GDMBR2 – DAY8

Considering the altitude, the morning temperature was reasonable. No frost. Everyone seemed to have recovered from the challenge of day 1, though the breakfast was quiet. The first half of the ride was spectacular and pretty easy. We rode along a river sprinkled with fly fishermen. A volunteer doing trail work said the rivet yielded 19 inch average brown trout. No wonder they’d drive miles along a bumpy gravel road. We pushed up a short climb to the top of the reservoir. Coincidentaly, two Divide riders from the south and two riding our direction all converged at the same time. Weirder yet, the two northbound and one of the southbound riders had met last year while riding the TransAm ride. Dam meeting. We rode a pathway around the reservoir for 3 miles. Very nice. Then there was a little climbing… Today was also the day of a little event called the total eclipse. Paul and Angie work for NASA and handed out special viewing glasses to everyone at our orientation. We found ourselves (after a massive climb) at an overlook of the Colorado River and a town (a stretch) called Radium. We took a lunch break, pulled out our glasses and savored the moment. I can’t say it got dark, more muted. The valley looked like Los Angeles smog had settled in. Eclipse watching geeks. Tbe route drops 1300 feet in about 3 miles to the river. It was a white knuckle, disc brake searing bumpy thrill ride. At the bottom, our reward was ice cream bars at the rafting office and a chat on the porch with possibly the only resident of Radium and his two border collies. They watched is intently, looking for an opportunity to move us along. We were in no hurry because we knew we had an absolutely horrendous climb back up out of the valley in a now full sun. It was awful. The grade was a steady 6.5 to 7 percent and I resorted to weaving back and across the road to try to reduce the effective slope. I stopped three times to prevent my heart from exploding. A brief rest at the top, a screaming descent and do it all over again. The Big Horn Sheep are safe, no kill shots on the sign. Tbe next climb took us to Inspiration Point, overlooking the Colorado River. We weren’t home yet, more climbing before finally descending into Kremmling, the Red Mountain RV Park and our home for the night. I told you about the helicopter at the High School… A Cobra Attack Helicopter from the Vietnam War. The park had hot showers and the Kum-and-Go made pizza, surprising good pizza. Our concern was for Sid and Josh. We had arrived around 4, they didn’t arrive until around 7. The pizza’s were still warm and frankly looked better. Still, we couldn’t feel too smug, another Divide rider, Jordan, rolled in, riding with tennis shoes on platform pedals, looking fresh as a daisy and said he’d left from Steamboat that morning, having ridden what we did in two hard days… Sid promised us tomorrow would be more”mellow”. Sure.

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