It rained most of the night and I was dreading having to wake up and ride in the rain. I was so happy when I woke up that it had stopped. Everything was still wet and I didn't like packing up my soaking wet tent but didn't have a choice. Took advantage of the toilets before I left (6 for 6!).
Gave my neighbors back the bottle of rum as I only drank half of it. Thanked them again and started to climb. I knew I had three big climbs today so it was nice to make it to the top of the first one.
Cruised downhill for a bit and did the second climb. Not too bad. Made it down to the bottom and end of the segment by 4pm. Decided to make some lunch before the last climb...the steepest and biggest one yet.
I knew it was going to suck as it was 3 miles up from 9000 to 12000 feet. That's a huge amount to climb in a short distance. I was right. It sucked and was very slow going. Like one foot a second. Super steep.
My iPod battery had died at the start of this climb so it was just me and my brain. Instead of thinking about God, death and grandparents, this time I thought a lot about MacGyver, my golden retriever dog. I miss him so much and I thought how he would have loved to be on this adventure with me. Dogs are allowed for most of the trail but I think they are supposed to be on leash.
I did consider bringing him but the miles and elevation I did each day would be way too much for him. I used to take him for muni rides with me and 7 miles was about max so he wouldn't have been able to do 25 day after day. But I still wished he was with me. I love that dog more than anything in this world right now and breaks my heart that I can't be with him or tell him why daddy isn't always there for him every day like I used to be.
Took a little break halfway up and kept going and going and going. It was getting dusk out and I was a bit concerned about running into a bear so decided to use my speaker on my iPhone to play music. Not only would this scare them away, it would give me something to listen to and motivate me to keep going.
The last half a mile was the worst. I kept looking for the top but it just kept going up. Finally I saw it and reached the top. Popped a Werther's candy in my mouth as a reward as apparently that's tradition here in CO.
Now it was 3 miles of steep downhill to camp. Even though I was tired I was surprised that I was able to ride most of it. I was having fun but it seemed like the trail would never end. I was so relieved when I could finally see the bottom. It was already 7:30pm so it was slowly getting dark out.
Set up camp at mile 216.1 pretty fast as it looked like rain clouds were moving in plus I wanted to get everything set up while there was still some light left. Made dinner, hung my food and crashed out. Pretty sure it was my longest riding day and I felt it.