Stage 10 — Pueblo to Durango
Stage 10 – Pueblo, CO to Durango, CO – 264 miles
Yesterday’s challenge was made difficult by the sheer number of miles and the heat. Today’s ride is an insane climb through the Rocky Mountains on 100-year-old motorcycles. Altitude sickness was also a problem for some riders.
Riders first encountered the La Veta Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (part of the Rockies) and rode to an elevation of about 9,400 feet. Ziggy and Cris did the whole climb in 3rd gear and never had to downshift. Pretty awesome. I snapped photos from the crew van because we finally had some interesting scenery.
The steeper climb, however, was the the Wolf Creek Pass in the San Juan Mountains (also the Rockies) which is over 10,800 feet. At the top of the pass is a sign marking the Continental Divide. Ziggy and Cris performed well on both climbs. Ziggy powered up both in 3rd gear, riding at about 50 mph. Cris did the first pass in the 3rd gear, and most of the second. She only had to drop down once into 2nd gear, letting Effie climb at a steady 35 mph.
Once they got downhill to Pagoda Springs it looked like it would be easy going. But then they ran into lots of traffic, and at one point Cris’ throttle stuck. Her idle adjustment screw backed out. That took a while to figure out and correct. Fortunately, they did not loose too much time and made it to the final checkpoint within their allotted time for full points.
There was a lot of drama at the top of Wolf Creek Pass today that had nothing to do with Team Honeymooners. Hans Coertse, last year’s winner, succumbed to altitude sickness (and a bleeding ulcer) and had to be hospitalized. First place leader, Dean Bordigioni, was given a short tow (less than 1 mile) by a Cannonball Staff member, which proved to be his unraveling in the winners’ circle.
Below are scenes of Ziggy and Cris checking in at the day’s end. Cris was often asked to sign books, or give out autographs. She is one of the consistently successful women Cannonball riders. She wrote a book about her first Cannonball experience in 2010.