Great Divide Redux – Where The route Begins

This is post #3 of a narrative riding a section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route eight years after the original trip. This multi-part account is posted chronologically and Part One can be read here. Great Divide Redux 2023

For well over a week and a half this entry has been written, edited, and sitting just waiting for me to hit the ‘Publish’ button to release it into the wild. It was written while I was still in Colorado. As the words flowed, it took an unexpected trajectory… A narrative of my 2015 ride that only a few friends have heard. The retrospective journey that I found myself on was an enjoyable one as I relived those memories and finally put words to a part of my ride I kept off the blog. Satisfied the story was complete, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me, not now. After MUCH consideration, I decided to trash a couple of days of writing and start over. Hope you enjoy this rewrite. 

When Martin and I arrived in Colorado the night before, for me it was bittersweet. Very happy to reach our destination, however, during our last 2 hours of travel, I developed a pounding headache. Great! I thought… Altitude sickness already!

Martin and I arrived at Emily and Josh’s apartment, nearly 19.5 hours later.

After a good night’s sleep at Emily and Josh’s, I felt better but some headache pain still lingered. The plan for our Sunday was to spend the day preparing our gear, then make a trip to downtown Denver to visit the epic REI store and have lunch.

Two floors of REI outdoor gear. I love this town.

Arriving at the Route

Mid-afternoon we had everything squared away that three bikepackers would need for an overnight ride. We carefully packed bikes and gear into Emily’s car and headed west from Denver. About two hours after setting off we arrived at the Red Mountain RV Park in Kremmling where we will begin our bike adventure in the morning. 

Getting everything ready before heading to Kremmling.

Martin, Josh, and I were busy tending bikes and setting up our individual tents. With not much that can be helped with, Emily took on the customary supervisor/moral support role. At one point I paused, looked around at the surrounding mountains and it hit me… I had finally made it back to the route that had such a massive impact on my life. Fighting the sudden rush of emotion, In a broken voice I quietly tell Emily, “I wanted to quit here so bad.” She said to me in a way that conveyed pride, “But you didn’t.” 

The Memories

When I arrived in Kremmling on Friday, September 4 2015 I had been on the trail for 43 days. I was physically and mentally worn down. I was wet and cold from the rain. I was also 20 miles short of where I needed to be by the end of the day, due to an absolute need to be in the next town, Silverthorn, before noon the following day. With the remaining miles and the daylight hours available, that certainly was not going to happen. 

I sat in the Kremmling Subway restaurant as more of a need to get out of the rain and warm up than to eat. Slowly picking through my food I used my phone to find a place to get a warm shower, dry out my clothes, and rest. I also mapped that it would be a two, maybe three-day ride to Denver, get on a plane, and leave this god-forsaken bike ride. 

Eight-year-old memories continued to fill my thoughts as the three of us proceeded to set up camp for the night. I was also trying to silence the internal whisper “What am I doing?” brought on by the telltale signs of altitude sickness. An ever-present headache and occasional feelings of nausea are making me nervous about my ability to ride tomorrow.

After Emily took off to head back home, Josh had prepared the most awesome tail meal ever, warming it up on my little camp stove. The best use that stove has ever gotten. With dinner done and plenty of daylight left we set off on our bikes to explore the little town of Kremmling. As we rode I pointed out personal points of interest whether Martin and Josh were interested. This is where I stayed. This is where I ate. This is where I met up with Gene and Jim. This is where we did laundry, etc.

Kremmling Colorado.

The memories just kept coming back and I was extremely happy to be back on the GDMBR, even though our location was the site of one of the lowest physical and mental moments of my life eight years prior. 

My ride in 2015 into Kremmling can be found here. Day 43 Lynx Pass to Kremmling

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