What's Next?

I woke up this morning and thought to myself, now what? Well, I never have a shortage of projects and that stands true today. I have a lot of footage to go over and I am beginning the editing of my documentary about riding my bike across the US. I am also working with our editors to get our last film, Escalators, finished. Most of all, myself, Brian Page, and Jacob Beil are working hard to get our production company Tumblerock Media off the ground (more on this and the bike documentary will be coming soon). With all of this in mind, I bought a new toy today so I can enjoy my time here in Los Angeles. 

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As far as the bicycle trip goes, I could not be happier with how it went. I am really glad I decided to head west and I am especially glad that I did it solo. Being alone was definitely a challenge at times, but I think it really allowed me to grow as a person. I figured out when to ask for help and when to rely on my instincts. I had a lot of time to think and even more time to explore and meet some truly incredible people.

Although I was biking alone, there is no way that I could have done this trip without the support of my production team. Vincent Krohn, Brian Page, and Jacob Beil really gave me confidence because I knew that they would be there if anything went wrong. When things did go wrong, they bailed me out in no time.

I also have to thank Megan Cackett, my family, friends, and everybody that sent me encouraging messages and left comments on my posts. Some nights those were more important to me than you can ever understand. So thanks for reading, more adventures to come.

Danny

Day 45- The End

I made it! I rode through the heart of LA and to the beach. Thanks for following me all this way, I'm glad I could share my adventures.

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Now it is time to celebrate the end of the journey. I will write a more in depth reflection tomorrow because now it is time to drink a beer. Cheers!

Day 44- Sandstorm

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at my grandma's house in Palm Springs. 

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It was great to relax in the hot tub and the sauna, especially after the 200 mile day. I went to the bike shop and replaced the duct tape on my rear wheel with actual rim tape.

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I left Palm Springs really early because the winds were bad and I wanted to get a head start to La Verne.

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I made it about 10 miles out of Palm Springs and was caught in a terrible sandstorm. I could barely even stand up let alone ride my bike. I was getting pelted with sand and it started to really hurt.

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I decided that there was no way I could safely make it through the valley on my bike. I contemplated turning back and waiting out the weather, but it looked like it would be a few days. 

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Reluctantly, I stuck out my thumb and hoped. After about twenty minutes, someone picked me up and I got a ride through the valley and I was out of the sandstorm.

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He let me out and I rode the rest of the way to my friend's house.  I was really kind of mad that I had to hitchhike again, but I didn't have many options. Tomorrow I will ride the last fifty miles of my trip and end the day at the beach.

Day 43- A 200 Mile Extravaganza

Today was the first annual Daniel Doran Desert Double Century Ride. I apologize for giving no notice of this event, but it was kind of a spur of the moment decision. I didn't get much sleep because of how hot the night was on Sunday. I was tossing and turning and sweating, mostly sweating.

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I was on the road just after sunset and was pushing hard to make it to Blythe, CA by noon. After noon it becomes unbearably hot and any joy of riding a bicycle is quickly sucked away.

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While riding I was enjoying the cool morning and thinking about how nice it is to ride at that time of day. This is where I began contemplating riding through the night to my grandma's house, north of Palm Springs and about 125 miles from Blythe.

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I crossed the border into California and pulled into Blythe just before noon with 75 miles under my belt for the day. I sat in the shade at a little Mexican restaurant and devoured a plate of enchiladas, tacos, and chile rellenos. I made the decision that I would attempt the extra 125 miles to my grandma's house. It's always good to make decisions on a full stomach.

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In order to make this ride happen, I knew I needed a good nap. I rented a room at the cheapest motel I could find. Amenities at the $34.99 level get you a pastel pink building, nicotine dripping walls, and of course a pregnant woman smoking out front. Here is my game face for a big ride like this, I channeled my inner Tom Hanks and yelled "WILSON!" at the top of my lungs. Sadly, those kind of primal noises are commonplace at this fine establishment.

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I had a glorious nap in the air conditioned room. At one point I opened the door to look outside and it was like opening the door to a giant oven. As soon as the sun set I was out the door and headed to the nearest gas station to stock up on supplies for the long desert ride. I wish I could tell you I was going on a long dessert ride, that would probably be a lot more fun.

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I rode on I-10 all night and was lit up like a blinking, reflective Christmas tree. If I ever had a chance to attract aliens, this would have been the night. The last time I was on this road was when I was out here last winter and my friend Brandon accidentally got on the east ramp instead of the west ramp. We drove and drove until we hit Arizona and we looked at each other and realized that we had made a huge mistake. Luckily this time I was going the right way. Right after Ghost Ditch I realized that I had lost a flip flop. I donated its brother to the side of I-10 as well, so if you are in need of a pair, check east of Ghost Ditch on the west bound side. Not long after that, I got a flat from some wire on the road. 

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After my troubles it was nice to see this fluorescent giant looming in the distance. It was the only service area for 60 miles, so I was relieved to stock up on water and eat some more snacks.  Things continued to get interesting. I stopped to take this crappy picture and a highway patrol car pulled in front of me.

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Both officers step out and inform me that I am not allowed to bike on the interstate. I said "okay, where should I go?"  They asked me how I got there and I informed them that I had ridden 90 miles on that road already. They told me that they would give me a ride to the next exit. I agreed and then we tried to fit my bike in the car with no luck. The cops talked for a moment and decided that they would escort me to the next exit as I rode. I agreed again.

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The sun was rising and I was packing my bike back up after I had dismantled it. I explained to the police that I had read that bicycles were allowed on interstates if there were no viable alternative routes within a reasonable distance. Taking I-10 was the most direct and safest way I could cross the desert. They informed me that I was mistaken and I asked what alternative route they recommended. Neither officer had an answer.  I was packed and ready to go with my escort when they recieved a radio call about a truck on fire. They said that was more important and sped away, leaving me right where I was about an hour prior. I rode to the next exit and noticed this sign. I will let you interpret it.

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I rode the next 30 miles into a fierce headwind and got another flat, this time from glass.  I made it to my grandma's and plan on taking tomorrow off after my 200 mile day.

Day 42- Melting

I try to remember the icy Ithaca winters and how desperately one can want summer before I complain about the heat, but today was an absolute scorcher of a day. I woke up early and had breakfast of a new friend of mine. He recently got back from Afghanistan where he worked on Apache helicopters in the Army. He was on a road trip from Texas back up to Oregon and our paths crossed on the 4th of July. 

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I pedaled south out of Kingman headed towards one of the hottest parts of the country. Today was one of those days where you wake up and immediately know that it is going to be hot. Luckily I didn't have any major breakdowns because I have a feeling I wouldn't have been picked up on this road.

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I stopped to fill up my water supply at almost every place I could and ended up drinking around thirteen liters of water today. 

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I stayed hydrated and used a ton of sunscreen today. Even then, the Arizona sun was relentless. 

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I stopped and enjoyed some air conditioning every now and then and took things pretty slow today. 

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I know I am getting close because I have started to see palm trees and In-N-Out Burger joints. I figure I have four or five days of riding left before I hit the coast. The sun has just gone behind a mountain and I am cooling off after a swim in the Colorado River. I can see California on the other side of the river and know that it won't be long before I am swimming in the Pacific.

Day 41- 4th of July

Route 66 is a strange relic of America's past. The town of Seligman, Arizona is littered with shops and restaurants commemorating the glory days of the  "Mother Road" that stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles before being swallowed by the interstates of today.

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It felt appropriate to follow this American lifeline, especially on the 4th of July. There were cutouts of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and John Wayne along the way as well as old American cars that once drove the route. 

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It is sad that this highway isn't what it used to be, but there is no way that those two lanes could handle the traffic of today. I saw this pile up on the side of the road. 

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I jumped onto I-40 in order to avoid an extra 25 miles and headed west toward Kingman.  I am still seeing signs for Los Angeles and am excited, but also sad that this journey is coming to an end.

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I had planned on going to a bike shop to buy a few new tubes, but I forgot that today is a holiday and tomorrow is Sunday. I spent some of my afternoon patching tubes and stocking up on food for the final stretch.

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There have been a few amateur fireworks, but apparently this town has outlawed fireworks after last years incident. I'm not sure of the details, but that's what I heard. 

Day 40- Route 66

I was really surprised when today's headlines didn't read "Two Tourists Mauled by Mule Deer in Grand Canyon". I was packing up my things to get on the road and I saw two tourist run in a full sprint out of the woods. They weren't even looking where they were going because they were staring into their cameras. They were running directly at a large mule deer in order to photograph it. 

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Unfortunately I cannot say that being in the Grand Canyon during the peak of tourism season was an incredible experience. Of course the canyon itself is magnificent, but it was difficult to enjoy with hundreds of people holding selfie sticks.  I left early this morning to get out of the crowds of people and found some interesting things along the way.

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I would have loved to stay at this Flintstones themed campground, but it was only twenty miles into the ride. They even had their own Bedrock City. 

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I started to see signs for Los Angeles today. It is motivating to finally see these signs for my destination and to watch the numbers decrease, albeit slowly. 

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During the last fifteen miles of my ride I was fighting a storm with lightening, wind, and rain slowing me down. I took shelter under a bridge for a while to let some of the storm pass.

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I covered about 105 miles today, which is probably my second biggest day of riding. My new wheel is holding up well, and I think I found a town to watch some fireworks tomorrow night. 

Day 39- Hitchhiking to the Grand Canyon

I woke up to a flat tire and my rim seemed even more warped than before. I decided the best move was to hitchhike. I walked to the intersection of 160 West and stuck up my thumb. Another hitchhiker was also there trying to get a ride, and he got lucky first, likely because he was without a bike. After about 15 minutes, a Navajo family picked me up in a black pick up truck. We headed west until the next intersection. 

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I jumped out and tried my luck headed south. Not too long after another woman picked me up and we stuffed my bike in the back of her SUV. 

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I got out at a third intersection in order to take one more road into the Grand Canyon. I was picked up in no time by a family from Texas. They were visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time and I joined them on their family vacation. We drove the 50 miles into the park and stopped along the way in order to take in the views.

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I made it to the bike shop and found Clint who had a new wheel waiting for me. Unfortunately the new wheel hub could only take eight out of my nine gears on my cassette. With a bit of ingenuity and an old tube, we took out a gear and made a rubber spacer to make it fit. 

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After a bit more work, I think my bike is ready to finish the trip. I owe a lot of people thanks today for helping me out. As for now, I am camping out in the Grand Canyon and enjoying a relatively cool evening. Back at it tomorrow.

Day 38- Trouble in Paradise

What a day. I still can't quite believe all of the troubles today, but I suppose I'll start at the beginning. I woke up early with the Bike and Build crew to ride with them until our paths diverged. I had a lot of fun getting to know some of the people and joining the group, even for only a day. 

Riding in a group of 30 has its own challenges. Sometimes I wish I had the support that they have, but overall I enjoy being a solo rider. 

Out here in the desert I really enjoy riding from around 6:30 to 11:30. After that the temperatures start to get fairly hot for riding.  After 30 miles our paths split, I headed south for Tuba City, and they headed north.

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About five miles out of town I noticed that my rear wheel was wobbling a little. I stopped to check it out and it just looked like the wheel was a bit bent. I rode into town carefully and did a more thorough inspection. 

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It turns out that my rim is cracked pretty bad. I am not going to be able to finish the trip without a new wheel. I haven't hit anything really bad, so it is likely a combination of carrying weight and biking almost 3000 miles. I searched for bike shops and the nearest shops are all around 70 miles away. Luckily I have a great production team back east and Brian located me a new wheel near the Grand Canyon on my route. Tomorrow I just need to make it 70 miles and I can get my bike fixed up. If the wheel fails I'm sure I can hitch a ride on an RV headed towards the canyon.

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I decided that there is nothing like a good meal to curb the day's frustrations. I ordered the Navajo fried chicken special and was smiling the whole time as I inhaled the food.  The wind picked up outside and I knew that there was more trouble ahead.

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Ferocious winds picked up and red sand covered everything in sight. It was so thick outside that people were taking shelter in the restaurant. The dust died down as a rain storm plowed through the Arizona desert. After the meal I ran back to my tent to find a sand dune inside with a small river running through it. For now there is nothing left to do but wait and hope that tomorrow is gentle on this frustrated drifter.

Day 37- Monument Valley

Sorry I couldn't post this yesterday, I didn't have enough service to even log on. 

I had a rough afternoon yesterday. I was finished riding around 1pm and had the rest of the day to sweat in the heat. I jumped in the San Juan River and met some people who were putting on for a river trip. I would have loved to put my bike on a raft for a few days and traded my pedals for a paddle. 

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I woke up early and got on the road around 6:30. A few miles in I ran into a van that was set up at the top of a hill. A woman offered me some snacks and I of course took her up on this offer. She was driving the van for Bike and Build, which is a cross country ride where  they stop and build affordable housing along the way with Habitat for Humanity. I soon met 30 new friends and I pedaled off into the Utah desert with some of them.

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We hit monument valley and met another cross country rider named Stefan, from Bordeaux, France. He is traveling from San Francisco to Denver. 

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There were long, steady up hills followed by steep downhills and incredible scenery. 

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We made it to this incredibly small Arizona sign, which is completely dwarfed by the enormous "Welcome to Utah" sign on the opposite side of the road. 

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I spent the rest of the day with the Bike and Build crew as we pedaled into Kyenta. We took over a school gym for the night and had a traditional Navajo meal for dinner. 

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Rumor has it that the high temp for the day reached around 110 degrees. I'm not sure I believe it, but I can assure you that it is hot out here. 

Day 37 - Arizona

Sorry, my service isn't great, so I can't put up any pictures. All is well and I am having a traditional Navajo meal in Arizona with new friends. I will put up a post tomorrow when I find service. 

Sincerely,

Danny (Via text message)

Day 36- Utah

I finally left Colorado this morning after a windy night in the desert. I was on the road just after 7am because temperature are starting to hit the high 90s. 

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I encountered more construction on Rt 160 and was able to ride the shoulder even though they weren't letting cars through.

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I was still headed primarily downhill all day which is nice because I get a breeze with minimal effort. 

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I came to another road block, but this time it wasn't construction, it was goats. One goat stood in the middle of the road and he didn't want me to pass. He ran towards me and then a car scared him off. I was ready for a duel. 

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I haven't been to Utah in a few years, but it is good to be back. I am a big fan of the rocks here and the scenery. 

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I have been passing a lot of signs for creeks, but when I get to them there is never any water, just dry, dusty riverbed.  Thankfully I have enough water for a few days.

Day 35- Members Only

I high tailed it out of Durango this morning early to have some riding time in favorable temperatures.  There were a lot of deer where I camped last night and they weren't afraid of me even when I climbed a ledge to get a closer look.

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Yesterday I bought a camelback so I can carry a lot more water through the desert. It is really convenient to carry and extra three liters on your back. I did a bit of reorganizing when the sun came up to take advantage of my new pack. It still amazes me sometimes how much stuff I can fit on my bike.

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I climbed uphill out of Durango for a while, but then steadily lost elevation for most of the day. I rode out of the mountains and suddenly was in the desert of the Ute Indian Reservation.

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There was a huge road block on highway 160 heading south out of Cortez and the police weren't letting cars through. They let me pass because I was on my bike. I rode for about two miles on my own private road until I passed the accident, which did not look good.  As I came to the other side of the road block there was an enormous line of cars backed up. I became a sort of traveling prophet when drivers rolled down their windows and asked for news from the other side. I was the only person let through in over an hour and they took my word for truth. I'm pretty glad I took my bike to work today.

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I am camping at a casino resort tonight in the middle of this sandy land.  They have competitive rates to get people to stay and play. I joined their highly exclusive members program to take advantage of the free ten dollars of play, and to get all the special food deals. I lost all the money, but let me tell you, the Sunday burger special was delectable. I can't wait for tomorrow's $1.99 breakfast. For now I am sitting in the sauna and preparing my body for the intense heat to come.

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Day 34- Right On, Man

I was reading at my campsite last night, and a man on a bike pulled in to the spot next to me. His name is Glenn and he is traveling from LA to NY. He gave me a lot of good insight about the desert because he had just come from there. My route changed a little bit after talking to him and now I am more confident. Glenn has done a lot of interesting trips including a bike ride across Canada and a kayak and bike combination trip across the Erie Canal.

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I left a little bit later than usual because I was talking with Glenn this morning.  I spent some of the day in the Southern Ute Indian Reservation as well as the San Juan Forest. I passed Chimney Rock which towered above the hot asphalt and rode towards Durango.

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Durango has an incredible whitewater park and I really wish that I had my kayak with me. The first wave looked like a great play spot, and kind of reminded me of Rt. 3 wave for those of you who know what that is.

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I know I post a lot of pictures of roads, skies, and landscapes in general, but I don't think I can be more honest than that. That is what see every day out here for hours on end. The landscapes slowly shift as I pedal on, and I then show you the highlights. 

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Tonight I am stealth camping in Durango and I was embraced by the local drifter population that hung out behind the supermarket. They were really enthusiastic about my travels and kept saying "right on, man".  I'm glad they approve, and to all my fellow travelers I return the blessing, "right on, man".

Day 33- Poor John C. Fremont

I left Center, CO early this morning to pedal west back into the mountains. I am pretty sure that today was my last big day of mountain passes.  I rode by an elk and buffalo ranch where they were selling all sorts of exotic meats including bear. I went in to buy some jerky, but there was no one around. I pedaled on.

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I learned of John C. Fremont today as I began yet another mountain climb. He was an American soldier, explorer, and eventually a senator who led a few expeditions to the west. His fourth expedition turned out to be a complete disaster and 10 of his men died in the cold mountains.

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Luckily the weather was a bit more favorable today Than it was in the winter of 1848 and the road was paved. This once impassable mountain is now traveled in less than an hour by car.  I couldn't help but imagine what it must have been like for Fremont and other early American explorers.

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The road to the top of Wolf Creek Pass was a steady 10 mile uphill stretch to just under 11000 feet. Once I reached the top I stood with one foot on each side of the continental divide and prepared myself for a long and steep downhill section of road. I also learned that early cars often had a lower gear in reverse than in forward. This meant that drivers would reverse up steep hills if they couldn't climb it forwards.

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I flew down the mountain in no time and pulled into Pagosa Springs where I set up camp for the night on the bank of the San Juan river. My time in the mountains is dwindling as I will be in the desert of the southwest very soon.

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I will miss the downhills and the cool temperatures because I know the desert is going to be a challenge. 

Day 32- Twister!

I left my beautiful camp spot under the mountains this morning and rode south out of Buena Vista. It was a cold night at over 8000 feet, but it made for good sleeping weather. Poncha Pass was a seven mile uphill stretch to the summit, but felt even longer than that.

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Once I made it out of the mountains and into the valley, I could watch the storm clouds build an move quickly across the sky. It rained on me a few times, but it was nice to cool down.

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I stopped in for lunch at a small restaurant and had some really delicious buffalo chili. 

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After lunch I saw a strange cloud start to form in the valley, it swirled and then finally touched down to the ground. I am guessing it was a small microburst, but I am not a meteorologist. 

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I ended up riding 90 miles today which was quite a lot, especially with a mountain pass. I saw this saloon and wanted to stop in for the novelty of it, but they were closed.

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Tomorrow I will head back into the mountains towards Durango and prepare to say goodbye to my friend Colorado. 

Day 31- Hoosier Pass

Today was another day of high altitude training. I left Silverthorne and pedaled south, well I didn't actually pedal out the door, I kind of just rolled down the side of a mountain for a little while. The speedometer at the bottom of the hill  started flashing as I sped by, it clocked me at 45mph. I didn't even feel close to my top speed either. I'm sure I have gone faster down these big mountain passes (sorry mom).

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The north side of Hoosier Pass was a bit steeper than Loveland, but it wasn't as high. When I reached the top, I met a retired couple from the Netherlands. They were biking from Washington DC to Seattle and had been on the road for two months already.

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My friends and business partners, Brian and Jacob, have started to develop a fictional character based on me. This is what they wrote this morning, it is as if I am the captain on some sort of lonely ship: 

"Captains Log: Day 32 - I've been out of contact with humanity for weeks now, all I have to comfort me are the cryptic signals left by an ancient people, it's as if they know me and are speaking to me. This is all I have strength for today, more tomorrow..."

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"Day 32 - What is this strange wilderness? I've become so used to speaking out into emptiness that the trees have begun to answer. I no longer need my gps to guide me. I simply continue forward and listen. My food supplies have dwindled and there hasn't been a truck stop for days. However I've taken to the art of stalking pray in the wild. My speed and agility are remarkable. So much so that yesterday I stabbed a deer while running beside it. What kind of animal am I becoming?"

I wish I could dispute all of it, but some of it is oddly accurate. I have stopped relying on my gps and mainly use the sun and a map.

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I sped down the south side of Hoosier Pass and rolled into a town called Alma. You would probably recognize it if you are a South Park fan.  I stopped in at America's highest saloon for a burger and then continued my roll down the mountain.

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I went from almost 12,000 feet to around 8,000 feet today. This has to be some of the best road cycling in the US. I am currently camped out under the mountains, excited for another day of downhill riding tomorrow. 

Following Moses

I took today off to spend time with my friend Aaron. Silverthorne is an incredible place to say the least.

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Aaron and I went for a hike and met up with his friend Moses. We spent the day at around 11,000 feet in old growth and new growth forest. Moses is a forest guru who took us up the mountain searching for burl wood that is created by a type of tree disease. This makes a really dense and knotty wood growth on the side of the tree. He makes bowls and other cool things out of them.

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In addition to finding some awesome burl wood we found some mushrooms and all sorts of cool forest life.

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We hiked up a creek that had a ton of water in it. It was continuous whitewater all the way down the mountain.

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After hunting for burls for hours we got a little bit off trail and ended up getting a little bit lost. And by a little bit I mean we were really far off track.

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A few hours later Moses successfully led us out of the woods and we hiked down the mountain, tired, hungry, and thirsty. Tomorrow I am headed south through the mountains for more Colorado adventures.

Day 30- Loveland Pass

I woke up this morning to a gang of high altitude chipmunks trying to get the food out of my tent. They didn't succeed, but they definitely woke me up. I ate some all you can eat pancakes and got on the road. 

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There was a detour around the road that I wanted to take and I was forced to take a road dubbed "oh my god road". There is a reason they call it that. 

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A 12% grade gravel downhill with no guard rails is a great way to wake up. I didn't even need a cup of coffee because I was wide awake as soon as I hit the first turn.

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I made it safely to the bottom of the valley and then almost immediately began the climb to Loveland Pass.  I was pleasantly surprised by the bike paths and roads that lead to the top. It wasn't nearly as steep as I had anticipated. I got to ride next to some incredible whitewater today, and really wish I had my kayak with me, but unfortunately it wouldn't fit on my bike.

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I met two "middle aged divorcees" (their words, not mine) and we pedaled to the top of Loveland Pass. The pass is just under 12,000 feet with incredible views.

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Riding down the mountain was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. I was screaming down the mountain for around 15 miles until I hit Keystone. 

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I rode the rest of the way into Silverthorne and now I am spending some time with my friend Aaron.  I highly recommend riding your bike over the Rockies, it is a pretty enlightening experience.

Day 29- Head for the Hills

Welcome to the Rocky Mountains. I can assure you that they are no joke. This was my view this morning after I said goodbye to Jeff, Vanessa, Drake, and Ardis in Longmont. I was sad to say goodbye, but the journey must continue. I was staring at these mountains for miles knowing that I was about to pedal over them.

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I was starting my ascent and I noticed an unusually large number of cyclists on the road. This was motivating to know that I wasn't the only one out there. It also gave me a lot of confidence in my route. 

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It turns out that I had inadvertently become a part of the Gran Fondo Colorado race... These guys were racing 90 miles through the mountains. Our routes lined up for around 30 miles. Turns out the 30 miles I was a part of were the most difficult.  

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Even though I was carrying a lot more weight than everyone, I didn't feel much slower than some of them. I am pretty excited that I joined my first cycling race by accident. I just wish that I was able to finish the race with them to have a nice downhill followed by post race beers. Unfortunately I had to continue west.

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I made my way into Black Hawk after the steepest downhill I have ever experienced. I had to keep taking breaks because my rims were heating up so much and I really didn't want to have a blow out.  I was ecstatic to learn that Black Hawk is a casino town upon my arrival. Where there is gambling, there are all you can eat buffets. I valet parked my bike and strolled inside for the all you can eat surf and turf Father's Day buffet. I nearly passed out in the hour long line, but it was so worth it.

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I am really glad that nobody I know was there because I turned into a savage. My primal instincts kicked in and I ate somewhere around five plates of food followed by two dessert spreads.  I sucked down around eight iced teas and went to climb the last hills for the day. I definitely got my money's worth and I might be the only winner to walk out of that casino today.

I am currently writing this from a hot tub at 10,000 feet and couldn't be happier. Tomorrow I will make the climb over Loveland Pass.