Day 56

Today I am entering the no-man’s land: miles of flats and plains. The most exciting parts of my day will therefore surely be my morning and evening encounters. I start the day with John. He is refurbishing the Olney Springs Country Mart after it closed when the investor pulled out several years ago. He hopes, once the shop is up and running again, to be able to bring some life back into this tiny community of 200 inhabitants. He is aware of the many cyclists who ride through here and would love to become their sweet landing spot if they decide to stop at Olney Springs for the night. I leave. I ride. I arrive. I get into Eads with the sun setting down. I am cruising down the main street when

Day 55

It’s 8 o’clock and I am READY to hit the road. I am sooo proud of myself. Off I go! At 8:01 I have a flat. The THIRD one in FOUR days. 9 weeks with no flats and - all of a sudden! - the Bike God remembers I’m in the neighbourhood? Serious?! A fellow cyclist – on his way to his daily ride – gives me a lift to the downtown bike shop. It’s so early that I have over an hour to kill: I decide to work on my blog. The moment I sit down with my computer an intrigued passer-by strikes up a conversation. He’s quite amused with my story and the way I set off on my trip (“serious? without money?”). We’re cracking jokes right and left when a different kind of sound cracks the air: Tim has stepped on my i

Day 54

I am getting worse and worse at starting at a fitting hour in the morning. When we hook ourselves with Cynthia up to coffee and chatter, we are at it for hours… I leave *some* time before 1pm which, yes, will still get me to Pueblo but not necessarily in a dry state. The peculiarity of weather in this corner of America are afternoon monsoons. Therefore, I better ride fast or get wet. The road itself is just an assembly of roller coasters reminiscent of the Rockies I am leaving behind. A sought-after break for my tired quads… I hit Pueblo the moment it starts to rain. Someone suggests I look up the pastor of a local church. Well, he’s not around but his neighbour, Dave, turns out to be a past

Rest Day

I spend most of my rest day with my new best pal – Cynthia – who’s putting me up for the night. She is the mother of one of Canon City’s CouchSurfers, Daniel. Dan being away on his own travels, he provides me with his mum’s phone number and suggests I hit her up. I call, introduce myself and try to explain that “no, I have not actually met Daniel in person (yet).” “Oh, it’s this ‘sofa surfing’ thing, isn’t it?” “Yeah, yeah! COUCH surfing!” “Sure, come around!” Cynthia lives in a tiny piece of heaven, with Bambis and bears paying her regular visits. From the moment I cross her threshold, it feels like she’s a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. We start talking and do NOT stop for SEVERAL h

Day 53

I must have been really tired for I only emerge from bed at 9. I have slept for some 15 hours. Is it that I am about to hit the midpoint of my trip and my body knows that? Or sudden change of elevation? Otherwise, it must be my impending period. Anyways, I am having so much fun with Russ and Bella that I only leave at 11 which is VERY late by any cyclist’s standards. And I’m up for some 140 km of riding. Luckily, all of it downhill. I am just about to go downhill on the last hill separating me from Canon City when I feel I have gotten a flat. And there’s just about nothing around and no one will stop to give me a ride. I cannot “call a friend” either for there’s no network. I guess it’ll be

Day 52

I leave Paul’s with James, Forrest and Rocky at 7:30. Today we’re going to hit the Hoosier Pass - the highest point on the Trans American bike trail – so we’re all eager to get it done and over with before it gets too hot. Riding with the guys motivates me not to drag my ass too far behind, so I am really pushing myself to keep up (and hell, they’re fast!). I manage to not lose them from sight until we reach the last 5 miles of the summit. The road is steep, windy and I’m the highest I’ve ever been (11000 feet!) which makes breathing a challenge. To my disappointment, I have to walk those last miles separating me from eternal cycling glory as my heart and lungs are simply refusing to collabo

Rest Day

My rest day is all about chilling with Paul (my Warm Showers host), catching up on my blog (unsuccessfully), meeting with James and his sons who are also staying at Paul’s tonight, going for a quick ride to Copper Mountain without my panniers (ah… sweet freedom!) and enjoying the best cookies I have ever had. Pure bliss!

Day 51

Today I am experimenting with cycling and reading. A book. And yes, the two at the same time (thank you audibles!). And you know what? It’s working! Well... most of the times when there are no trucks passing me by and drowning the sound out. The road is beautiful. It takes me through the mountains and the hills are not *that* bad. My favourite parts are the bits by the lakes. I get into Silverthorne, Dillon and then Frisco, which are all ski resorts. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a ski resort in summer. You’d be surprised by how many OTHER-things-than-skiing you can do in a ski area in summer... Getting out of Silverthorne is pure bliss: there’s a dedicated bike path that goes all th

Day 50

James gives me a lift to Granby – the nearest town with a bike shop. We cover some 80 kilometres in an hour which I find way too rapid. The views are magnificent but I only manage to get a brief glimpse before they disappear behind the speeding car. When in the saddle, I get the time to ride into landscapes, moving slowly through the changing sceneries and taking in the diversity with every stroke of the pedal. I am therefore a bit sad to be missing on this part of the ride but I get to talk with James instead on a plethora of interesting subjects (something impossible to do whist cycling). We get to the bike shop after 11. The Full Circle Cyclery accepts to help me out free of charge. After

Day 49

Bob, the lovely host who put me up for the night in Riverside, has to leave early to get some work done before it gets unbearably hot and therefore, so do I. I am in the saddle - ready to work those kilometres - at 6:00am. There are quite some hills to climb and, unfortunately, it’s the headwind that decides to keep me company. It is actually so bad that I end up sitting by the side of the road for an hour to let it pass. Once I make it to the top of the plateau, I get treated to some magnificent views. And to more of the unpredictable Colorado weather. The sky opens up with roaring thunders so I’m lucky to have just arrived at a small town where I get to wait for the storm to pass at a post

Day 48

Today is: interstate: not that bad road: not that long climbs: not that high And hail. I am riding in the middle of something resembling a desert. It is sizzling hot. It feels like if I were burning in hell. A cloud appears on the horizon. Great - finally some shade!!! It starts to rain. Cool - a bit of refreshment for the sweltering me. And then it starts to hail: so bad and with the wind so strong, that I have to get off my bike and hold it so that it doesn’t fly off. I want to get my raincoat except that the hail is so big that all I manage to do is just cover my head to shelter it from the blows. Three minutes later it’s over. Five minutes later it’s like it’s never happened, for the sun

Day 47

Secluded or not, the church I’m staying at KNOWS how to cater to its visitors: there is coffee!!! Once I’ve downed a couple of cups, I’m ready to leave a mark for posterity: a huge written sign on the ceiling indicating my website’s address. And then I’m ready to hit the road. The route is more or less flat, or downhill even, but today’s “challenge of the day” is headwind. I move real slow and by the end of the day, the clouds catch up with me and I get rained at. Luckily, once in Rawlins, I run into a lovely couple who instantly invite me over to spend the night at theirs. Random, beautiful connection. I get to shower, do a laundry and I finally stop smelling. A perfect end to any cyclist’s

Day 46

The problem with cycling and blogging is that you can only do one or the other, at any given time. Once you have done your 100 km, oft you’re too tired to go on blogging about it. Therefore, I usually write my posts several days after I actually rode the miles. This, in turn, means that I have to rely on my memory which, obviously, will have gotten blurry by then. The most I remember about my 46th day of riding is people’s generosity and kindness because the road - after a while – gets all the same. And the folks of Lander are simply an amazing and caring community of human beings. The Lander Bake Shop treats me to breakfast and NITRO coffee whilst The Bike Mill saves my life by adjusting th

Day 45

During my rest day in Dubois I hook up with fellow cyclists: a father travelling with two sons and a solo guy from Denmark. Monday come, we decide to hit the road together. It’s my first time riding with someone and I find it quite motivating. I’m not on my own so I don’t stop every three seconds for water, pee or break. Doing some good miles. An hour into the day, Mickey, the lovely Baking Mum Number 1, passes me by in her car and invites for refreshments at her house. I spent only two days in Dubois but it feels I have already made some friends. It’s the “no-money effect,” how I like to call it. Had I had the cash, I would have walked into Mickey’s bakery, asked for whatever product I want

Day 44

Today I will be climbing the 2nd highest peak on the TransAmerican trail: the 3300-meter high Togwotee Pass. I therefore wake up at 5am in order to leave early. However, when I start talking to people and begin winning some ice-cream in my “where you from?” challenge, I do not leave the campground until after 9am. Obviously. It gets hot very early on, I am tired (fatigue or elevation?) and so I take a quick nap at a local RV park. When I wake up, it seems like it’s going to rain. But you know what? If it means avoiding cycling in the heat - I’m a happy camper. The 3000-feet elevation gain is stretched over some 30km and turns out not as bad as I would have expected. Or… I am simply getting s

Day 43

Cycling moneylessly trough a national park is no easy game, let me tell you that. The parks are tightly regulated, there is no room for manoeuvre and… no electricity anywhere, apart from the staff’s buildings. This is why I consider myself very lucky and am soooo grateful to the wonderful, kind-hearted people who agreed to put me up the day before in their staff dormitory in Old Faithful. They risked a reprimand and, yet, they did it. I got lucky this time, but I am anxious for the upcoming night… I really want to get out of the national parks region as fast as I can. After a 6am tour around the mystical hot springs (without the touristy crowds) I set off for the two big climbs ahead of me.

Day 42

My alarm goes off at 6:30am but I am in no shape to cycle on two-hours’ worth of sleep. I snooze it until 9:30am for I think 5 hours is the social minimum I need. Once I’m operational, and excited, I rush off to Yellowstone. I get asked by a passing couple to take a photo of them by the entrance sign. A half an hour conversation ensues (obviously!) and they decide to give me some money as they believe it’s simply impossible to travel without it in “this country.” “For whatever you need.” I have already gotten used to people giving me cash so it’s no big surprise, but seriously, if this continues at this rate, I will have to change the name of my trip to “That MILLIONAIRE of a Cycling Chick…”

Rest day

My rest day is, again, catching up with my blogging, posting and thanking people (through my Hall of Fame and my Facebook page). I find a safe & welcoming harbour for my writing at the Yellowstone’s Greens & Grounds run by two sisters: Erin & Mel. Not only do they let me hang out at their lovely café for an entire day but they share give me some of their produce and even share their own lunch with me. THANK YOU LADIES! In the evening, I am meeting up with Allen: the cyclist I have been running into since Mitchell (OR). We’ve decided that after some 1000km of somewhat hand-in-hand riding, time has come to move our relationship to another level: Allen takes me out to pizza dinner at a local re

Day 41

I want to make it to West Yellowstone today but that means a long day of 115km. In order to make it, I need to leave early. Alas, I am chatted up by passers-by and everyone knows how I roll: the moment I open my mouth, I cannot eFFing shut it up. I leave at 11. The road is beautiful: takes me through the prairies and ranches of the Big Sky country. I happen to run into another SOLO FEMALE traveller. Wow, we are now 5 against 70+ guys! After a long stretch in the sun and without services, I am completely dry. Cars won’t stop so I stick a “need water” sign to the back of my bike, praying that someone will take pity. Sure enough, someone finally does: Mike and Barbara who are travelling around

Day 40

Today I am a little bit tired. Luckily, Mike has made an enormous pot of coffee and lets me have whatever I need. I truly love people who give me coffee. :-) I get to Virginia City, which is something of an open-air museum. Beautiful, century-old buildings which make you feel like you’re really in the Wild West of the pioneers. I spend some 3 hours roaming about the town and when I FINALLY am ready to leave, I suddenly feel too sleepy to even walk straight. I decide to get out of town and find a sweet spot for a siesta. Three hours later, it’s the wind and the storm clouds that wake me up. I am still sleepy, but need to move if I don’t want to get soaked. There’re hills ahead. Some bikers pa