We woke up to the same conditions that stalled us the day prior. Heavy snow flurries. However, we were determined not to let the weather delay us any further.
From the reservoir we immediately began climbing. The first twenty one miles of our ride would take us to the top of Willow Creek Pass. The first and last five miles were steeper grades. The middle part was relatively gradual and not too challenging.
After ten miles we reached Sawtooth Gulch Campground. It's closed indefinitely due to a flood. However, there are still usable campsites and vault toilets, no water. We stopped here for a rest. Another three miles up the road is Denver Creek Campground. Large campground, it was still under snow though.
Eight miles later, exhausted, we reached the top. There were no campgrounds up here and much of the ground still has a good amount of snow. So we decide to push on to Walden, thirty three miles away. Our reward for the climb and motivation to push on was the thought of a hotel room and pizza.
After we reached the top, it was time to head down the pass. There were a few steep descents and most more gradual. It's mostly ranches and farmland on the opposite side of the mountain. I need to reduce the weight in my front panniers because as I was going downhill my handlebars/front rack was pretty shakey.
Definitely a long and challenging first day. We traveled fifty-three miles and climbed almost 2,000 feet. In a diverse mix of weather; snow, sun, rain, headwinds.
Taking an extra day to rest up in the hotel. Enjoying the jacuzzi and local food. The next couple days we're going to reduce our miles to increase our leg strength. Especially since we didn't have much time to train prior to our departure date.