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GDMBR Chapter 4

Sargents, CO, to Salida, CO

Marshall Pass

From Sargents, CO, it was a quick 40-something miles up and over Marshall Pass into Salida, CO.

I truly love the Gunnison and San Isabel forests. They feel like home. They were lush, green, with seasonal waterfalls, rivers and snow-capped peaks all around.

The final descent into Salida was juicy! So much fun... I bombed down at 25-45 mph for the better part of an hour, passing a couple cars along the way.

It was so fun I literally forgot about the days past of fighting intense headwind, the sting of a wind-burnt face each night as I went to bed, the sores on my seat bones and the stench of my own body odor after nine sweaty days of not showering and rotating between the same two pairs of shorts and shirts.

As I rolled into the town of Salida, I realized that my once-white sun sleeves were now brown with streaks of orange-red where I had wiped my nose after getting nosebleeds up on the high passes.

A tune-up for Nolie

I went straight to Absolute Bikes and tugged off my bloody sun sleeves as I entered the doors. I heard someone shout, "We've got a Great Divide rider!" and suddenly Nolie was hanging from his seatpost in their shop area.

The crew there was so much fun to hang out with! I had them look at a possible derailleur issue and they also fixed a loose rear hub and handlebar bolt.

After a good cleaning and thorough lookover, Nolie was again ready to rock and roll.

Shower, laundry and resupply #1

From there I headed up to my friend Monica's house, where she graciously let me take over her office/guest house, do laundry, take a shower and collect a resupply box I mailed to her earlier.

We visited that evening after her kiddos went to bed and the next morning they showed me their art gallery as we caught up a bit more over strawberry parfaits.

*a quick side note on food: many people say they crave salty things like burgers on the Divide. But so far, I've mostly craved salads, fruit, beans and ice cream. I think it's because most of the time I'm stuck eating freeze-dried meals and power bars. I'm so over power bars.

The friendly faces of Salida

Around noon I rolled away from her place back toward Salida to run a few final errands, including leaving my name and number at the bar where I had a missed connection, dropping off a High Side gift card for the crew at Absolute Bikes (they charged me $0 for the work they did on Nolie) and catching some live music in the park.

In the park I met David, who started asking me about my bike setup. Low and behold, he's done the Great Divide three times, including northbound!

He's an incredibly vibrant soul with a wild and storied life. We ended-up talking (laughing) for several hours, looked over my map, made up some silly bike-themed dance moves and he treated me to a burrito! I have a feeling our paths will cross again very soon...

As David and I parted ways, I heard a voice say, "Caity!?" I looked up and it was my friend Joel! He was there with a bunch of buddies for a long holiday weekend of mountain biking. We hung out for a few minutes but I needed to leave, as I was already running out of daylight to reach my next camp sixteen miles and 3,200 ft above Salida.

Six miles into the climb, a truck pulled up next to me and it was Joel! It turned out he and his friends were camping up in the same area!

With the wind and setting sun, they offered to offload their bikes at camp then come back and pick me up.

I was so happy to camp with friends that night! The usual craziness happened, including a very Evel Knievel-esque bike jump over the campfire and me crushing a beer can against my bike helmet-laiden noggin.

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