June 13, 2001

6/13/01 Breckenridge, CO

24 miles

It's snowing outside while I write this. Can you believe it? Snowing! A cold front moved in last night and there is a winter advisory for tonight. Decided to call it a short day and get a roof over my head.

The mountain view from Monte's front door

Woke up this morning with the sun streaming in my window. As we got up, Monte was making French toast in the kitchen. I discovered a light dusting of snow outside when I got the bike out of the garage. And you could see the mountains were all white above tree line. Breakfast was great! Monte has been an incredible host.

These temperatures are so different than I've been used to. I mean, it was 101 degrees three days ago when I rode through Canon City. Monte said we were lucky because there wasn't any wind this morning, but that it looked like a storm might be coming over the pass. So in this freezing weather, I bundled up. Sure glad I kept my ski gloves.

It's up and over

I'm a little worried about Damian. He doesn't seem quite prepared for this trip. He's having trouble with the altitude, especially on the climbs. He's biking in sandals, and this morning he didn't even have any socks (I would have given him a pair, but I didn't find out until after). I feel I need to look out for him, but then, he's an adult, even though a young one.

The ride from Fairplay to Alma was a seven-mile bike path that followed the highway. Very nice, especially since it looks like we've lost our shoulder on these high altitude highways. After Alma, it was 4 miles UP! I kept it steady, but had to pull over pretty frequently because of the traffic. Monte said that it's so expensive to live in Summit County that a lot of people live in places like Fairplay and Kremmling and commute. The views were great and the snow just added to the spectacle. But, as I climbed, the wind picked up and the temperature got colder because of the cloud cover. I might have been warmer except that I was sweating because of the effort.

I saw the sign for Hoosier Pass (11,542') off to the left. It had started to snow, so I didn't linger. While the ride up was pretty straight, the descent was full of switchbacks. I rode a lot on the gravel shoulder in an attempt to slow the bike down. My hands were getting cramps from holding the brakes. I hoped the rims didn't get too hot because of the cold temperature. I hardly pedaled during the 10-mile drop down into the valley.

It's all downhill from here!

I had hoped that once in Breckenridge it would be warmer with a little more sun. But by the time I came out of the library, the clouds had descended on the city. I saw Damian and told him I was stopping for the day because of the coming storm.

As I stepped into the Fireside Inn, a bed & breakfast and hostel, it had started to snow. Nickie and Andy welcomed me amid the noise of their daughter, Robyn, playing with the dog. Nickie said they had just bought the place in January and still had a lot of work to do on it. Because I was on a fundraising ride, they offered me breakfast at no charge. Cool!

The Fireside Inn

After getting settled in, I headed over to the Columbine Café for a bit of lunch. My waitress, Angel, saw my cross-country book and asked about the trip. All the while, it's still snowing outside.

Spent most of the afternoon meeting the others here at the hostel. There's Chris from Boulder, out for a week of biking. And Kirsten has been backpacking all over the place, driving in between. John is working in Keystone, using the hostel as a temporary home.

The snow is still coming down heavy, as I run a few errands, like getting a new tire. It's almost whiteout conditions. The buildings and trees are just covered with snow. One person told me it's been four years since it had snowed in June in town.


When I got back, Kirsten, Damian, and I headed for dinner at Rasta Pasta. Actually, great food; lots for the price, too. Had to stop by the store for Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Mmmmm good.

Back at the hostel, I had a nice chat with Nickie about moving to the states, buying a hostel, and everything else. Andy is retired British military. Nickie hopes they'll stay here until Robyn gets out of school. They've done a lot of work on the place. It should have many good years ahead.