As you can tell from the title, a lot has gone down in the last 48 hours.
First things first: we met up with our favorite bikers (Tom and Alison) in Frisco where Alison’s cousin’s girlfriend’s dad had a huge cabin. Beth (the girlfriend) fixed us a delicious meal while we watched a slide show of the pictures from Alison’s camera on the big screen. It was awesome because I have not been taking as many pictures as I hoped to (sometimes its just too hard or dangerous to take pics in traffic) and it seemed like Alison managed to take all those that I wished I had and more. It was like reliving the whole trip as we watched their slide show. She has quite a talent for catching ridiculous signs (like, “private sign, don’t read”), which made for lots of laughs during the show.
After our delicious meal we downed some Ben and Jerry’s and then Ale brought out her uk and played a couple of songs. Luckily she did well (our stay at the house was dependent on her performance), so we were able to sleep in the room we had previously dumped all our stuff in. We slept like babies in a big comfortable bed and were so grateful for the warmth. (sidenote: the night before we woke up in below 30 weather and were shaking the whole time we packed up our site).
The next morning we had a delicious meal downtown Frisco, which is one of my new favorite places. (another sidenote: I could see myself living in Frisco or Breckenridge in a second; they are awesome!) The meal was wonderful and we eventually said our goodbyes after running into some more cyclists (Gary and Steffen), who we were also really excited to see again.
The ride between Silverthorne (town before Frisco), Frisco, and Breckenridge was by far the most gorgeous route I have taken so far. It was a bike path that went up and down along a beautiful reservoir, weaving in and out of trees, and it was smoothly paved the whole way. It even gave speed limit recommendations for the turns, which I almost always followed. I loved every second of it.
Breckenridge was awesome, but we just road slowly through the downtown before we started up the huge mountain. We had ten miles until the pass and we were both quietly nervous about it, so we silently biked up 9. It began to rain, and then the wind started up, and pretty soon, it was thundering. Of course, I thought. What would an epic mountain pass be without the surrounding extras. As the wind and rain began to worsen and the grade got steeper, I decided to wait for Ale and we ended up biking the last 4 miles together. We stopped once after a huge incline around one of the bends. I was so grateful Ale called for me to stop because I literally thought I was going to fall off my bike and pass out. My legs and arms were shaking and I was having difficulty breathing. Anytime I took a sip of water, I spent the next couple minutes trying to catch my breath. So the short break we took I downed my Gatorade and felt a lot better. We had another half mile to go, so we powered up the hill and then stopped briefly to take pictures at the top.
At this point my fingers were completely numb and my gloves were soaked through. I just thought to myself, I will tough it out down the hill and recover later. Not so much. We started down the hill and I had even more trouble breathing on the downhill than I did on the uphill (it was like the roller coaster, can’t catch my breath sensation). My fingers started to become extremely painful and I was losing the ability to squeeze my brakes so I pulled off at the nearest place I could. I had about 30 seconds to feel bad for myself before I realized that if I waited any longer I was not going to be able to make it down the hill. I pulled off my gloves (not as easy as it sounds with numb hands and soaked gloves), blew hot air on my fingers, tucked my hands into my sleeves and got back on my bike. I think that was the first time on this trip that I really questioned whether or not I was going to be ok. I started immediately thinking of all the things I was grateful for and reminded myself to inhale and exhale as I flew down the hill. I raced down at about 35 / 40 mph and got to the next town, Alma, in no time. Ale was right behind me and was close to tears as well. We set our bikes against a fence and literally ran into the nearest saloon. I have never been happier with a cup of coffee.
We sat in the saloon for hours, eating soup and drinking hot water and coffee. I changed into my dry warm clothes and just felt such gratitude to be dry and warm. I also put on my new jacket, which I no longer felt guilty about buying. It was definitely worth every penny at that moment.
When we came out of the saloon to continue down to Fairplay, we saw Gary and Steffen. We knew from the look on their face that their experience up and down the pass was similar to ours. We shared a moment talking about how horrible the weather conditions had been and then we all started towards Fairplay. It was completely down hill and we were there in less than an hour. I love when that happens.
After the traumatic experience on the pass, Ale and I had agreed to get a hotel or motel to recover. We explored Fairplay a little and finally decided on a cute old fashion bed and breakfast place. The rooms were all different and had names like, Indian, Grandma Hand, Naturalist, etc. We picked the Indian room because it had two raised beds and cool colors. We made a point of getting separate beds so we could have our own space and spread out our stuff.
As I finished checking in I asked the owner for the wifi password. She told me it was “Haunted Hotel,” so naturally I asked if the hotel was haunted. She responded by pulling out a thick binder full of articles and photos of all the ghost sightings they had had there. Ummm sweet. She told us all about the different ghosts and how the Grandma Hand ghost had thrown pots and pans around the kitchen when she didn’t clean it well enough. So, Ale and I did not leave each other’s sight the whole time we were there… so much for space. We ended up sleeping in the same bed each clutching a pillow for dear life. We jolted at every noise and light flickering. I think we may have slept a total of 3 hours. Yay recovery night!