I looked at the map this morning and realized I had made a mistake in the route plan. The trip to Walden, which I had said was going to be 65 miles, was actually going to be closer to 80 miles. With that in mind, we hurried through our hunny bun breakfasts (Yes, I did convince my father to have a hunny bun for breakfast. No, there was not a threat of violence involved) and hit the road.
We cruised the first 20 miles, first downhill and then through a really neat canyon to our real breakfast destination – Hot Sulphur Springs. We noticed another touring bike outside as we walked into the cafe, ready to resume eating.
Once inside, we immediately recognized the other bike tourist and chatted across a few tables before inviting him to join us. Jay was in the race (the technical term for such person I believe being a racer, not a racist) but was taking his time more than some of the other racers. He had entered into the race because he wanted something organized, but was not going for speed. (With that said he was still looking to cross in roughly 30 days!)
Jay, it turns out, was also from New York, although he lived upstate in Buffalo. He was not an avid cyclist he said, rather had been a triathlete in college and had just recently gotten back into biking. We enjoyed a nice conversation with him about spots along the route and his family – he had a son who lived just a few towns over from our hometown – over some incredibly good pancakes (made all the better by the maple syrup my father was sure to bring along). Eventually, he finished up and was on his way.
We finished up shortly after and continued the push onward. First riding down hill and then beginning what would be a 25 mile climb. It was pleasantly graded at first and we rode side by side chatting with each other (and a few others coming in the other direction) as we climbed.
After a while, however, the climb became steeper and we went back to silent riding. We continued in this manner for miles as we continued to climb and, eventually, we reached the top and crossed the continental divide – this time crossing back to the Atlantic side. After pausing for some pictures we enjoyed a great few miles of straight downhill.
The rest of the day was downhill as well, but plagued with strong headwinds. By the time we rolled into camp – a city park in Walden – we were beyond ready for the day to be over.
There were 6 other cyclists in the park (2 older couples and a pair of girls closer to my age), but everyone was oddly antisocial – already in their tents at 6:00 when we rolled in. We soon found out why – bugs! There was a mosquito infestation in the park so right after dinner we too scurried into our tents to call it a night.
Elevation gained: 3,500 ft
Pancake rating: 9 / 10