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  • Jamey

Day 15: NO BRAKES!

Waking up in the morning is always the worst and hardest part of the day. Cold and everything is damp. Today was no exception. But I wanted to get an early start as I had a lot of climbing today and would be above tree line for a good portion of the day.


Was packed and on the trail by 8am so off to a good start. 3 miles in at a trail-head I saw a toilet. Wasn't in my data book but I'll use it anyway. Filled up my water and continued on.

I love signs like this as it means unicycles are OK because legally in Colorado a unicycle is not considered a bicycle.;)


From here it is was 9 miles all uphill with almost 3000 ft of elevation gain. It was slow going as some of the terrain was rocky and muddy. I finally made it to the top around 1pm.

Along the way I was passing a bunch of pine trees that were dead but all still standing...thousands of them. Really weird but it's due to beetles that have been a problem in this area.


The views at the top of the pass were incredible and I now saw what was to come. Lots of mountains all above tree line with several passes. I was only a mile away and 1000 feet of taking a side trail to the top of a 14er. Was tempted but opted not to as I needed to stay on schedule.


Down I went into these beautiful treeless Rocky Mountains. Then up and over another pass where I could see more of what was to come. Back down and up another pass. The views were great but the climbing was starting to wear me down.


By the time I made it down to the end of the segment my brakes were making a funny noise. I stopped to have a look. I'll admit that disc brakes are totally new to me and I have no idea how they work or how to adjust them. Probably should have did some research before I left.


I actually had new double hole KH cranks 110/137's that I wanted to install before I left but I didn't have time. My friend Amy brought them with when she met up with me but I was too afraid of messing something up and having to ride brake-less that I decided to not put them on. If it's not broken don't fix it, right?


So after looking at them I was pretty sure my brake pads were worn and it was pretty much metal to metal. I took out a screw and the pads came out. Sure enough that was the issue.  #$%%#$$$#@&*#@!%$


Of course it didn't even occur to me to bring spare pads as they were brand new when I started but I guess with all the downhill I've been doing they don't last long.


Looked in my book for the nearest town. It will have to be Lake City but that's not until the end of the next segment...15 miles away. Oh well. Looks like I'll be doing it old school style without brakes. Aspen Mike would be proud.


I had another big climb up and over another pass so I did that. At the top I decided to switch my pedal holes from 137mm to 165mm as this would give me more leverage and stopping power.


Tried riding down a few sections but was way too steep and bumpy especially without brakes. I realized just how much I depended on my brakes and how much easier they made the downhills. My legs are strong for climbing but are weak for stopping.


So I ended up walking most of the downhill. A bit frustrating but to be honest I don't think I could have rode much of it anyways even with a working brake.


Up until now I hadn't seen one person all day. Would today be the day I go without seeing anyone? Nope. Soon I passed a lady camping and then a couple hiking the opposite way. I also saw a bunch of these animals.


Then I saw a tent setup near where I set up camp for the night at mile 346.6. Made some chicken BBQ rice, hung food and by now it was getting pretty cold out so crawled into my warm sleeping bag. Read some of my book and it was lights out.

Trying to dry my tent and some of my other gear.

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