Day 32: Radium – Dillon, CO

Miles: 71

Climbing: 6129 ft

Planning a rest day for tomorrow, I was ready to get today over with. I packed up my super wet tent and got going pretty early.

The day started with a pretty moderate climb out of the valley where we had camped, and quickly transitioned into a mega-climb along the rocky faces of the Colorado River Valley. The scenery was really striking, as I felt like I was riding on the edge of a cliff.

The area is a big rafting spot, so the morning included a lot of traffic, as vans dropped rafters off at the put-in spot and then returned empty. Again and again and again.

The morning was tiring, and I think I had climbed over 2000ft while only about 10 or 12 miles in.

After leaving the valley, I continued along toward the Williams Fork Reservoir, then turned south, eventually entering the Arapaho National Forest as I prepared to climb Ute Pass, the “big climb” of the day.

A few miles from the beginning of the big climb, it started raining. I took shelter under a tree and decided to try yesterday’s trick of a trailside coffee to get me rolling (and to kill time while a thunderstorm passed). Just to disabuse you of any notions of enjoyable coffee, I’ll point out that I’m drinking lukewarm/room temperature instant coffee in these scenarios. It’s honestly disgusting, but it does the trick.

Gaelan, who had started out a bit after me in the morning, caught up with me, similarly struggling with the climbing. He was considering calling it for the day and camping a few miles up. After getting some tea and taking a break, he caught me on the big climb.

Ute Pass was unique from other big passes and Divide crossings I’ve done in two ways: First, the whole thing was paved. Nice. Second, it was home to this HUGE mining operation. It really takes some of the magic out of the scenic remote climbing when you look over to see a giant field of mining runoff in one direction, and monstrous industrial buildings in the other.

Nevertheless, we made it over the pass, and were rewarded with a PAVED super fast (kinda scary fast) descent and the classic mountain views one can only hope to find after climbing 5000ft.

After the big descent, there was a cruel 9-mile very gradual climb into Silvethorne, and we were tiiiiiired. We made it into Silverthorne and made our way up to our amazingly gracious and generous hosts, Sandy and Kevin. It was super duper nice to be staying in a bed with a shower and all the amenities of home. Plus, Sandy made us food and the house had a gorgeous view. Thanks Dycus’s!!!

Day 33 was a rest day in Dillon!

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