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Day 40: We're definitely not in Kansas anymore!

Spokes day 40: We're definitely not in Kansas anymore

Friday July 14, 2023

Boulder, CO -> Idaho Springs, CO

46.6 miles, 4876 ft climbing

The team had a very unique friday. Knowing it was a shorter day in terms of mileage, the team spent the morning cleaning and repacking the van. Trash was disposed of, floors were vacuumed, bins were packed and repacked. Joy's dog, Indy, certainly approved of the freshly vacuumed floor (much to Kat and her allergies' dismay) We even gave the van a little febreeze spritz. While time consuming, i found it very satisfying to see the end result of a cleaner car. We are perpetually battling entropy, so, rather than feel bad that the van is going to get trashed again, i am just enjoying the cleanliness for now.

We had such a good time staying with Joy's family and are so grateful for their hospitality and compassion. After enjoying lots (and lots) of good food, it was hard to leave. Nevertheless, the road was calling, and we managed to schedule a meetup with Stanford spokes (a group of 6 stanford students biking cross country west to east and also teaching along their route). The Stanford spokes program was started by an alum of mit spokes several years ago. You can find out more about them here:

Our two teams met in the cute town of Golden. We had a big lunch of sandwiches, arepas, and papusas (oh my!) which was followed by Acai and froyo. It was so fun hanging out and chatting with another group of people doing the same crazy thing that we are. Each team shared the good, the bad, and the ugly of their respective trips, and we got to learn about our two very different strategies for the trip.

Some interesting differences:

- Stanford all sleep in the same tent! (We sleep in 4 or possibly soon 5 tents)

- Stanford rotate the people in the van throughout the day and can fit way more people into the van at a time (we never rotate into the van within the same day and can only fit a maximum of two passengers if our stuff is in it)

- Stanford has been doing much more planning en route. They have the next month of stuff planned but not beyong that. (We have most although not all days booked through the end of the trip)

- Stanford spokes doesnt own their own bikes! They got a trek sponsorship but trek still technically owns the bikes (we bought ours and will be keeping them individually at the end of the trip)

The time flew past, and we realized we still had over 20 miles and a big climb left(the red dot on the below image is where we did our stop)

We said goodbye to our new friends and set off up a very big hill. My rear tire has been running a bit soft after my mystery flat, and it had lost a bunch of air during our stop (which is realized only after 7 unusually difficult miles climbing out of town). Fortunately, I keep a handpump on my bike. We climbed onward following the shoulder of a highway (not an interstate, dont panic parents) for quite a while before getting onto some very nice bike paths. I loved the piney smell of the forest and the views made up for the climbs (climbing is absolutely my least favortie thing, im the only one on the team who loved Kansas). After a tough but enjoyable ride through the forests, we rolled into Idaho Springs before the sun had fully set.

Showers were had, a meal of chili and quasidillas was prepared by Kat, and a new friend joined us! You can find out more about her tomorrow since she joined us for our saturday ride. I had to hastily find us somewhere to sleep for Saturday then it was time for bed because Saturday was going to be an even bigger climb. Stay tuned!



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