Start: Denver, CO
Finish: Limon, CO
Weather: 90 degrees, sunny, afternoon thunderstorms
Bike Time: 9 hours
Distance to date: 359
“What’s past is prologue.” Wm. Shakespeare, The Tempest
Today the real journey began, and it was complete in every sense.
My brother Tim started the day with me. We biked 42
miles out of Denver, along the beautiful Cherry Creek Trial, until it ended before the map indicated and we struck out on county roads using the sun as our guide, climbing through gentle horse country until we hit highway 86 and headed east to Elizabeth.
After lunch Tim went back to Denver and I struck east on 86 by myself – 53 miles to Limon. I shed the Rockies behind me. The landscape was the ancient seabed that formed this area, the land rolling waves, the cottonwoods in creek beds anemone at the bottom, the clouds whitecaps above. I must have traversed twenty or more swales, pedaling to the top, cresting, and surfing the pavement on straightaway descents. Each swale got a little broader, a little flatter, a little more barren, until finally, by the time I reached Limon, the waves were spent. The Rockies had met the shore.
There was road construction along the way. The traffic
guards took delight in this lone cyclist, and waved me through each one lane segment, holding up the few other vehicles there were so that I could keep moving. Where there was no construction the road was pitted and bumpy, as I approached
Limon a cross wind picked up and whistled thorough my spokes; on the penultimate crest my rear tire went flat. I walked to a dirt crossing and changed the tire. In the 20 minutes it took to do it (it was my first time) the hot day turned cool, the wind grew fierce, and thunderstorms
developed all around. I got back on the bike before even a drop hit me but still had fifteen miles to go. For the next hour I rode in the donut hole of the scattered storms – distant rain and thunder but very little on me.
When I checked in to the Safari Inn ($58 including Wi-Fi, continental breakfast and a swimming pool the size of a panel truck) the clerk told me they had a drenching downpour
just before I arrived. Lucky me!
- The Ancient Sea Bed of eastern Colorado