Tag Archives: colorado

The Sting

Some things are so American you shouldn’t avoid them.

Tonight I went to a baseball game. After a small bit of sport climbing, Karli and her friend Ash decided while we were eating pizza and just across the road from the Denver Rockies stadium it would be worth it. So we did.

Act 1. The beginning

The stadium is impressive. Big, fully lit to the point there is barely a shadow , impressive and mostly full. And plenty of beers stands, pretzel, candy, and expensive food. We find we got cheap tickets into a slightly more premium area. Taking our seats the game has already started and the stadium is vibrant.

act 2. The slow dance

The thing I wasn’t told about baseball is its slow, really slow, between each bat is about 30 seconds to a minute. Of siting and waiting. They play music to clap too, but it last about 10 seconds and is on loop with about 4 other samples. All night the same four track on repeat. I’m not complaining to much, but its not even a good sample section, its starts turning into hard work clapping along. were in the second play.

act 3 repeat-     It seems the time between the plays/ innings is getting longer and longer, with more and more commercials between flashing on a board bigger than the game display and with mascot style novelty teeth and toothpaste running around advertising a brand. One of the pitchers seems to be spending more time trying to catch out runners trying to steal a base than throwing to the batter. It seems he is dragging out his moment of glory.

Act 4 How Long Is This Going To Take????? Its the slowest game of my life, i feel sanity slipping away. Its like groundhog day. I’ve been tricked, this is no spectator sport, they lied to get me here so i would have to endure it. I presume at this point the stewards have locked all exit doors until a profit margin is hit on sales of drinks and food.

Act 5 Inning 5

I’m sure i can see people on the opposite stand falling asleep, and a brilliant idea it is too, nice fresh air, a slow sedate game with a low commentary, just like being home in front of a tv. I’ve been told we can leave at the end of this inning. I hope its no lie.


In the end we did leave, after a couple off beers, clueless to the score, but did I enjoy it?

Secretly yes, it is kinda good fun. and a nice family environment.

here are a couple extra photos from denver and the past couple days. be sure to read The Wacky Adventures Of Benjamin and Karli. Its the start of the new trip. 🙂



The Wacky Adventures Of Benjamin and Karli

This is the first of a new series of blogs on this road trip

After a great week of chilling out with Karli and her friends we had Karlis’ goodbye night out. Starting as any good night out should with beer, vodka, and champagne bought by Kiva, Molly and Tyler the house mates, and joined by Eliot. Now, on a wednesday night Denver isn’t the most lively place on the planet but with these guys even two’s a crowd. First stop was a dj set with hip-hop and plenty of mixing followed hours later by a second place that for the life of me I cannot remember the name of, but it was empty so we stole the dance floor and bust crazy moves till they became sick of us. On route to pizza the girls decided to take a scooter out for a spin and run a few lights. When we reached the apartment everybody seemed pretty burned except me and Karli, so while they went to bed we went back out to an empty closed city to cause mischief. The idea was to get as high as possible. First of all finding our way onto a building site before setting of a proximity alarm and quickly departing. We went off the site idea and decided a hotel elevator would be easier than an external crane to gain a view. Upon finding a classy looking hotel we calmly walked in greeting staff on route to the lift. Upto the 29th we flew and after wondering around lost for a minute found the exit staircase with a route up. We were so close. But alas the final door would not open. we descended back down and set the height bar lower. There was a two story shopping mall/parking lot that looked feasible. This again confounded us within a few feet of the top. We made one final attempt. We had to succeed and Karli knew where we could!
On she led into the dark till we found a small rise onto a flat roof that dropped away on one side. This was it , the high point, 4foot off the ground. The terrace back at the apartment block was a lot higher but this was outside and without safety rails. We sat for a while at the high side watching vehicles drive by before deciding to head home.
A couple of blocks from home there was one last bar, closed but playing load music outside. Justin Beber- love yourself. One last dance outside with no one else about and we arrived back exhausted. It was getting light out so I don’t know what time but we had a blast and I collapsed on the sofa content.
In The morning we all went around to Karlis’ mums house to see her mum and grandparents before departing. A quick trip back to the apartment to pack and an hour later we said goodbye to the house mates and were on the road. The first shop for our road trip went slow. Standing and staring at jars of tomato sauce to go with pasta not quite knowing which to get, the options were endless, an entire shopping isle. Then picking the ideal pan and plates. It took longer to do this shop than the decision to drive to Argentina and pack for the trip. Last night after the shop we drove 200miles to the Colorado monument Pitching the rooftent up just outside of the park.
We are now on day three, Ill be honest and say after missing a turn we went 68 miles in the wrong direction and had to turn around, but now!, after the small diversion we are on the way. We just passed through moab and have stopped in the grand canyon, might have something really big planned tonight/tomorrow. The rangers told us its not advisable so we know were on the right track. Extreme heat, dehydration, lots of miles and lots of elevation.

watch this space!!


So, my trip has taken a turn (not the first on this trip) which I will get to in a minute. A few days go I cycled the 80 miles out to the base of longs peak (14,259ft), with a bike climb from 5000ft up to 9500ft, collected route information from the ranger station, cycled down 6 miles to national forest and camped.

The next morning at 3am I started cycling in the pitch black by head torch back up the mountain. There is always a debate in my mind when I wake early to climb or hike about should I just lie there and be a normal person getting up at a reasonable time, is this a sane thing to do? Anyway. Arriving at the trailhead I stashed my bicycle behind the ranger station and made some hot cinnamon oats which tasted great. So this is quite a popular peak and there were plenty of people heading up while I ate. The ranger the previous day recommended setting off around 1am, naturally I chucked this piece of advice to the wind believing myself to be a supreme machine(often I am wrong in this assumption). At around 4.15/4.30am I started up, hiking and running the flatter areas. I reached the Keyhole, a natural gap in the ridgewall and only way up at first light, which is where the scrambling begins. I flew past a lot of people and reached the summit after around 2.5hours. I sat a while talking to a few other hikers then started descending. Two others descended with me and turned out to have a decent pace. Which was nice compared to the solitary ascent. After getting back to the car park I whipped up some spaghetti and a mystery silver foil packed sauce which was possibly some form of madras with lentils then dropped down to boulder for the night. There was no plan to go to boulder but 20dollars at the campsite in Lyons seemed expensive for what was there, so I carried on.

In boulder its surprising just how many signs saying no camping are up around the town and surrounding area. I ended up paying 100 dollars for a motel room I didn’t want, I resented it but it did beat the hostel that offered my their last suite room for 250 dollar. This rarely happens but I was tired and hungry and had saved money the previous nights wild camping. I cycled back to Denver, cleaned up my bike with a pack of 1 dollar wipes, bought a beer from a brewery and before I finished the beer sold the bike to a gent I agreed to meet there a day previous to boost my funds a little for the next part of my trip. Met a lovely couple while drinking my beer and letting the gent go test the bike. I had a minor concern he would just ride off on it never to be seen again, but i figured if he did it would be one less thing to worry about.

Chapter 2- The Next Part

So, Through chance I have met a girl called Karli who is wanting to drive from Denver to Argentina. Her plan beats my original plan in a few ways, first, cycling a long way on paved surface is boring, really boring, especially alone its like solitary confinement on a seat not designed for a mans behind. Second, it would be nice to be on a roadtrip for a while and have a few luxuries like pressed coffee, a real seat to sit in instead of dirt, and a climbing partner for some more technical ascent, which there will be plenty of. I have spent the past couple of days hanging around and getting to know Karli and her friends. Today we went tubing on a river with a couple of beers followed by volleyball under glorious sunshine. Sometimes life is hard but I guess I can endure.

Setting off in a couple of days. Mayhem bound to follow.


Fearing I would be trapped in the hostel till the cogs in my mind fuse into a solid state I decided to take a friend up on an offer and go for a hike for a day or two and make a decision on where to go next. In the car as we drew closer to the pass and starting point speckles of rain began to accumulate on the windscreen.  At the top of the pass we picked our packs out the trunk and set out up the hill. 6pm. The clouds were low and a cool breeze swept around the hill. Walking this part of the colorado/continental trail is refreshing, staying high on easy trail in and out of trees. I knew from 2 years previous of a 3 sided wooden shelter with metal roof 8 miles away. This was the target, we drew towards the shelter at around half 8 as darkness was setting in and rain becoming heavy. To my surprise there were tents pitched around but nobody in the shelter itself. Saving a tent from becoming heavy and wet and having space to move and think it was the only logical place to unroll a sleeping bag and heat some noodles. It rained the whole night. I tried catching rain dripping off the roof but every time i placed my pot the drips seemed to change landing patterns.

In the morning the tenters joined us for breakfast. The day continued much the same as the evening before, in a semi-concious zombie state soaked to the bone and hands numbed enough to move slowly when trying to use them. I was calm and composed, trying to be at one with the rain and embrace the cold, not entirely believing myself it was worth coming out.  I fashioned what I would call a pumpkin prom jacket out of an orange coated survival bivi bag, this added a small amount of warmth at the expense of my dignity and of Sabrinas’ who hiked with me. Towards the middle of the day we arrived at the summit of Sgt. Mesa. A beautiful high hill with meadows and trees and fluffy black storm clouds a mile or two off to the side.

Sabrina said “As least the storm cloud is over there”.

Moments later lightning forked across the sky close above out heads with a tremendous crack like a wagon plowing into a concrete bunker. Where most people would stop and sit or panic the thru hiker mentality of ‘stay calm and carry on’ shone through boldly and we kept hiking along the ridge line like a couple of idiots. The addiction to hiking building, adrenaline growing, and tree cover getting thinner. The ridge line narrowed slightly and the rumbles became bombs detonating very close. Another hiker called Steven was heading the opposite direction towards the Mesa summit. I wouldn’t want to be him.

We pitched tent about half way along the 6 mile ridge close to where a tree had been previously struck by lightning. They say lighting doesn’t strike the same place twice, a myth I was willing to believe for the evening with impending rain seconds away. Pitching early did not save us from rain splashing up between the fly sheet and inner tent. This did not put me in the mood to attempt to cook noodles alfresco so we went to sleep hungry questioning why it was so. I dreamt about bears savaging the tent and other wonderful things. My sleeping pad still deflates every couple of hours waking me to the real horror of trail life, the sound of everything becoming wet. This morning was glorious, not sunny, but not raining. It was nice being high up early and having a vile concoction of triple herbal tea with extra sugar from my unofficial trip sponsor ‘the hiker box’. Three miles down the path in fairer condition was where my and Sabrinas’ path would split. I turned north and down hill back towards the road and pass. Deep house tunes blasting out (a one hour kygo mix) I ran the next 6 miles. I felt alive, this is what outdoors was meant to be.

At the roadside I stuck my thumb out and the first truck pulled over.

“Jump in!!! theres a car behind I dont want to get past me” shouted the driver.

I hopped up, “Beer?”

“Yes” I replied. The next half hour back to Salida was nice. I was Acutely aware of how bad my trainers were smelling after fording a stream the colour of cow muck. The driver seemed to understand.

Salida! I’ve wound up back in Salida! Of all the towns in all the states in America, why am I going back to Salida again? With no decision on what I will do next the Vortex has me. The sirens beckon.

‘Wakey, Wakey Rise and Shine! and don’t forget your booties, its cold out there today’


Steamboat- going slow

I don’t think much can beat some tropical deep house music out on a porch overlooking a town while working on a bike. Today like yesterday has been a day of rest and recovery for me and the bike. I snapped a spoke about 300miles ago and have just got around to fixing it now. I had bought a spoke yesterday, went and sat in the park and stripped the back wheel to fit it, only to find the spoke was just too small to catch the thread. Round two today went without a hitch. and its satisfying to have straightened my first buckled wheel this trip, now spinning withing 1mm tolerance. I feel pretty good about this as its my first ever attempt at tightening spokes.

I’m stopped at a friends in Steamboat. Kathleen, a strong hiker I hiked a couple of sections of the CDT with in 2015 seemed more than happy enough to accommodate. She lives in a shared house with 5 other people. They are all healthy runners, cyclists and fitness trainers and fanatics. Eating healthy salads, and carrying pineapples to work for lunch. It puts my diet to shame but I make the excuse I’m burning more calories. I did eat a health dinner last night. Only to be wronged by an obtrusive box of chocolate cupcakes covered in choc mouse and white flakes this morning. (but they were really, really good!!). I washed it down with a couple of cups of strong coffee and carried on fixing and planning.

Colorado is a tricky place to cycle and climb, and stringing an efficient line through to 14,000 ft mountains without adding double passes each day seems no easy task.


My hair is now sufficiently down past my eyes enough to cause a hazard when cycling downhill or just around the town in traffic. Hopefully not long now till I can do the panten pro-v head shake to get it out of my eyes and look LIKE A BOSS!!

The skinny 40mm tyres I have been using have been just holding on the trail, allowing cruising at good speed on the smooth gravel and road sections. But negatively they have been wearing fast and skittering about on the downhill, the lack of traction is a minor concern. Its a surprisingly hard tyre size to get hold of from bike shops, bigger than the average hybrid wheel, but smaller than any other mountain bike tyre.

I think when i head off I will not look at the map but go by the route that looks visually most appealing. The wing it approach seems to serve well. With a 50/50 chance at any fork in the road. I’ve downloaded way points to the summits of the 14’ers roughly on route using Gaia gps showing me where i need to go. Ill cycle to Silverthorne have a easy day then begin (i don’t feel fully committed to this yet so the plan may change, I’m not sure where I can stash my bike while ticking peaks).


After The Basin, from Rawlin to Steamboat

I’ve just felt my face. It felt like it was covered in grit. I’ve looked in the mirror, its covered in salt, white from the effort and sweat. Today I cycled 85mile off road and 30 miles on. I felt unstoppable, until the climb, then i felt like a uncooked beef steak chucked over the handlebars. The end of the gravel cycle had a 1500 ft climb, but the road kept dropping hundreds of feet every few miles adding hundreds more to the ascent. All I could think is the surveyor who planned the road despised cyclists, he probably sits at the front of a log cabin on the way up. Smugly grinning each time he sees a cyclist collapsing over the handlebars with exhaustion, covered in sweat, trying to suck in air that doesn’t seem to exist. After the effort the reward was a smooth paved descent through a lightning storm towards Steamboat Colorado. It was brilliant.


This day started with the sun beaming at my face under the tarp sheet, the wind had been flapping it all night due to my lazy attempt of stringing it up, I envisioned it blowing away in the night but it held on.  I packed quickly, I drank a one dollar energy shot and hopped on the bike. Within a few miles a rattlesnake blocked the route, at first I thought it to be like every dead snake, stretched out along the gravel after a driver swerved to get it, but this one was slightly different in that when I drew closer and it snapped up into a coil. I hastily braked. I feel positive of my identifying this as a rattle snake due to the rattling its tail made. Fortunately the road was wide enough for both of us and I carried on with my odyssey.

I met a few CDT hikers, one called J who happened to be in the right place for a kinda cool photo. Later in the day up the pass where I rested for ten minutes I was entertained by many many humming birds. I have noticed the past couple of days the variety of birds along the way. I don’t know what they are called but keep meaning to snap some photos of the colourful ones, but it seems like effort to stop the bike and so I have only the two photos so far. I have made a few frantic grabs for my phone, but by the time the pin is typed in and camera activated, the desired shot is one hundred meters past already. And so, I sigh.

Its nice to have a motel bed tonight.

Ps. I have noticed when cycling and nearing or cresting a summit, Americans do this fist pumping action thing like a sign of victory along with an agreeing nod and big smile, sometime a ‘Yeah!!!!’. If it happens again tomorrow, I will fist pump back!! Goodnight world.