Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 52 Hoosier Pass 11, 542 feet on 09/09/09

Gregory tries out Bill's bike before we depart.

Leaving Dillon via bike path along the Dillon Reservoir

This was on the bike path to Breckenridge, but we rode up the 10% grade!

Do you see the "C" for Colorado? Fall is on the way and we are enjoying the golden quaking aspens.

Switchback #1 was a nasty 14-15% grade!

Gregory's Birthday Cake! Bill and Barb hand delivered our treat on their motorcycles!! We were 2 miles from the top of Hoosier Pass.

Now that's what I call a support team!

We did it! This is the highest pass on our route! Our map and the bronze plaque on the left say 11, 542 feet and the sign says 11,539 feet, so which is it? Maybe the sign adds 3 feet!

Colorado State Flag

Warming Up In Alma

Date: Sept. 9, 2009

From: Dilllon, CO

To: Fairplay, CO

Route: Hwy. 9

Passes: Hoosier Pass (11,542’)

Miles Today: 41 miles


Top Speed on this trip: 49.2 mph

Weather: Stormy skies and 50 degrees up on the pass

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana plates, 8 Wyoming plates (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho plate (found in WY), 2 Colorado plates

We climbed Hoosier Pass, the highest pass on the TransAmerica Bike Route at 11,542 feet and we did it on 09/09/09 the day after Gregory turned 9 years old! Yippee! It’s all down hill from here!! Not really but we feel great about our accomplishment. We gained about 1,800 feet of elevation in 18 miles and had a 1,000 ft. descent in 5 miles to the town of Alma where we pulled right in at the Alma Natural Foods and Coffee House to warm up. It was 50 degrees at the pass and we had a few sprinkles prompting us to don our rain jackets, helmet covers, tights and warm gloves but we once again escaped a major downpour. Though Gregory hoped to break our record speed on the descent Mike had to use the drum brake due to wet road conditions. Our motto is safety first and we still hit 46 mph and had a great downhill!

Hoosier is a series of some serious switchbacks and at the corner of switchback #1 Gregory reported a grade of 14 to 15 percent according to his inclinometer. I would say he was pretty close. Those are some nasty corners! We had some steep sections on this climb though the switchbacks did level out a bit nearer to the top. We took plenty of rest breaks on our way but are happy to say that we pedaled the entire way. Victory!

What truly got us up the last 2 miles of the climb was the birthday cake that was hand delivered by Bill and Barb on their motorcycles! They had to see how we were doing and lucky for us they decided to bring cake! We’d just seen our first sprinkles and had put on our rain jackets but the rain stayed at bay while we inhaled our cake and then said our second goodbyes to our dear friends. If you’ve ever cycled before you can imagine what a boost such an act of kindness can give you and it really helped us get up those last 2 sets of switchbacks! Thanks again guys.

At the summit we met a pastor and his wife from 90 miles south of Wichita, Kansas who are vacationing at their home in Frisco, Colorado. We asked them to take our picture and they said if our route had taken us closer to them we would have had a place to stay. By another huge coincidence their son was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor about 5 years ago and I had mine removed back in 1999. This came up because we were discussing if we felt this trip was harder on us than our 1994 crossing and I mentioned that though I’m 15 years older I’m not dealing with the effects of an undiagnosed pituitary tumor this time.

From Alma to Fairplay was a gentle downhill on a bike path and though the path was bumpy we were thrilled to have it and be off of the highway. I say it was a gentle downhill but we were coasting at between 20-25 mph with a tailwind! We could cycle like that all day long! Once in Fairplay we headed to the outskirts of town where our maps said we could free camp at the reservoir. Confused about which fork to take we stopped a car and it turned out to be the manager of The Western Inn and RV Park just up the road. He said we could camp and have a shower at his place for $12. When we got here we asked how much for a room and though his marquee said $69.95 he offered us a room with 2 doubles for $50. Mike jumped at this idea and the opportunity to soak his knees in a hot bath. We settled in around 5:30 or 6:00 P.M. and briefly contemplated walking somewhere for dinner (we already had the bike in the room and parked for the night) but by the time we had our baths we realized we were too tired to go anywhere. We opted for Ritz crackers and peanut butter, Frosted Mini-Wheats (Gregory) and oranges and apples for dinner and 2 episodes of America’s Funniest Videos.

As I finish my blog, my husband is nestled in next to me reading his book while my son just emerged from a long hot bath and is drawing a picture of us climbing Hoosier Pass. Gregory felt so good coming off that pass that he wanted to ride another umpteen miles to Canon City! It’s a good thing Mom and Dad are the voices of reason this time. We’ll sleep well tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Love the family photo on this post at the top of the pass with the Continental Divide!

    wooooo hooooooooooooooo