Monarch pass was unbelievable, the last 12 miles of this climb took us 3 hours. We were both crawling in our granny gears up to 11,300 feet. The smell of cars melting brake pads and the sound of engine breaking got overwhelming, but Between all of that the scent of pine and trickle of the snow melt creeks was soothing. The top of monarch was beautiful, and knowing all the work that we had done to get there made it that much better. I wanted to cry looking out at the mountains, they were majestic. there were 3 feet of snow on the ground but the sun was so hot I was comfortable in my cycling jersey. We had to bundle up for the ride down. The breeze is very chilly. Riding down that pass was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. Flying down the side of a mountain on top of a 70 lb loaded touring bike. We maxed out at 38 mph and on some of the curves the speed limit drops down to 35. We were drafting behind trucks and RV's flying just as fast as traffic. Some of the drivers would get confused, they see a bicycle and immediately think they need to pass it. Tyler was in front of me for a while and I would see a car try to pass him then realize that we are actually speeding then pull off and settle behind him. Very fun, very exciting.
Our goal was to get to Gunnison. Tyler has a friend in Crested Butte. That is a town just north of Gunnison. The plan was to make it to Gunni then Tyler's friend, Will, would pick us up and take us to the Butte. The following morning we would get a ride back to Gunni and continue on our route to Dolores. The wildest thing happened on our way there, A toyota tacoma pulled off the side of the road in font of us, and who steps out? None other than Rusty Nails! This is some wild stuff. We talked for a while, he told us about his bike club back in Plano Texas, then wished us happy riding. We only made it to Parlin, 12 miles east of Gunni, Will picked us up from there and took us to crested Butte. We cleaned up and got ready to hit the town, Crested Butte is a popular ski and vacation spot.
Bad news, Tyler isn't doing so well. We think he has the altitude sickness, we are at 9,000 feet. I feel bad, he was excited to go out tonight and hang out with his friends. He insisted we go on without him. We hung out at Will and his roommate Kevin's town house drinking PBR and Sierra Nevada. I met a lot of people, surprisingly many of them are from Chicago, some from New Jersey, and many from Denver. It was strange, most of them have college degree's, It's like they move here because they aren't quite ready to start life yet. they work part-time jobs in bars, movie theaters, and ski shops. They ski, fish, and raft all day and drink all night. They're living the dream. I don't blame them, I suppose partly why I'm doing this trip is because I'm not quite ready to start yet. I just diddn't take it to such an extreme.
The bars were fun, it's like college without a college. Very small town, they walk into a bar and everyone knows everyone. I didn't stay out too late, I was exhausted from the climb today. I walked back before anyone else and passed out.