|The bike path from Fairplay to Alma|
Although this was to be a landmark day, my first crossing of the Continental Divide, I would not be travelling a long distance. There was no need to leave at sunrise. I waited for the Hand Hotel's very good continental breakfast at 7am.
The first 8 km was on an off-road bike path that took me to Alma, the highest incorporated town with permanent residents in North America (elevation 3,224 m).
|Climbing the pass|
Back on Route 9, I headed for Hoosier Pass. Traffic was light. Weather conditions were good; the wind was SW and light. The ascent was gradual at first. Then, with 6 km to go, it steepened.
|Nearing the top|
It was no steeper than climbs in the Appalachians and I did not need to use my lowest or second lowest gear. The only difficulty was shortness of breath due to the altitude. It troubled me less, however, than the day before yesterday when I climbed from Cañon City to Guffey. Today I just spun the pedals and in no time I was at the top.
At 3,517 m above sea level, Hoosier Pass is the highest point on the TransAm Trail. I was elated to have reached it. Walkers were setting off from the adjacent car park. I asked one of them to take my photo in front of the sign.
|Looking north from Hoosier Pass|
The fabulous, sweeping descent along the Blue River was marvellous. The landscape was so beautiful, green forest, blue sky, blue water, majestic mountains. I loved it.
|Hills around Breckenridge|
Seventeen km of downhill brought me to Breckenridge (elevation 2,926 m), a very different town from most of those I have passed through. This one is doing well economically. It caters for affluent tourists enjoying active holidays in the great outdoors. Its main street is filled with outfitters. The big name brands are there; so are plenty of cafes, boutiques, and other retailers.
|The bike path from Breckenridge to Frisco|
I walked up and down the main street then left without buying anything. I took the 15 km high quality off-road bike path to Frisco, still descending. Today being Saturday, the path was busy with cyclists of all ages – locals, day trippers, weekenders, others – on bikes of all kinds. It was a pleasure mixing with them and hearing the roadies call out 'On your left' as they sped past.
|Saturday morning cyclists on the bike path|
I arrived in Frisco (elevation 2,766 m) after a total ride of just 52 km. I might have continued 12 km to Silverthorne, a common destination for cyclists on this stage of the Trail, but the motels there are clustered round the interstate highway exit and it did not appeal.
|Main Street, Frisco|
Frisco is a similar sort of place to Breckenridge but on a smaller, more human scale. Like Breckenridge, the high mountains surrounding it provide a magnificent backdrop. Cyclists ride up and down the main street, which is full of shops and pedestrian crossings. The cafes are filled with people in cycle clothing. There is even a historic park and museum resembling a reduced version of Fairplay's South Park City.
|Main Street, Frisco|
It is a very pleasant place to spend the post-cycling part of my day. I did my laundry, had an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet for lunch, advertised as Himalayan cuisine, and Martin cut my hair.