Thursday, July 4, 2013

Snow! Monarch Pass! Climbing oh my!

We started off our build day with a great breakfast at the church. There was oatmeal, granola, cranberries, brown sugar, fresh fruit, and muffins! We were staying in Buena Vista but drove to Salida about 30miles away for the build. The site was amazing! The owners will have mountains in their front yard and backyard! We mostly did framing on the house but I did some paintwork with a few others. I’ve learned a lot about construction so far since we’ve been doing various tasks at the different builds. I’m getting better at hammering! I usually stay away from any power tool but was taught how to use the big boy saw in Colorado Spring where I just made a simple cut on a board. Habitat of Salida provided us with some  great snacks too! Different types of chips, cookies, fruit, and nuts! We had a great lunch provided by a local church that had bratwurst, sauerkraut, onions, baked beans, and different toppings. I’m not a fan of sauerkraut but the bratwurst and beans were good! That evening was busy! We got back to the church in Bueno Vista where they were holding a fundraiser for the habitat for humanity. It was a huge pasta dinner and all proceeds would go straight to affordable housing! About 250 people came! The dinner was really yummy too and the folks there were so kind and just kept serving us more and more food and lemonade. I was part of the presentation crew with a few other riders. After everyone ate, we invited anyone interested to listen to our presentation and answer questions about bike and build. It went really well and I was glad to see that folks were interested and asking questions. Afterwards, a few riders were able to go rafting! While I really would have loved to experience rafting there, I opted to go to the bike shop and get my bike tuned up and ready for the mountains. The shop did a nice job and I also got another bright tail light for my bike. A few of us took a walk in the downtown area and then I went straight to beddy!

Today, we road into Gunnison! It was an 83 mile day but it was such an exciting day! We had a big climb up Monarch Pass which seemed like it lasted forever going 4-5mph and having to stop every mile to catch my breathe and drink water. I road with Meegan, Emily, and Emerson mostly and I’m not sure I would have been able to do that ride alone. Having amazing teammates to support you during a hard ride is a must! We finally made it to the top of Monarch Pass! We reached 11,300 ft in elevation which is the highest we will go! It got really cold up there and the air got thin. Once at the visitor center we got sammiches and Abbies mom was so kind and bought us all icecream! I had yummy cappuccino icecream with a turkey sammich. We explored the gift shop and I found some stickers, postcards, and doggie signs for cars! I’ve been collecting different stickers from most states and covering my bike with them! I have mostly NC, Arkansas, and many from Colorado (my favorite!) We were able to go in the cable car up to the very top of the peak where I was able to see snow! It was more so icey snow patches but still snow! We took a nap at the top on some benches for awhile and ended up staying at the visitor center for prbly 2 hours! Biking Monarch Pass was such a great accomplishment and feeling to know just how much more stronger I’ve become since Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s such a different feeling on bike than in a car and means much more to know you’ve reached the top! I layered myself up for the descend and was glad I packed some little mittens to go under my gloves to keep my fingers warmer. I can’t say the descend was great since it was really steep and had many switchbacks. It was nice to go 35mph versus 4mph but I stay pretty concentrated and tense going down and ride my back break a lot before the turns. I was leading the rear of the group and tried staying around 35pmh but jumped to 40 at moments. I took the lane and most cars notice riders going at such a fast pace and respect them with space. We booked it into Gunnison! It was a tiring day but great to get to the host. We are staying at an Ice Rink so its been interesting. We had a great dinner with lots of salads, veggies, and pizza. The local habitat here made us each a nice little brown bag with some snacks. I’ll try to post some pictures soon. I may have to borrow other riders photos too. Its hard to take pictures going uphill and its pretty hard to stop going downhill so I don’t have too many from those parts. Colorado has for sure been my favorite state! It’s so beautiful here and so much to see and do. Lots of outdoors things! Hopefully I’ll be able to come back sometime (with a car) and be able to raft, zipline, hot springs, and do other neat things that we don’t have much time to do while riding. We got mail today! I was so excited to receive about 8 letters! (I had the most mail hehe) Thank you Ginny/Ed, Tomi/Ron, Mom/Pop, Becca/Bryan, Nick, Kendyl, Janet/Hoyle for the nice cards! I really appreciate it! So uplifting to receive letters after a hard day. Happy 4th of July! We have a long ride tmrw but hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate later! Thank you for reading!  

Today was a long ride into Ridgeway. It was so beautiful though! We were riding through amazing valleys with lakes and many aspen trees I believe they are called. The sights were amazing! We also saw some mountain goats! The ride was a tough one but we got through it. Shout out to all the parents of riders reading! Sarah, Claire, and Olivia mentioned they had family reading and I’m sure there are few others! Sorry I’m short with this blog for today, I’m exhausted and need to be ready for the ride tmrw into Durango! Thanks for reading and check out the pictures!

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