Day 20 - Salida to Pueblo CO
Mileage: 107 miles
Total Climb: 2,500 feet
Weather: Cool with a drizzle to start, then heavy rain and winds, clearing up as they reached Pueblo.
The descent from the second half of yesterday’s ride would continue for a good portion of today. We would be riding down Highway 50 on winding roads bordered on one side by rocky cliffs and the other by the Arkansas River. The view was breathtaking the entire way, but also fairly stressful, as this is a high-traffic road with small shoulders and limited visibility. Add to that the encroaching rain clouds that hung low overhead, and we had a few things to worry about.
While nearing the first SAG, our riders encountered heavy headwinds and a drizzle. The precipitation continued as they got back on the road and as it got worse, so did the winds. A few riders were picked up because of the severity of the combination of cold weather, rain, and headwinds. One cyclist, Byron, got a flat during this period and took shelter with a few others he was riding with in a service station until we could reach him. This day started to become much harder than it seemed at first.
At the second SAG stop near the VFW, from which you could normally see Pike’s Peak (today was extra cloudy, and we were lucky if we could see across the highway) we gave riders the option to either take the van in or continue riding. Those that rode on were treated to the weather changing dramatically within the last 20 miles, the sun coming out and the clouds receding as we got closer to Pueblo. At the end of the day, everyone got back safe and nobody had any mechanical issues either, so it could be looked at as a successful day. Today our riders worked for their rest day, and tonight we were hoping that tomorrow would clear up so they could enjoy it properly. See you on day 22!