Trans America Trail: The Blindside

Jul 24, 2014 View Comments by

Trans America Trail: The BlindsideIt’s our first full day ride together and we are getting a late start. I have been up for a while, but have yet to see my riding partner. Maybe he has a bit of altitude sickness, or it’s the spirit of my dad keeping things at a slow and easy pace, or possibly it was one too many getting to know you beers. I finally see Luke for a few moments, offer up some coffee, but it is clear; we will not be hitting the trail anytime soon.

A few hours later Luke wakes up as if nothing happened; a Christmas miracle in August? More likely it is the fact that, while I am in my 40s, Luke is in his 20s.  We pack our gear and head into Fairplay to fuel our bikes and ourselves. We stop at the Java Moose for some awesome home made breakfast sandwiches just in time for lunch.

With such a late start, you would think we would try to make up for lost time, but instead I select “road” 307—a detour between Route 285 and Salida which is a beautiful ride that turns into a golden aspen tunnel in the fall. The first half of the TAT was all new to me. I was alone. But now, with a riding partner, I feel compelled to share why I love living and riding out here. It was my greatest pleasure each year, planning and riding with my dad on a new adventure out west. Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California—there was no greater joy than just being with him. Riding free.

It is Luke’s first time riding out west. He has ridden all over the world, but this area of the U.S. is new to him. For this reason, I intend to take some liberties with this segment of the trip and share some of my favorite parts.

As we turn off on road 307 we get to experience a mini-tour of Colorado terrain, starting with mildly deep sand, which turns into hard pack, and eventually becomes more rocks than dirt. To add to the excitement we also receive a typical afternoon, which includes a Colorado thunderstorm carrying a bit of snow. Gotta love altitude! The rain has made the trail muddy, but the thrill of beginning the second half of the TAT outweighs the urge to take it easy as we fly over the rocky section. Luke like a gazelle, and me and my loaded down bike like an NFL linebacker that shouldn’t move as fast as he does but somehow defies physics.

This is where I make a fateful mistake. Any rider knows that your bike will go in the direction that you are looking. For a while, I gracefully bounce off of rock after rock. Like Michael Oher, I toss them aside, foolishly forgetting about my own blindside. In an instant, a medium sized, perfectly placed rock makes contact with my front tire. I immediately and involuntarily change direction from the trail into a forest of aspens. There is no doubt I am headed out of bounds . . .

 

To read the previous Trans America Trail episode, click here.

 

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About the author

I am an introvert posing as an extrovert. I love travel in all forms, but prefer 2-wheels. I created AdventureHermit as a way to share my adventures and inspire others to find joy through discovery; writing for RoadRUNNER is a dream come true!