Location: Pueblo, CO (Lake Pueblo State Park)
Last night was as expected, cold but bearable. My sleeping bag failed to keep me warm as temperatures dipped into the twenties. At some time in the night, probably early morning, the cold woke me. My feet, chest, shoulders, and face were cold. I quickly decided there was no hope for my sleeping bag to keep me warm, so I pulled all my clothes out of my makeshift pillow and put most of them on. My shirt and two jackets, my long johns, and my socks. I wore my beanie as usual, and I cinched my bag around my head so only my nose and mouth were exposed. I was still cold, but I fell back asleep. Brian rattled me away with several raps on my tent come morning. When I close my sleeping bag’s mummy head around my eyes, it blocks all the light, so I don’t wake up with the sun. I never see the growing light or morning through my eyelids.
I reluctantly crawled out of my sleeping bag into the frosty morning. The cold air rushed into my lungs, and I was immediately awake. I went to work packing my gear, leaving some of it to dry in the sun and wind. I ate my breakfast: a couple pop-tarts, a cereal bar, and a Clif Bar. I even had some Red Hots. We said goodbye to Warren who was painting his porch and we headed out on the road, bound for warmer temperatures. When we left, I had several layers of clothes on, even my beanie squished underneath my helmet. We had twenty miles of gradual downhill to Cannon City, and the air and wind were bitter cold.
My fingers never gained feeling on the twenty miles. I never broke a sweat because I never really worked. So I didn’t remove any clothing. I was bundled up like I was going skiing as I made my way down the mountain. It certainly felt like a southern winter though it was in fact a mountain summer. Once we descended a little in elevation, the air warmed, but the wind blew at us all day and we dealt with the dreaded rough payment. Even more so than wind, nothing works more against our progress than this rough pavement. It slows us, rattles us, and wears on our patience.
We hammered out almost eighty miles to the west edge of Pueblo. For the last twenty or so, I just put my head down and pedaled. I didn’t stop to take pictures, have snacks, or even wait for Brian to catch up. I just pushed through the wind and over the rolling hills, finally arriving at the reservoir.
The evening is warm and I made contact with home, talking on the phone for over thirty minutes. A hurricane, Hannah, approaches the Triangle, and Chris and family have joined mom and dad at their house to wait out the storm. Katie and Sarah are hunkered down on Mills Street with a bottle of wine, also waiting out the storm. Two thousand miles away though, Brian and I finally have some pleasant weather, albeit overcast and threatening.