After the conditions I experienced from Rawlins (WY) to Brush Mountain (CO) (see previous post) I thought my Divide tour was over and that I’d have to detour via Utah and Arizona. Although I’m sure this would have been a superb alternative I had my mind set on completing this specific mountain bike route and I was on a bit of a low as I pulled into Steamboat Springs. I had made the difficult decision of skipping 50 miles of the route due to lack of sufficient winter gear; I decided it wasn’t worth losing a toe over. Also the route would have possibly destroyed the mechanics of my bicycle.
Tracey and Tony very kindly put me up and looked after me in Steamboat; helping me decide on my next move. After speaking with Assam from Orange Peel bike shop (highly recommended, absolutely superb service) my spirits lifted. His invaluable insight into the local conditions suggested that continuing on the route could be possible and the recent snowfall would be hard packed; slippery but doable. So I set about adding further winter clothing to my kit: emergency bivy, waterproof / neoprene overboots, thick woollen socks, full winter mittens (“the warmest in your shop please”). I would need to cope with temperatures well below freezing at downhill speeds of 30 to 40 mph and any possible future storms.
Another addition to my armoury is the SPOT GPS tracker that updates my location every 10 minutes when I’m on the trail. I can be followed here: Tracker. If you’re ever considering such a device I would highly recommend Track Leaders; Matthew Lee has provided a fantastic service and is very knowledgeable.
So I set off from Steamboat fully prepared, making use of a new weather window. It was set to be sunny for the next week or so and I planned to get through Colorado as quickly as possible to avoid any enforced detours. The last few days have been spent getting from Steamboat to Del Norte and it seems southern Colorado was not hit by the snow storms in the same way as the north; I’ve pushed myself fairly hard but it’s been immensely rewarding as I’ve passed through places I thought I’d only ever see in my dreams.