Friday, 17 July 2015


So I am currently in a campground one mile above sea level in a suburb of a city nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains USA.


From here, starting this Friday, it is my plan to cycle 1000 miles north out of Colorado, across Wyoming and through Yellowstone National park to Missoula in Montana, journeys end.

It has been a rough journey getting here, and a total of 22 hours from my home in Edinburgh to the motel in Denver. Most likely because of a combination of the pressure changes in the two aircraft I took, and sitting in a cramped seat for a total of nine hours flying, my foot that went through an operation in March, has swollen up big time. In comedy fashion I left the airport wearing only one shoe! Packing it in ice while munching some takeaway seems to have helped.

On arrival Denver was shrouded in jet black heavy skies and the skyscrapers of downtown were under attack for giant lightning bolts. The airport is 25 miles east so we had a fabulous view of the storm. The driver of the shuttle bus from the airport told us all that just a few hours ago in the afternoon there had been a small tornado developing out across the prairies to the east of the airport. Thankfully that was all gone by the time I arrived. Though here in Denver they say if you don't like the current weather wait 15 minutes and it'll change.

The campground is in a western suburb of Denver called Golden, and it couldn't be more different. Where Denver city was an urburn sprawl and choked with vehicles, Golden is a haven to outdoor sports. I always had it in my imagination that Denver would be wall to wall outdoor shops and people with strokey beards doing feats of derring-do. But that's Golden, not Denver. It was founded in the early 1800s as a mining time, principally as a goldrush town.

The bike store where I picked up my new bike from came out to last nights motel and picked me up. I was so grateful as I am lugging around one bag with 20kilos of kit in it and it's around 35 degrees (90F) and very high humidity. It tends to rain heavily around four o'clock and after that the humidity goes through the roof. Today I escaped into the air conditioning of Safeway!

So Golden is a real outdoorsey town and has tried to maintain it's Western style look with the front of the buildings. All around the town are bronze sculptures, some outdoor related bronze and others a homage to Golden's past when it was the capital city of Colorado in the early 1800s. It is still the proud home of Coors beer however.

The new bike is a Specialized Crosstrail Comp Disc and I love it. It is very light, until I put all the kit on it of course. I'm also pulling an Extra Wheel trailer which takes some of the weight off the bike. The bike store have been very helpful, and changed the front ring gear set for me to make it easier up steep hills. They also let me take over a corner of their store today for three hours to finish setting up the bike.

So, for the next five weeks this is what I'll be doing. I have to admit to be slightly apprehensive. It's going to be very hot and humid, I'll have high altitude passes to cross at over 11,000 feet, and hills every day, plus I'm not as fit and strong as I was four years ago when I crossed the USA with Pauline.

I hope you'll check in once a week and follow my progress, if only to see if I've collapsed from heat exhaustion . . . or been eaten by a Grizzly Bear!!

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