good 4 hrs sleep. Now waiting for the post office to open to fetch my care package I had sent myself before leaving.Gonna be a big day today also. Fleecer Ridge day!!!
Hoss is currently pulling 100+ mile days – here’s a couple of pics he had time to send thru during a burger stop in Ovando. Kathy, who runs the Blackfoot Angler, keeps an eye out for Tour Dividers, and makes sure they get water and so on.
After skipping a year in 2020, the Castell Grind – and consequently, the Team IPA annual birthday celebration – returned with a vengeance! The weather and the increasing availability of vaccines came together to ensure that we had a great ride and a wonderful weekend getaway. Many thanks to the organizers!
We all know how 2020 went. The team continued to ride, solo or in small groups – one of the advantages of no traffic meant we could move around town more easily, and there have been a lot of Southside and Brushy Creek rides! Hopefully these will continue, even when traffic picks back up. The race calendar is picking up – you can see our upcoming events on our shared calendar: http://www.teamipa.bike/calendar/
TMBRA races are firing back up – two of us went and swept the Spring Series ‘Rocky Hill Roundup’ this past weekend – a little too crowded in the start gate area for our liking, but we hope things will smooth out as the season progresses.
Some sweet Castell Grind gravel is coming up in a couple of weeks, and several of us are looking forward to the Big Sugar 50 and 100km races in Bentonville this fall. Meanwhile, our friends over at Capital City Racing will be putting on some local gravel races for us to enjoy.
Let the good times roll, and keep the rubber side down!
aka Singlespeed USA …
Four Team IPA Racers took part in this grueling off-road 100 miler – accompanied, naturally, by a crew of a dozen or so from across the south of the US. Congratulations to all who trained hard and took part!
A huge storm system rolling through in the morning meant a 2 1/2 hour delayed start, and the 50 km route for all riders, but boy – with that headwind, it sure felt like the 100!
[Photo credit to Pam LeBlanc and Mike Drost]