May 20 - 30: Colorado

5/24 - Canon City (51 miles 2081.5 total)
canon is pronounced canyon. the true spelling has a tilde over the n, which, in spanish, makes it an 'ny' sound.
it was 60 degrees & beautifully sunny when we were having breakfast around 6 in the marriott parking lot this morning. patty had dropped a bunch o' money at the local sam's club, so our food supplies were heartily replenished....even chunky peanut butter! we haven't seen chunky peanut butter for weeks. patty says it hasn't been available in the smaller towns where she's had to shop.
we had a celebrity biking with us this morning.
in the center of the photo is tom hendricks, joan's husband (that's joan on tom's left).
he visited joan from their home in albuquerque during out layover day in pueblo & is riding with us for a couple of days. tom is a bike racer. he's been biking for 25 years & racing for 5-6. he holds the national time trial record for the 40K in his age group. he participates in 40-50 races per year & in the master's nationals every year at different locales in the US. at last year's senior olympics in florida he won 3 gold medals & 1 silver.
he told me about the huntsman world senior games that take place in st. george, utah, every year. last year's oldest participant in bike racing was ernie marinoni, then 92 years old. ernie used to be jack la lanne's trainer. as you'll see in the photo, the 3rd member of Team Tom today was judith, joan's usual riding partner on this ride.
our circuitous (but low-traffic) route out of pueblo took us along beautiful residential streets lined with lovely homes & yardsful of flowers. in particular i noticed the peonies; what a wonderful aroma they have.
we had a long slow climb not much out of pueblo. the sun warmed things up, but the skies stayed mostly cloudy much of the morning. our narrow, shoulderless road wasn't highly travelled by cars & trucks, tho' we had to be alert for the occasional ones.
here's a picture of sari nearing the top of our longest climb today. notice the beautiful valley vista out to the east. that's where we've just climbed from.
i noticed today that in the short time it took us to traverse kansas & eastern colorado, i had gotten used to biking on flat land. between the hills today & the thin air, there was some huffing & puffing going on.
near mile 30 we entered the town of wetmore; there were no services there. sari & i stopped & had some snacks then pedalled on. the sky over the mountains to the west was getting blacker & blacker & every once in a while we saw a bolt of lightning, but it didn't seem very close. some bikers later said they got caught in a rainstorm, but we didn't. winds today were mostly still, tho' once in a while we'd get some tailwinds. can't beat that combo.
soon after wetmore we came upon a pasture with some curious creatures eyeing us.
actually, their dominant feature wasn't their eyes, as you can see in the photo.
at first i thot they were burros or donkeys, but their bodies look more like horses. later at a stop in florence i asked a local fellow what those long-eared horses were. he sort of shook his head & said, "well, they do a lot of cross-breeding around here....", as if it were a source of shame. from the looks of the girth on those 2 ladies on the left, i'd say that pasture will be home to more of those creatures soon. so whatever they are, they're cute & curious & we enjoyed them.
at about 40 miles we rolled into highly-anticipated florence, site of "the pour house" coffee house that karin, sari's sister, had told us about. she & sari visited it yesterday, & in fact warned the owner that there would be a swarm of women bikers invading the next day looking for pie. we hear that the coffee house staff baked extra pies for today's expected biker influx.
notice on the chalkboard in front of the shop that the word PIE!!! has been added; that's our expert & friendly waiter, steven, standing out front.
by the time sari & i arrived, all the other bikers had eaten & left. karin had driven ahead & had the waiter save the last 2 pieces of strawberry rhubarb pie for us. sari had a blackberry shake with hers & i had chai made with soy milk (for the 2nd day in a row; i'm loving this).
in the photo you see sari (right) & her sister karin, & you can also see those perfect pieces of pie. the crust was delicious & so was the filling.
sari's sister karin lives in keystone. she drove to pueblo on monday to visit sari for the layover day. they went sightseeing yesterday along our route for the next couple of days, including the royal gorge (which will be a side trip tomorrow). today, karin, an avid photographer, took pictures as we ate breakfast & often along the road. she left us at florence but will be back now & again along our route for the next few days. thoughtful person that she is, she brought some fresh, still-warm apricot scones from the steel city cafe in pueblo for sari & me to enjoy about 10 miles out on the road this morning. thank you, karin, for spoiling us so royally!
most everyone rode into canon city by early afternoon....some by late morning. by the time sari & i got to the motel, many earlier riders had done their hand wash. they put luggage racks out onto the little rock patios outside each room's sliding glass doors. on the luggage racks were bike shorts, sports bras, kerchiefs, biking socks....all hung out to dry along the front driveway of this motel. it wasn't hard for passersby to figure out what kind of group had descended on the town.
tomorrow we ride only 34 miles, but in those 34 miles we climb over 4000 feet. at florence we were just above 6000 feet, but we've descended to about 5600 here at canon city. tomorrow night's stop, guffey, is just over 9000 feet, fairplay (fri) around 10,000, then saturday it's up over hoosier pass & the continental divide, the highest point on the transamerica trail at 11,542 feet. we'll cruise down the other side of that pass to overnight at breckenridge under 10,000 feet. i'm getting tired & sore just writing about it.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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