We left the hecticness of the Breckenridge/Frisco area on the lovely paved cycle trail that we had followed all the way between Breckenridge and Silverthorne. A cyclist caught us up and on chatting found he was married to a kiwi and had spent 3 winters working at Cardrona ski area (small world). We enjoyed a big breakfast at a Silverthorne diner before some highway down the valley and a turn off to a short steep climb over Ute Pass. On the other side we came across the ugly mining site of a Molybdenum mine. The road was now dirt but for 20 miles was being sprayed with a salt solution which we found out was for a bike event called Ride the Rockies to set up the surface to be hard and dust free. We got the wet, muddy version and had to stop at a creek to clean it all off.
A big thunderstorm came thru that afternoon so we camped early, and left early the next day to get to an awesome breakfast in Kremling (where we met a local who had hosted a Wanaka student thru Rotary exchange) on the banks of the Colorado river. The Colorado river enters a serious gorge which the railway follows but we had a big climb and then big descent to meet it again at Radium before a huge climb back out of the catchment to a high campsite.
We had met two cyclists doing 1 day for our 3 days, travelling light, no camping gear, and that evening sitting by the wee fire that night beside our scenic campsite we knew they would still be cycling..
Next day our tired legs had some more climbing to do before a descent to Steamboat Springs, another ski resort town. We tried 4 Warm Shower hosts but no luck so treated ourselves to the Hotel Bristol – the old hotel on the main street (all the rest of the hotels are at the base of the Ski Resort), enjoyed good Mexican and a hot spa before bed – doing it tough?