South Park: A Deserted Oasis?

Days 7-8

June 23rd-24th

Salida to Hartsel 47 Miles

Hartsel to Breckenridge 50 Miles

Wind=evil

My mantra in ultra endurance activities is this: When the going gets tough just keep moving forward. And so it went through South Park, an arid, windy basin located between the bustling towns of Salida and Breckenridge.

South Park is in stark contrast to it’s affluent neighboring towns. Miles of abandoned subdivision roads criss cross the land. An overgrown park sits hauntingly empty. To enter and leave the area requires hefty peddling over mountain passes but the terrain through the basin is relatively easy riding, unless a head wind a brews. And boy did it rip. At times, 40 mph wind gusts blew us right off our bikes and pelted us with gravel. Stopping wasn’t pleasant so we gritted our teeth and pushed on.

Despite the misery, the “town” of Hartsel ,in the middle of South Park, is a mini oasis of sorts for cyclists. The trans-America trail and the Great Divide route coincide here. Since it is the only supply option for miles, cyclists stop to fill their bottles and bellies.

Best green chili burrito yet!

We hit it just as the main pack of Divide racers cruised through. Their daily mileage is mind boggling. With 100 miles under their belt they cruise in and cruise out to tackle the 50 mile section that took us ALL day.

By choice and necessity a collection of cyclists take it slower and decide to camp in Hartsel behind the Highline Bar and Cafe. We enjoyed an evening meeting Lauren and Walker who are cycling across the country. Their infectious energy and storytelling was enough to help us forget our misery from the day.

Though we met and interacted with some stellar folks in South Park we were more than relieved to peddle over Boreas pass into the lush valley below.

The South Park fireman laid out the red carpet offering us water, chairs, and a bathroom.

2 thoughts on “South Park: A Deserted Oasis?

  1. Those fries look awesome! How many calories do you guys have to eat?? How great to meet new friends and hear fun stories from the trail. Stay safe!

  2. Those fries were incredible!!! Honestly, I’m not sure of how many calories we need to eat. I try to eat regularly through the ride and then LOAD up when in towns. Today: green Chile eggs and grits for breakfast, a wood fired pizza for lunch, and Matt Valan made burritos at camp. It was a good eatin’ day.

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