Thursday, July 3, 2008

Del Norte - end of day 14

At last- a phone call from Simon!

It's been a full on few days, with no pay phones insight...

After Kremmling Simon bumped in to Mary Collier, doing the Tour Divide, she recommended going on to Breckenridge after Silverthorne- which he did, got there about 9pm Tuesday night. Took about an hour to find some accommodation though.

Wednesday he got in to Salida at about 3pm, where he stocked up on food, collected his mail drop from the post office and ran in to Carl Patten, a friend from Wellington, in the bike shop! Also at the bike shop he had to replace his custom made Ground Effect jacket that had managed to escape his "foolproof" bungy system on the back of his bike, fortunately Absolute Bikes gives a 30% discount to GDR racers.

South of Salida - climbing to Marshall Pass [Source]

Headed off from Salida by 6pm, up the long climb to Marshall Pass, at about 11 000 feet, got to the top about 9pm. Went 5 miles down the other side and camped, it was pretty cold.

Got going about 6 this morning, still really cold, but he wanted to make it to Del Norte today- tomorrow is 4th July and he wasn't sure what would be open.

Coming down the second pass this morning, going along at a fairly good clip, came around a corner and there was a mountain lion halfway across the road! A big one. Simon pulled on the anchors and as he skidded to a stop about 20 metres away the lion looked at him, and then decided to go back the way it had come in to the trees.

Descending from Marchall Pass

A thunderstorm just missed him, he could tell from a spell on the tarmac that it had been pretty wet recently. He turned off on to a dirt road and there were two vehicle tracks and one bike track. He could tell that the bike was trying to follow in the path of one of the vehicles where the soft dirt had been compressed, so he new it was pretty recent. He picked up the pace a bit and not long before the top caught up with Jenn.

Amazingly, she had his Ground Effect jacket! A guy on a motorbike had picked it up, and seeing it was a small had presumably assumed it wasn't Simon's when he passed him, had caught up to Jenn and asked if it was hers- she recognised the GE label and said she would leave it somewhere for Simon.

[Simon is using a custom made ultra-light small jacket that is tight fitting - which gives less wind resistance. PK]

When they were at the top of the pass before Del Norte a guy called Steve arrived, out for a ride. He had been cycle touring in New Zealand a while back, and in the interests of international relations offered them beds for the night. Simon has given his newly aquired jacket to Steve as koha.

Here's what the trail looks like south of Del Norte

Simon said he's been feeling fairly flat the past couple of days, but it sounds like he's been going pretty hard out. He's been very lucky with the weather, just got caught in one thunder storm after he lost his jacket, but managed to make it to a wee cabin to shelter for a while (he actually said it was quite nice being wet, cos it's been so hot). His body is holding up reasonably well, including his mind (he's glad he's got he mp3 player though) & the saddle sores are doing ok (no better, no worse).

It was good to talk to him, feels like it's been ages!


sifter said...

WOW! What an amazing post Sarah. I knew it wouldn't be long until he caught Jen. Good to see she had the jacket for him. I've got my eye on that come auction time ;) I hope you're reading the vorb comments, and relaying the tone of them to Simon. He's doing an incredible thing, with not long to go! (Actually, you're both doing an incredible thing!)

Jo said...

Mountain lions! I'm sure others are doing the sums but Simon has averaged 197kms per day up till the end of day 14. Bang on target and nothing but impressive. Give it heaps and great to get some news.