Thursday, March 13, 2014

Disappointment Valley Loop

With about a month out from the AZT I got back out for another overnighter with a loaded down bike. I ran a 32x18 for this trip. We had some snow in the area so the thought of any dirt road routes were out of the running in the immediate area and around Rico the snow is abundant. June is about the time we can start reaching out to the high country.

I thought of riding out toward Monticello and riding a back road over to Newspaper Rock but with a suggestion from others I decided to do a loop through Disappointment Valley. Which is a long way on a single speed. Damn. I started off in Cortez as the highway out of Rico was iced over and it was 15 degrees outside. Laura was off to Cortez to run errands and ride Phil's so it was a perfect opportunity for a ride down south. I pedaled out to Dove Creek via HWY 491, took the turn at HWY 141 hoping the headwind I had been battling for the past 30 miles would subside. I was soon passing through Egnar and onto the downhill portion of Slick Rock Hill down to the Dolores River which would bring me out to Disappointment Valley, Big Gypsum Valley and to the Basin Store where I would bivy near an information sign. Just over 80 miles down for the day. There was lots of moisture on the ground and I knew I was going to be at my limit with my sleeping gear to stay warm. I was smart enough to bring extra layers for sleeping in though and was mentally prepared for a cold one. I actually ran in place at one point before getting into my bag to warm up a bit. My left toes were a bit numb from the cold wind I had been enduring coming out of Big Gypsum Valley.

It was a long night and the temps were probably close to single digit. My tent fly was iced over inside and out when I crawled out of my bag at dawn. It was the time change as well and I had lost an hour and knew it would be cold when I crawled out of that warm bivy. I was on the bike just after 8am with the sun starting to poke it nose over the mountains. I didn't have any hot coffee to make and I kept thinking of getting to Norwood for a hot cup of Joe which was still 30 miles away.

I arrived in Norwood at 10.30am with 11o miles clicked off. I pedaled straight for the coffee shop only to find it closed on Sunday's. WTF!!! Really. Off to the market I was and found some cold canned coffee with an apple croissant type edible to eat. Than I was off pedaling toward Telluride. Down Norwood Hill and than the long slog to Lizard Head would begin. I stopped in Placerville to buy a coke, banana and heat up my breakfast burrito I had been carrying since I started. Yum! Back on the bike and pedal, pedal, pedal.

I battled Keystone Hill and than onto battle Lawson Hill which would put me up past Mountain Village with a few miles of up and down road and than a final push up to Lizard Head Pass. The 32x18 was putting the screws to me at this point. I actually walked about 30 feet going up Lizard Head Pass. Finally arrived in Rico at mile 165. What a cool route.

Dolores Rivier.

Lots of crap!

A big valley on a single speed bike.


Bivy in the basin.

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