May 20 - 30: Colorado

5/27 - Breckenridge (22 miles 2182.5 total)
what a beautiful day. we awoke to a sparkling blue sky & bright sunshine; temps were probably in the mid-40's---warmer than we were expecting. skies had cleared overnight & we could clearly see the gorgeous white mountains that seemed to have been newly blanketed with snow overnight.
here's the view from our motel parking lot; that's gretchen & dollie getting ready to ride. sari & i took off around 8.
my roommates last night--barb ramsey & lin--& i spent quite a bit of time this morning strategizing bikewear for the day's ride. we knew we'd get warm riding uphill for 12 miles to the summit, but then we knew it would be mighty cold at the top, then cold some more as we descended 10 miles to breckenridge. we did a pretty good job, as it turned out. we didn't sweat too much going up & didn't freeze everything going down.
we were lucky enuf to have a lovely bike path the 6 miles to alma. it went right along the highway;
that's phyllis riding on the path as we left fairplay. notice the row of snowy-white peaks along the horizon.
after alma we had to vie for space on the highway with a host of holiday travelers. the incline wasn't too bad & we didn't have any hairpin curves on the way up....just a few easy turns. here are some of us beaming with joy at our arrival at the summit of hoosier pass.
from left it's lee, me, judy, sari, & sarah.
we waited a bit for the last riders to reach the pass. unfortunately, rose hadn't felt well on her way up to the pass & by the time she reached it she was quite ill with altitude sickness...nausea, headache, & shortness of breath. patty fainer (a nurse in her nonbiking life) quickly sized up the situation & had carol, today's subaru driver, take rose down to breckenridge immediately. patty rode along to make sure rose was OK. rose has walked around town this afternoon & feels better this evening, but has already decided she won't try biking over teton pass.
riding down was lots trickier than riding up. there were several hairpin turns & several of the descents were quite steep. i really crept.
what a surprise along the way to have sari's aunt edna & uncle max dercum overtake us by car. we stopped & they enjoyed a mini reunion. sari's sister karin had met us at the summit & followed us on down the mountain.
here's a photo of, from left, karin, uncle max, sari, & aunt edna.
edna & max dercum moved from pennsylvania to colorado in 1941. max had already founded ski clubs at cornell, then at penn state, where he was on the forestry faculty. by 1946 the dercums founded arapahoe basin ski area, with their lodge, ski tip, at its center. later, around 1970, with backing from ralston purina among other supporters, they developed the keystone ski area. both edna & max are accomplished competitive skiers. only in the last couple of years have they stopped competing on the international master's ski circuit, often racing former olympic skiers. max is now 87, edna is 85. what an inspiration they are!
once we got past the steepest & crookedest part of the descent we ended up on a gently sloping roadway into breckenridge. what a built-up & commercial area it is...but of course the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. we made our way to the tyra condos where we're staying. each condo has 4 bedrooms; there are 7-9 of us in each. they have full kitchens, fireplaces, decks, 3 baths, & even after we park all our bikes inside, they're quite roomy.
once we dropped off our bikes & gear several of us walked downtown (2 blocks) to the main drag. we lunched at the columbine cafe....great food. we're planning to go back there for breakfast. barb & i have already picked our breakfast for tomorrow....eggs & trout.
this evening patty fixed pork roast with a wonderful fresh mushroom/dried tomato sauce on it, taboulleh (sp?), steamed veggies, & baked polenta. for dessert she made strawberry cobbler. everything was spectacular. after supper the new group of bikers we picked up at pueblo sang a song they had composed in tribute to the rest of us; it was clever & we appreciated it.
sari's sister karin had told us about a folk-singer who would be performing at a cellar pub downtown this evening. barb, patty fainer, & i walked down after the map meeting. the singer is john novotny, a family therapist in breckenridge. john is blind; he lost his sight to cancer when he was very young. his sister sang with him; she became blind the same way at the same age. john now is battling a brain tumor. john is talented not only musically but athletically. for many years he has been the top blind skier in the country. sari said it is difficult for john to find guide skiers who are expert enough to descend the slopes with him.
we're looking forward to NOT setting the alarm tonight. at least 2 more days of beautiful weather are forecast for this area....perfect for enjoying a layover day tomorrow.
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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