Camping fail

It's not something that's happened before - heading out for a weekend of riding and fun only to return home that same day. But that's what happened last weekend. A number of factors kept adding up and finally I was done. Time to head home and admit defeat. So what happened?

Getting organized to ride - not looking forward to the sun!
It was already hot when we got up. The van was mostly packed, so all we had to do was load the cooler and the bikes and take off. We had a plan, but didn't know how well it would pan out. Being FIBark weekend in Salida, we knew it was going to be crazy crowded. So we would avoid the full insanity of down town and park at the top of S-Mountain for our pedal up to Cottonwood. We could hear the announcers for the Kayak races while we got ready to ride. I was wishing we were down playing in the river instead of riding. It was that hot out. There were no goals on the ride but to have fun. Still, when we started riding up Little Rattler, I felt like crap. My legs were heavy, I was already tired and my HR was sky high. I figured it was due to the heat since I'd had two long days on the bike on the hottest days of the week so far. I was also hoping that I'd feel better once we got onto North Backbone. Nope. I was off on all the technical features and getting frustrated.

Once we got onto the road, it was even worse. Besides the heat and fatigue, it was something I'd never anticipated. Use Trail Rd is a light, very light road. And the sun was very bright. New sunglasses and visor on my helmet weren't enough to combat the sun reflecting up under my sunglasses from the road! My eye was hurting within minutes, making me even crankier. Add in the rednecks hauling ass on the dry gravel and it wasn't a pleasant pedal on the road this time. But Cottonwood was still fun when we finally got to it. I was still feeling off on the technical stuff, but happy to be off the road and into the brush. We rolled down the single track, finally enjoying the downhill. We didn't take Sweet Dreams since we were parked up top, opting instead for Backbone.

Trying to smile, but feeling cranky at Rainbow
After the ride, we had a choice - stay in Salida or surroundings and ride something we knew like Starvation or Rainbow west of 285 or head back east and check out a section or Rainbow east of Salida. We decided to head east. The plan was to drive up Kerr Gulch, do a short second ride and camp up there for a longer ride Sunday morning. Well... When we got up to the Kerr Gulch trailhead and got out to get the bikes down, the flies swarmed us. I think I had about 30 on me and my bike at one point! Ugh. I hate the feeling of bugs crawling on me and that many flies was just crazy. Then we started pedaling. That last about 5 minutes before I was off my bike and pushing. Time for some HAB. We got up to Rainbow trail, turned left and hoped for more riding. Nope. I was probably pushing as much as I was pedaling! That didn't help with the crankies... So much for that section of Rainbow. Maybe when I'm fresher, it might be worth riding. But not then. And there was no way I could camp up there with the flies. Back down to 50 we went.
Look, I'm pushing my bike!
We could still have turned west and just found a place to park. There was time before it got dark and then we could have ridden something fun on Sunday. But that wouldn't be exploring. Time to check out Temple Canyon for a possible ride there Sunday. I haven't ridden at that trail system yet and it sounded like a good idea. We'd camp off the the road, then get up and ride in the morning. It was a good plan. Until we got to a good campsite, got out, set up the table and started getting food ready. And then it was clear I wouldn't be able to stay there. The gnats were attrocius and everywhere. I had gnats in my mouth, my eyes and my ears. I wanted out of there. I finished warming up supper and pretty much told Nick I was done and wanted to go home. I was hot, my skin was crawling from the gnats and I was cranky. The bugs were getting to Nick too, so we gave up. Time to go home and admit that we'd chosen wrong for this week's adventure.

Sunday still turned out to be a good day though! We slept in, had a good breakfast, went back to bed for a while and then finally got organized for a short, hard ride in Ute Park. It wasn't hours of pedaling, but the hot laps were just what I wanted. Salvaging the weekend meant admitting defeat and honoring how fatigued we were from the heat. Not all adventures turn out how we plan. It's how you deal with the frustrations that make the day.


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