Day 33: The Deep Breath before the Plunge

By Nate Stroempl

All of us have been really excited to arrive in Colorado, home of the Rockies.  Some of the other riders have never even been to the Rocky Mountains.  Colorado has turned into a sort of “Promised Land” that we have all been anticipating.  Yesterday we finally arrived in Colorado and today we’re spending the whole day biking through it.  Well, Southeast Colorado is flat and desolate.  It hasn’t been the “Promised Land” we anticipated.  In fact, some places seem to be dryer and more barren than Kansas.  Almost every river I’ve seen along the way is all dried up and the air feels empty and lifeless.

Yet the reputation of Colorado is probably the thing that tortures us the most.  Every time we bike over a little hill we half-expect against all logic that we’ll see mountains in the distance.  Nope, not happening.  The one time I thought I saw a mountain range actually turned out to be a fence.  Do I not even know what mountains look like?!? 

Yet we reached our destination, La Junta.  Tomorrow we have a rest day and we didn’t have anything planned for tonight.  However, when I got into La Junta I wanted to edit some of my video footage and so I went into work mode immediately.  I started stressing out and driving myself crazy, especially when I biked 6 miles to Walmart to buy a camera and then found out that I needed to go back to Walmart to buy a charger for it.  I was about to head out the door and bike another 6 miles when Alex had the wisdom to tell me to just take it easy.  I was kind of annoyed at first, but I realized that I needed to get out of my work bubble and so I put all my film stuff away and just relaxed for the rest of the night.  We went out that night and had a beer, some tacos, and walked around town.  Its moments like these that I’m really going to miss about this trip.  

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