I woke up the next morning to discover that I had left our coffee grinder at home. An adventure without fresh coffee in the morning? Unacceptable and the worst part is that it affected everyone. I was the loser of the day. The outcast. The numb-skull. Luckily my partner solved the crises by borrowing some ground coffee from a nearby camp of fellow mountain bikers.
The decision, I think, was to do the ever popular Curly Lake Trail. Medium in length but dramatic in every sense of the word. Not really too hard but lots of loose rock. We all went at our own pace with my partner charging up the first climb. We all gathered at strategic locations, Westphal Park, Curly Lake, and the such. After a bit of a rest, or a … what … nap, we would head out again to breath as much air as we could.
Right at the saddle before the high point I caught up to Mo and together we climbed to 10,080 to soaked up the panorama. Back down on the saddle near a cairn we spotted Paul. We shouted. He raised a fist … later we think it was the finger. Then he collapsed. We went down to his aid trying not to act to concerned. Seemed he was due for another nap maybe, right?
“We are doing it again” Mo said, “We are killing Paul.
“I know … shit, just like last year”
Acclimatization to high altitude is not simple folks, Paul is from New York, and there are a bunch of effects. It is not all fun and games. An increase in red blood cells and thicker blood. This can decrease the amount of oxygen getting to where it is needed. The biggest thing is that you can not just exercise at a high level day after day. Mo and I live here and don’t realize it as much. Actually I know I cant hammer around every single day.
All was well with a little rest every now and then. For me the downhill so much fun. It did become apparent to us though that we were running out of day and light. And so we cut the journey short and came out just shy of the full loop. Once on the road I gladly rode up to drive back a sag wagon. Still an epic day? Damn right.