Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag English language
26 augustus 2017
GNARLY. I learned that this means: “very steep terrain in which you have to push your bike up vertically through a path that is more of a river bed than an actual path with lots of rocks. Be prepared to suffer and incidentally grab tree roots when you slip. But, the flowers on the side of the path are colorful so you have something to take your mind of the pain in your arms, back and legs.” This was not a complete surprise, the guidebook kind of gave it away, “The day begins with a gnarly, eye-opening 4-mile ascent – the last 1.6 miles of which are particularly grueling – to the watershed …” The word grueling, I know...
LOFTIEST. This means: “don’t worry, even though this pass is 11,482 feet, back in the days we thought it was a good idea to build a railway over this pass. It took us forever, but we used it for a while so it payed itself back. But oh man, you should see the snow-blowing locomotive that we put for display at the start of the uphill, can you imagine how hard it was to make trains go up here in winter and keep the pass snow free? We had to use some dynamite too. At some point, we realized it was better to put the railway elsewhere and we removed the rails. Now there is a nice path with an easy angle, so that you can give your smallest gears a rest and just joyfully make your way up to this elevation and brag to everybody about how easy this was.”
GUMBO. This means: “have you watched episodes from the British program about building houses? And then specifically the one about building a mud house? Apparently, if you mix mud with hay you get this concrete like substance that if you let dry becomes so strong you can build walls out of it. Well, the mud here is the same. And if you’re silly enough to attempt entering New Mexico with fenders (why would you do such a thing), be prepared to suffer and take them off on the trail, because the mud will glue the fenders to your wheels and there is no rolling wheels anymore. Well, at least you have a Rohloff hub, so you can smile at people with normal gear and watch them lose their ability to shift within the second, while you quietly proceed to the gear you want”. This mud situation I somewhat saw coming, as the guidebook said here: “The latter, when saturated, with rain, transform into an awful, wheel-sucking gumbo, so if the weather is wet you’ll want to detour on …” I wasn’t fully aware what “wet weather” means, in the Netherlands it’s pretty clear, but I didn’t expect rains like that here in desert like surroundings. Apparently though it can, but for the moment the weather consists of clouds that sometimes turn into thunder in the evening. You can watch it coming. It may or may not hit you, the clouds are not too big. If it hits and it starts raining, then where you are at that moment is where you’ll camp tonight, because there is no continuing (unless you’re on one of the short, paved sections). These short, 2 hour rain periods only cause temporarily gumbo, so the next morning roads will have dried and be somewhat passable again.
There are some other phrases in the guidebook that make the anticipation worst then the actual situation is.
TOUGHEST. “The descent from Fleecer is one of the two or three thoughest hills to negotiate on the entire route – and that includes uphills and downhills.” This actually meant: “give up biking and just walk this path down. That will already be difficult enough. The path itself would not be walkable without a bicycle, all the loose rocks will just make you glide down. Probably on a sled it will be somewhat fun. But with a bicycle, the only way is to walk on the side through the bushes. If you’re smart you do this after the official race, so that the racers have made sort of a path that you can follow.” But in the end, going down is always easier to go up, no matter what. I’ve heard that people who are going South to North on the route and decide to not take the alternative over Fleecer, have to walk up and down a couple of times to first bring their luggage, then their bike. But, the camping and view up there are beautifull…
THE BIG DAY. Indiana Pass, at 11,910 feet of elevation is the high point of the Great Divide route and it is “no picnic.” This meant: “We didn’t bother making a railway to go over this pass, bad luck suckers! You’ll just have to crunch your legs for 7 miles, but you’d like this to be memorable, won’t you? I’ll promise you a nice hail shower at the top as a reward. Oh, and if you think it’s all downhill from there, wrong. We have some nice little climbs after that, just to make sure that you feel your legs tonight.” But, when I was there, we got to the top with a group of people who had run into each other on previous days and all ended up being there somewhat at the same time, due to different starting times in the morning, speeds of climbing, weight on the bikes, and resting durations. We decided to camp together in a beautiful sub-alpine meadow, build a fire and hang out to give ourselves a rest while appreciating the efforts of the day, the nature and the company of total strangers who suddenly have become buddies by just being there at the same time and place experiencing the same things.
Interesting, how we are all super different and want to get different things out of this experience. There is me, I want to cycle 6 – 7 hours a day, make myself physically tired but not too tired. I want to also take time to talk to the squirrels, and smell the flowers. I want to be away from news and contact so that I’m emerged in nature for as long as I can, and learn to understand and deal with the weather, road, wild life, and mud, and just be in the moment. There are others, who want to cycle at least a certain huge number of miles a day, be as light and uncomfortable as they can to test their limits. Some eat out when they can, and sleep inside when they can. Some travel at night. Some smoke weed at each pass, since that is legal in Colorado. Others spend hours finding edible plants to eat for dinner. Some venture off trail a lot to see cities and other points of interests in the vicinity. And that is all good, there is no one way to cycle this trail, but there seems to always be room for a friendly chat when we meet.
Foto's bij verslag (6)
28 augustus 2017 11:15 | Door: Ton van der Weerd
A VERY SPECIAL GIRL= Annette Boerlage!!