Re-entering Colorado from Wyoming
- How were conditions? - Good conditions overall. Chilly in the mornings and descending passes, warm afternoons, some wind. Representative of typical conditions in the mountains. Snowpack is way above average, and the landscape is very lush and green.
- Did you ride the stages as you'd suggested? - Pretty much. Got off before 4am the second day, 4:10 the third, and "slept in" with a 4:35am departure this morning. Got in before dark each night, although kind of at dusk the second day (finishing over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat).
- Is the second day the toughest, as you'd expected? - Yes, it's a bit tougher than the first (all things being equal - but the vagaries of wind, etc., can tilt the tables). It took longer to do the second day's 200-or-so miles than the 220-or-so miles the day before. So you should really save yourself on the first day to have something for the second. After that it's not exactly Easy Street, but you're over the hump.
- You finished mid-afternoon - is that what we should expect? - Possibly. It took us 2h45m to climb from Walden to Cameron Pass this morning (30 miles). It was nice to have the warming sun that final bit of climb up to 10,000 ft., and to have sun a lot of the way down the descent. There was a crust of ice on some of the standing water at the pass, so that's a clue. You could start earlier (and be colder - I think we started about right). Traffic was low most of the descent.
- Any big surprises? - Not really - more like reminders of what to expect. It's a tough ride - like all 1200k's, each in its own way - but also beautiful and rewarding.