Blown Away

It was tough to leave Durango, but it was time to go. I took a sweet river trail behind our hotel to avoid the local downtown traffic and went as far as Santa Rita Park before resuming riding on Rt 160. The traffic was intense and the shoulder was narrow and dirty until I got to a road construction area. Ongoing traffic was stopped. I rode ride up to the flag woman who was controlling the traffic. I said I’d go when everyone else had gone. That way, I’d have a clear pathway. Not only did I get that, but the shoulder after the construction got wide and clean.

The “challenge” for the day was to cross Baldy Mountain. Once I summited Yellowjacket Pass on Baldy Mountain, I had a seven mile delicious descent that passed Chimney Rock and crossed Piedra Creek. If it ever loads, here’s the video of the descent.

Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock
Piedra Creek
Piedra Creek
A hay truck that had passed me earlier nearly lost its load.

I enjoyed a stiff tailwind that pushed me toward Pagosa Springs and intensified as I proceeded. The wind blew the smoke from nearby controlled burns away from me. When I thought I was near the end, Susie stopped me to tell me I had about 10 minutes before I would be hit by the storm behind me. With three miles to go, I tried to outrun the storm. I had just made the left turn into the neighborhood of our hosts for tonight when the squall broke loose with intense winds that blew dust and tumbleweeds across the road and rocked cars. When I couldn’t go forward and feel that I could stay upright on the bike, I called Susie to come rescue me. I had completed the ride for the day and would have done a few bonus miles to our host’s house but it felt needlessly dangerous and I didn’t want to be blown away.

My brother, Dave, has joined Susie and me from Denver to cheer me on for a few days, especially up Wolf Creek Pass tomorrow. We are staying with Deni and Merlin, WarmShowers hosts. Merlin’s advice for Wolf Creek Pass is priceless: Put your mind in neutral and your bike in low. He also clarified for me that the actual climbing part of the pass is just 8 miles, not the 24 miles I was thinking. Nevertheless, all offers of tailwinds will be graciously accepted.

Ride details

Start location: Durango CO

End location: Pagosa Springs CO

Distance: 55.o miles

Cumulative distance: 938.5 miles

Elevation gain: 3258 feet

Strava track:



11 thoughts on “Blown Away

  1. Wolf Creek Pass is a challenge. It was snowing when I got to the peak. My brother carried me down the other side in his car. I think you’re the kind of woman that will own it. Go get Them! BTW – warm showers hosts are the best!


  2. When I try to view the video, I get a message that says it’s private – sorry about that!!  Bet it’s awesome, tho!  More beautiful scenery – I think you should really commit that to memory ’cause you won’t be seeing anything near that beautiful in western KS!!  I bet the driver of the hay hauler said ‘oh, darn’ when he realized he was about to lose his load!  Glad you took shelter from the storm instead of continuing on the bike.  Love your blog entries……..Seeya bye!!


  3. Keep it up. You are doing great and Im reading everyday. You got it. You are making the mtns look easy. They just about killed me and you are doing more. Guy


  4. The mountain views from Pagosa are breathtaking. Sounds like you could have used a sick in the hot springs. Enjoy this beautiful scenery while you can.


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