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Day 34 Recap; Western Continental Divide

by EP on July 10, 2010

Today was one of the most beautiful and painful days we’ve had on this entire trip. We started in Salida, CO at an elevation of just over 7,000 feet. For 24 long, winding miles we climbed up the Monarch Pass on route 50 to reach the Western Continental Divide at 11,312 feet above sea level. While the climb was grueling and the rain was annoying, we couldn’t help but take in some of the sheer beauty that Colorado has to offer. Around every corner was a breathtaking view of another set of sprawling mountains. The air, as thin as it was at 11,000+ feet, felt clean and fresh and was laced with the scent of pine trees. Reaching the Continental Divide was a big moment for each of us. Each of us felt a sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing that we started our ride at sea level in Portland, Maine and that we had reached the highest point on our trip.

Needless to say, the trip down the Continental Divide went much quicker than that trip up the mountain. After another 40 or so miles we reached the town of Gunnison, Colorado. Gunnison is named after Captain John Gunnison, an 1837 graduate of West Point. CPT Gunnison spent a few years fighting the Seminole Indians in Florida before he was assigned to survey a route for the Pacific Railroad through parts of Colorado and Utah. His journey took him through the Tamichi Valley, which was later named Gunnison in his honor. CPT Gunnison was obviously a pretty smart guy. He graduated second in his class at West Point, which means a couple of things: he wouldn’t have ever hung out with the three of us and he probably didn’t drink as much beer as we did during our years at West Point.

Overall, things are still moving along surprisingly well with our trip. We have, however, created some self-inflicted problems. For example, after washing and drying our jerseys a few dozen times it looks like we’re wearing toddler clothing. Joel’s jersey looks a lot like a belly-shirt that teenage girls wear to high school. Dan’s shorts are becoming tighter and tighter and are starting to wear a bit thin on the back side (which is no treat for Petey and Joel when they are following him on their bikes). Other than that, we really don’t have much to complain about and are looking forward to completing our trip in a few weeks.

– XC10 guys


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

EP July 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm

pete – this last comment isn’t going to go over well with mom, I almost did not approve it because I will probably have to get a haircut now!!

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Shannon Cruthirds July 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaah!

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COL Thayer July 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

CPT Phipps: Get a haircut ASAP. Haircut inspection goes outdoors, the uniform is as-for-class. Standards, hooah?!

-COL Thayer

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