I woke up at Hostel Fish not ready to leave the comfort of the place… But that changed once everyone started waking up, sucking the comfort out of the place right away. Quite a few partiers were staying there…it was kinda cute and all to see them repeatedly introduce themselves to each other because they were too wasted on god-knows-what beyond the copious amounts of alcohol and marijuana in this town to remember they’d already done it three times, but I was ready to move on.
Not without a bike portrait next to the elevator though!
I love my bike. Now more than ever.
And then it was on the trail out of Denver, headed south towards Larkspur. The trail system was fantastic, and it took me near quite a few office parks:
See what I mean?
Maybe it’s because I’ve been out here so long without seeing these suburban fixtures but they seem really, really weird to me. Their uniformity and imposing presence outside the city center made me feel very uneasy. There’s a lot of things like that out here; the more I’m on the road, the more my perspective of the world changes. I can’t really find a way to articulate it but it’s been on my mind since the first weeks of the tour.
But beyond the suburban cubicle farms there are absolutely breathtaking views of mountains that I got to take in like I never have before with my legs spinning beneath me, my bike gliding over the landscape, and my lungs gasping for air.
I could tell I was going up in elevation. I didn’t know for a fact that I was, but I’ve become so tuned into what my body is doing all day that I could sense I was getting less air.
And oh was I! It turned out I went up in elevation about 1000 feet on the day. With less air getting in me came less energy. It was a difficult day that would have been cake if I were several thousand feet closer to sea level. I took a lot of breaks to just slow down to catch my breath but it only did so much good.
The main trail for the day was the Cherry Creek Trail, part of the Front Range Trail system that will eventually run along the eastern edge of the Rockies from Wyoming to New Mexico.
There were plenty of suburban developments that seemed just as weird to me as the office parks. I don’t really see this stuff anymore.
But also prairie dogs!
Zooming in doesn’t do the little guy justice. There were a bunch of them scurrying about, parting in front of my encroaching wheels like waves. But after a quarter mile or so they were gone. Too bad, they put a smile on my face.
As did this sign:
“Hazardous conditions may exist”… so basically, “things happen”?
The trail would occasionally go back to crushed gravel:
And then it went UP.
It may not look like much. Pictures of inclines rarely do justice to the reality. But this hill had me weezing like crazy.
Eventually the road took me through Castle Rock:
I’m going to go ahead and assume that the town was named after this geological wonderfulness.
The road went on, as it always does, to my destination for the night:
I’ve always thought it’s hilarious that Hanna-Barbera is in the family campground racket, but I’ve never been to one. It was conveniently located between Denver and Colorado Springs, so I had to take in the Yogi Bear corniness.
I was all giggles decompressing before I went in to get a tent spot for the night:
Which I got, complete with a rear view mirror tag for my brake cable:
I wish I could tell you it was a good experience. It wasn’t really. It was very expensive, nearly $40 just to pitch my tent. I’m getting pretty tired of paying top dollar for a peice of land smaller than a queen size bed. I don’t get any benefit from campground amenities. I even asked if there was any way I could do laundry and they wouldn’t help me. That didn’t sit well with me, not the least reason of which was that I couldn’t do it at Hostel Fish either. I’d had filthy clothes for days but getting them clean would have to wait.
I did get some cool views of the tepees around sunset though:
And then I was out, resting for the 50 mile push to Manitou Springs the next morning.