“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

Day 47: Monarch Pass day! Another epic day in the life of an NC2SD Bike & Builder!

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The day started out beautiful, as per usual in the Rocky Mountains!

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It was Tim’s birthday, so we made him blow out a candle every time he ate something… Despite the fact that there are very strict fire bans in most parts of Colorado. YOLO!!

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We met a cyclist on our way out who was in his 70s. He had moved to Salida, CO specifically for the great cycling opportunities! He had words of wisdom to offer us: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” I thought about these words for much of the day.

We made it to the bottom of the 12 mile climb and started cranking. Regular Ryan sang us songs like Bohemian Rhapsody and other songs that everyone should know. We sang along whenever we could catch our breath for just a few seconds.

A little over halfway up the mountain, Meg caught up to us! She’s typically a faster climber than most, so I decided to break off from my group to join her so I could get to the top faster!

It was so exciting when we got to the top of Monarch Pass!! We ate lunch in a gorgeous location, and we took a gondola up to Monarch Crest so we could get a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains!

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We took so many photos! And I ate snow at the top of the Rockies!! Just to remind you all… I BIKED FROM NC TO COLORADO AND UP THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. I’ll brag about this for the rest of my life.

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The descent was just as awesome as you’d imagine, and the rest of the ride into Gunnison was scenic. We did get hit with some out-of-nowhere rain and hail and some terrible winds. The winds made Sarah and I question if we had somehow teleported back to Kansas. Luckily, that was not the case, and the storm passed quickly.

Gunnison treated us well, and we got excited for the Fourth of July the next day!

Day 48: HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! Gunnison to Ridgeway, about 92 miles.

The town of Gunnison has an annual Fourth of July hot air balloon event, so as we were leaving, there were SO many hot air balloons floating above us through the air!

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I rode out with a huge group of girls, and we decided to sing American songs all day… Most of which were country patriotic songs.

We all were decked out in red, white, and blue!

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Erin held a “Team USA” flag in her hand for a long time, and many passing cars honked and waved at us! We felt so American.

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It was a day of many different landscapes. We went through canyons, lakesides, deserts, forests, and country sides. It was a hillier ride than we had hoped for, but it was still enjoyable!

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Our favorite road sign of all time (we get really excited when we see one of these !)…

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When we got to Ridgeway, they had a cookout for us! We listened to music, played frisbee, and relaxed in the hot springs for a bit!

We were ready to take on Million Dollar Highway the next day!

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