On the next two legs of the trip we were supposed to climb Cochetopa Pass, elevation 10,032 on the first leg and Carnero Pass, elevation 10,166 feet on the second. However since there was an unexpected storm at Sargents that concerned the locals, we decided to go off trail and take a long two day route to Del Norte all on pavement. The storm concerned local farmers because they have hay on the ground and they could not bale wet hay and it seemed to them that the storm and cold front was signaling an early winter which would mean they would need to hasten their plans.
For the first leg we rode 86 miles to Saguache. It was a long day in the saddle that included a climb up Cochetopa pass. Most of the ride was on the scenic 114 byway. There were few cars and we could enjoy riding and the scenery without worry of the passing cars. We had an hour long detour at a local coffee shop and consulted weather apps and even called Cricket from the Whitefish bike retreat for consultation. Cricket owns the Whitefish bike retreat and raced the Divide three times and rode it twice as a tourist (so to speak). At Del Norte is a climb up Indiana Pass, the tallest pass of the Divide at 11.9k ft. If there is rain riders should avoid riding the pass as the mud would strand riders on the pass for days as it did for Cricket. All of the effort and planning to Del Norte is to increase our likelihood of riding the pass.
My legs were tired on the way to Saguache. We had ridden a lot during the last 7 days even though we had a rest day in Salida. Erika pulled us through the day and especially after climbing the Cochetopa pass. A storm was chasing us and we were trying to make it into Saguache before it caught up with us. We could see a dusting of snow on the Sante de Cristo range 15 miles from Saguache and the temperature abruptly dropped. Erika is like the Energizer Bunny and can keep going and going. I am very grateful to have her as my best friend, spouse, and domestique! ( a domestique is a road bike racer who sacrifices and pulls for the benefit of the team and protected or lead rider). 15 minutes after arriving in Saguache the storm arrived. Rain, thunder, and wind. Luckily we stayed indoors at a motel! We believe that our moms and Nana (Erika’s grandmother) are looking out for us from beyond.