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Old 08-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #16
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We started real laid back, no worries.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:12 PM   #17
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Taking photos at the gorge

yup
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:14 PM   #18
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yup
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:18 PM   #19
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We don't get these kind of critters where I live.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:11 PM   #20
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Lesson Learned

You know, I have been a professional photographer for 20 years, and I can't express to you how bad I wish I had taken more photos this day. There seems to be a rule: The more inconvenient, pain in the ass, "I'm too tired, I'm kinda freaked out...to take photos"...the more you will wish you had taken them later. So, learn from my mistake, take more photos!!! It only takes a minute!
So we rode up through Chama, Pagosa, Durango and I was REALLY tired. I think the longest I had ever ridden in one day was maybe 250 miles or so. I know there's people that ride 500 plus or whatever, but I am only started riding in the last couple years. Also, as I stated before I am a chronic worry-wort..and pretty sure also an agoraphobe. When others are thinking " yeah, more fun curves" I'm sometimes thinking " I hope I don't have a panic attack" and " Is the altitude making me weird-er?" It sounds totally stupid as soon as I am done with whatever fear thing I have made into a big deal, but while it is happening, it feels completely real. And it is amplified when it is a new environment, new experience, I am tired or hungry and far from home. This was all of the above. I 'm telling ya, it's exhausting being me. Anybody wanna trade brains?
So, again, I know most people don't feel like this but I was getting really wiggy. Especially when I heard we still had 2 more hours to go on the million dollar highway. Maybe some day I will have worked though all this stuff, but for now I am amazed at guys(and gals) who ride the TAT solo, or to Argentina or RTW. You are my heroes. I hope someday I can be like that. I guess I am a work in progress.
Up and up and up then down into Silverton, I had had a couple waves of low-level panic. But in the middle of this I learned something profound: I was so tired. I couldn't make it all the way to Telluride, not today, the sun was going down, it was getting late but I could ride just 20 more minutes. So from Coal Bank Pass all the way to Ouray I just kept telling myself...".I can do 20 more minutes." It was a powerful tool to get me back to being a happy camper.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:28 PM   #21
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Down The Chasm To Ouray

So, now I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (literally twice). This road is simply amazing, there are switchbacks within hairpins and vise-versa. I thought I would be holding up traffic going slow but apparently I was holding my own pretty well. I keep seeing things and thinking" Hey that's the tunnel I saw on a ride report" or "I should maybe I should stop an take a pict,,holy moly that's a steep drop off" I am definately feeling vertigo at this point and every time I think it's the last bend, it winds around to yet another chasm. I see a white van WAYYY down there and think"That can't possibly be where this road is headed" but it is. Down and down. I stop to take one crappy photo..of me, instead of the curves. I have to remember I always have me to photograph, I don't always have The MILLION DOLLAR HIGHWAY!!
Ok. enough beating myself up.:
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:50 PM   #22
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Sunshine on my shoulders

Finally out of the chasm, some guy in Ouray says we have about an hour to get to Telluride and that it is much easier roads than what we just did, Cool. I can do an hour more. There is just enough daylight left. We increase our speed until a big mule deer runs right past in front of me. I slow down a bit but then speed up going up a mountain. I come around a corner and there is a black pig in the road, I'm probably going fifty-f ..hey that's not a pig... THAT"S A BEAR!!! It scurries down a ravine as I am considering stopping to take a photo. Then decide ....Richard is way ahead of me, the bear is in the thicket. I don't need to be pokin a beehive as it were. So I ride on laughing in my helmet..A bear!! That's Awesome!! Ok, how much freaking longer to Telluride?

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Old 08-12-2011, 06:02 PM   #23
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okay whatever

So we get to Telluride only to find out we need to be in Mountain Village. Where the heck is Mountain Village? My good friend is staying there and got a free room upgrade with TWO extra rooms in the suite!! SWEET! Ok we gotta get there. So 20 minutes later we pull into some SWANKY hotel garage and the parking attendant knows our names.They've been expecting us.
Last night I thought we had it pretty good because my tent was near the CLEAN outhouse, tonight were staying FOR FREE at a hotel I could never afford. I am fortunate to have such friends. I walk into my private room and this is the bathroom!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:19 PM   #24
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okay it's not a bathroom report

I slept like a baby in a huge tempurpedic bed after the rooftop hot tub. Not very adventurous, but it was very calming to watch falling stars up at 10,000 feet in a luxury hotel after the longest ride of my life. The next morning I needed to get some dirt under my tires and we were right around the corner from Ophir Pass. If I had known what I know now, I could have saved an hour off the previous day's ride and just done the pass, but I wasn't in the mood for my first mountain pass on dirt at the end of the day and others has said it might be blocked with snow? But we headed up the west slope to check out what has been my favorite view of the TAT since I've been reading yall's Ride Reports.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:26 PM   #25
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Absolutely gorgeous.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:36 PM   #26
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AWESOME so far MOHR!!!!



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Old 08-12-2011, 06:47 PM   #27
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Wink Thanks Klay

Now I can continue knowing that all this typing is visible to others. More pics from a beautiful place. So, as I was saying, we just wanted to go up to the pass and check it out and ride down it again Since we were staying on he west side anyways. And in hindsight, if I had done this pass the day before I might not have learned my "20 more minutes is doable lesson". Also, I would have only had about 500K worth of the million dollar highway.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:57 PM   #28
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Tires.

I was loving my brand new Mefo Explorer rear tire. On the way up ophir pass I was going pretty fast and caught up with a jeep but couldn't really pass because it was narrrow and a LONG way down the scree slope if I fell. So, I stopped. Then when I started again I started to slide down hill backwards. Like me, my boots, the rocks under my boots and my bike going downhill in reverse. But eventually found traction and headed up hill afer a few more slippery slopes. KNOCK KNOCK...Worry Department..."How am I going to get down this slope if I am slipping UPHILL?" My buddy Richard was riding Metzler Tourances which are like 70%street. And he never worries, but was starting to. He later compared our situation to a kitten who climbs up a tree and then can't get down.
Inner dialouge...."It's ok. you could always walk your bike down...ughh." THEN I remembered..Just let some air out of the tires for more traction!!! No Problem! Now were both getting plenty of traction.In fact, we had so much fun we talked about riding back up!
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:59 PM   #29
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. It didn't look bad here, but there were fist sized boulders up a bit and steeper.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:12 PM   #30
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Mathew,

You're writing a great report. We all have our fears and anxieties, facing your challenges head-on is the way to go. After this experience that little voice will know his place and stfu. Keep it coming with your words and photos, the rest of us are sitting on our asses at work and dreaming of similar adventures.
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