I slept wonderfully in the hostel bunk and woke to a chilly but sunny morning. We took our time packing up, not wanting to ride in the cold (Rico is at almost 9000 feet so the temperature was 50).
We left at 7:30 to finish the 12 miles up to Lizard Head Pass. My shoes were still soaking wet from yesterday and my toes were freezing in the cold air! The climb wasn't difficult but I was uncomfortable...I had started with my jacket on and was starting to sweat, so I took it off and put on my rain jacket instead, but then I was cold! My toes were still numb and my nose was dripping constantly.
About halfway up the pass, we could see clouds covering the mountains in the distance. The sun was shining on Rico behind us, so I assumed the pass would be clear by the time we made it up. A few minutes passed and we felt some sprinkles. I stopped to put away my phone and camera, and about 5 miles from the top the rain and wind picked up and we were riding right into the storm. I thought yesterday was bad, but this was much, much worse...the rain was stinging on my cold skin and my fingers were starting to numb. We kept pumping to keep our bodies warm but it wasn't helping...after a few miserable miles I pulled over and said to Seth, "I've got to get warm." We talked about setting the tent up, but we saw some RVs up ahead and decided to hole up under one of the awnings. When we approached them, they were off the main road down a dirt path, but we realized we were almost at the top and saw a restroom off to the left of the road. We parked our bikes against the back of the building and the three of us huddled up inside the outhouse. It certainly wasn't comfortable but it felt so good to be out of the wind and rain! We laughed at how ridiculous our situation was as we put on warm layers and ate snacks from our food bags. At one point Seth stepped out to get something from his bike, and knowing he would be back shortly, Josh and I didn't lock the door. I was sitting on the closed toilet and Josh was sitting on the floor in the corner when a man opened the unlocked door...his reaction was priceless!! He laughed once we told him why we were there, but we made sure to lock the door behind him! I'm laughing as I write this thinking about how desperate we were to be sitting in a dirty outhouse!
We waited in the bathroom for about an hour until we heard birds chirping again. We opened the door and the sun was shining! It was still cold, and my feet and hands were numb, but I fumbled around to get out my heavy jacket for the downhill ride. Josh let me borrow his wind jacket as well, and I put my rain jacket on the top. The downhill was sketchy with the wet roads, but the sunshine was amazing, and we stopped to take pictures of the mountain views. Colorado has been harsh but it is beautiful!
We had a short climb and I finally warmed up! I stopped to take my layers off and I could feel my toes for the first time in 4 hours! The weather is everything...it can make or break the entire day!
The next few hours were stressful; we rode within 3 miles of Telluride and the traffic was very heavy for the holiday weekend. The road had no shoulder and the drivers were not friendly!
We had one more climb and the clouds again rolled in...we heard thunder as the clouds gathered in the distance. We crossed our fingers that we would avoid the storm, and we got lucky! We crested the pass and flew down at 35 mph as it began raining behind us. We were desperately trying to outrun the storm!
We got a text from George that he was in Montrose, the next town, so we continued on for an easy 26 miles slightly downhill. Seth and I stopped on the edge of town to get dinner at Taco Bell, and met up with George and Josh at the hotel where George had booked a room (he has been ahead of us and camped in the rain last night, so he wanted to dry out!). Except this morning, today was an enjoyable day and turned out to be our longest at 88 miles!