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  • Jamey

Day 1: Bears?!?!

I had to work in Edmonton, Canada at a festival which ended on Sunday night. This meant I had to drive 20 hours in almost one day in order to start the ride on Tuesday, my birthday. I somehow managed to make the drive with little sleep arriving in Denver on  Monday at midnight. Set the alarm for 7am as I needed to get up early to pack, get resupply boxes ready to mail and change over some of my new unicycle parts (pedals, handlebars, cranks) I had ordered online and had them shipped to my address is Denver.

Of course when I woke up and started organizing everything it took much longer than expected. Wanted to start riding at 9 or 10am but didn't start until noon. My friend Amy dropped me off at the trailhead, I took a photo and posted it on Facebook, made a couple quick calls and I was off on my 36th birthday. Luckily the weather was on my side today so it didn't matter I was behind schedule.

The first 6 miles are pretty boring as it's just a fire road next to a river. Except 6 minutes into it I turn a corner and three bears are up in trees eating. There were a dozen or so people taking photos so of course I did too. One minute later I ran into a bunch of big horn sheep. What a welcome to the Colorado Trail!!!

It's like find Waldo but with a bear....

I heard a few days later that they actually closed the first section of the trail due to bears. So I left just in the knick of time.

I was in such a rush to leave that I didn't have time to eat. So an hour into the ride I stopped at a shelter, nicely named Rattlesnake (is the CT trying to scare me right off the bat?!) with a picnic table to have lunch. Dry food. Just add boiling water! Yum yum. As I ate two mt bikers passed me and stopped to talk. They were from London and were also doing the entire trail but on two wheels. Chatted for a bit and they took off.

The fire road turned into single track and it started climbing. Up up up I went. Ran into a hiker going the other way and he said the bikers warned them of a guy on a unicycle. He didn't know if he believed them or not.

My first fall of the trip, right into some bushes and down a little drop off.

Once at the top the view was incredible (although a bit smokey due to wildfires in Washington) and the downhill was too...several miles of fun all the way to the big South Platte River.

The mt bikers were just getting there when I got there. They were camping here for the night. I told them it was my birthday and they offered for me to camp with them to celebrate as they had whiskey. I was tempted but wanted to get a few miles more under my belt.

I was pretty hot and sweaty so I decided to take a birthday swim in the ice cold water before hitting the trail again. The bikers joined me as well. Very refreshing and much needed. Geared up and took off.

I was aiming to go another 6 miles but it was mostly uphill and 2 miles into it I was spent. I dragged on for another mile until I found the perfect campsite at mile 20.2.

I was moving slow but it was 7pm and not much sunlight left. Cooked dinner while setting up the tent. Spaghetti with meatballs. Tasted ok but I wasn't that hungry and felt a bit light headed from the altitude and from spending 10 minutes blowing up my stuppid sleeping pad. Forced myself to eat as much as I could but couldn't finish it. Went and hung up my food bag for bears. Then it was straight in bed. Fell asleep soon afterwards. Woke up lots during the night cause I was all sweaty and sticky from riding all day. Plus my sleeping bag was a bit too warm so all night it was hot cold hot cold.

To be continued...

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