I woke up in Dolores excited to tackle one of the bigger climbs of my trip - the Lizard's Head. Peaking at over 10,000 feet, I set aside an entire day for it and planned to stay the night in Telluride, CO - just slightly off route, and not too far from the summit. More on Telluride later.
The early morning was great. Rolling hills took me all the way to Rico, a small mountain town with an old-school saloon feel, but filled with great little coffee shops and places to eat. I stopped at a General Store for a coffee and some banana/peanut butter/honey tortillas that have become a staple of my diet.
However, I couldn't permit myself too much exploration time in Rico - the summit called to me! Fuelled up and ready to go, I launched back into the climb. Surprisingly, it wasn't as arduous as I had thought. Upon looking at the map again, the topography showed that it was quite a shallow ascent. Looks like this would be an easy-ish day!
I arrived in Telluride early and went to go meet Max, my host for the evening. Max works at one of the local bike shops and has a great place in town.
Telluride apparently used to be a bit of a pit. Miners would come on in (on rudimentary skis), from all over the surrounding area to frequent saloons, gambling halls, and...less savoury establishments (ie whorehouses). I'm not sure which came first, the name Telluride, or the joke, "To Hell You Ride", but the pronunciation is the same.
Nowadays, Telluride is a skiing town (no miners seeking hookers), a centre for film festivals, and apparently a go to escape destination for celebrities like Tom Cruise and Oprah (or so I hear).
After exploring the town, I returned to Max's place, and to his basement, where tinkering with the bike began. A mechanic himself, and a former transamerican tour-cyclist (and current tourer in general), Max had lots of little knick knacks lying around. Apparently it is his custom to send cyclists that stay with him off with a couple of these, and I was no exception!
I left with a replacement drink-bottle holster, which I have filled with a tennis ball tube now home to my heavier tools. Gotta keep that weight low on the bike! He also had a small seat bag that needed a home under my butt, and now houses my spare tubes. Hallelujah, more room for food!!
Now for some nicer shots of the mountains, from my journey over the Lizard's Head: