What a day. It was our coldest start yet, but as usual, we started shedding our extra layers at each stop. For some reason we made good time despite all the climbing. I guess we all had extra nervous energy stored up for today. We all seemed to have a mindset that we didn’t want to hit any downhills. We earned that elevation and we didn’t want to give it back. The only consolation to a downhill was the distance we were covering when we did get a coast.
The road you take to go over Emory Pass has almost no traffic. It seems that most people avoid it because the driving time is increased with all the switch backs. You are in the Gila (pronounced ‘HELA’) National Forest for most of the ride. The scenery was the best yet. The air in the Natl For smelled so crystal clear. You felt like you we’re breathing some of the cleanest air on the planet. Beth caught up to us at the perfect moment, about 5 miles from the summit. I was out of water and snacks and Brian and Mark were pretty low.
When we reached the summit, we rode another 150 yards to get to the vista. I highly recommend stopping to check it out. You can see for 30 miles on a clear day. We could easily see the town of Kingston where we were stopping.
Then the scary part starts–the descent. We all had both hands on our brake levers and took one break just to rest our hands. A little tricky when cars had to get around us. Thankfully it was minimal on the switchback portion of the descent.
The destination was the Black Range Lodge where we cooked dinner for ourselves and the proprietors. Or should I say Brian and Beth cooked dinner. Mark and I did the dishes. Then we played pool (Mark and I against Beth and Brian). I bet that doesn’t make it into Beth’s blog. Absolutely our most exhilarating day of biking since we started in San Diego.