Allen's Colorado Great Divide Trip with Adventure Cycling

272.53 Miles from Steamboat Springs to Salida, CO

Leader Kathy - Aim high!
Group - minus Bob and Kathy.
Overlooking Ute Pass.
Leader Dave - flexing.
Selkirg Valley.

This was an impromptu trip. When I found that I'd have an extra 2 weeks of summer vacation, I decided to do something slightly more memorable than watching T.V. at home. Riding a part of the Great Divide with Adventure Cycling was just such an answer! There was only one problem: I wasn't really much of a mountain bicyclist and wasn't in the greatest of bike shape. Nevertheless, fond memory of last year's Pacific Coast trip prompted me on. The trip turned out not to be as scary as I thought. With one week of intense riding in the gym in D.C. and the week of going all out on the trails of Mount Wilson and Palos Verdes, I was able to get ready - especially with valuable pre-trip advice from Pat Foreman.

The trip was overall a great experience - though there were major differences with my Pacific Coast trip. Because this was a group trip, the trip often did not feel like mine the way my last solo trip did. I missed the great sense of freedom. In this trip, I followed mostly a fixed itinerary and (for the most part) ate others' cooking; I was not able to go double the distance when the conditions were right or go off route when my interests were so piqued. The trip also felt more orchestrated, and I seldom wake up in the morning feeling a sense of awe or finishing the afternoon with a great sense of accomplishment.

On the plus side, the route was very beautiful. The group dynamics was good. I was touched by kind acts such as Frank shining a light for me as I sat up tent in the dark on my first night (having arrived late because of my ill-fated flight). Almost without exceptions, people were more than willing and able to do their part for the group. It was great to see people come together to tackle something a little crazy (some of us talk to our bikes on the way uphill!).

This trip makes a nice ending to my first year of law school. I hope it would inspire me through my second year the same way the Pacific Coast trip did my first.

For others' pictures of the trip, please see Kathy's website of this trip. And thanks for all the extra picts, Mike!