Woke up later that usual. Nothing to hurry to, right? Started the trail and did probably 500 m when I get to those 3 bikepackers I met in Buena Vista. One of the sets of extra brake pads they had sort of fit. Not perfect, but I had a rear brake. Awesome. They also gave me the contact of a bike shop I didn’t know about, in Lake City. The new plan:
- Today do segments 17 and 18, then start the detour – just like in my original plan.
- Tomorrow finish the detour and descend to Lake City – just 15 km one way. Get the bike fixed, maybe find a hostel. Eat a burger.
- The day after tomorrow, get a hitch from Lake City to the start of segment 22, do segments 22 and 23, arrive in Silverton. This third day would be longer that originally planned, but if I pull it off, I won’t need any extra days for this. Would be awesome – fingers crossed.
So I thank the guys for the brake pads and advice and I go ahead with segment 17. It was exactly what I read it would be. Horrible. The ugliest segment so far. Unbikeable – at least for somebody tired and with a heavy bike.
Near its end I met a group of bikers doing segments 17 and 18 as a day trip. Dunno how, but I managed to stay with them for the remainder of their ride and arrived in one big group at their RV. They gave me a couple brake pads to try, but none fit. They also had sodas, beer, chocolate milk, cheese, hummus. Stayed with them for a while, but it was getting late and I had to keep moving.
Segment 18 was the opposite of 17. Little climbing or descending, smooth trails, all rideable.
I then started the detour. About 60 miles to Lake City. My original plan was to camp at mile 4 – campsite near a lake, with water and toilet. Here I met those 3 bikepackers from this morning. They were stopping for the night. I talked to them a little and they gave me a great idea. Hitchhike the detour. “Life is too short to bike on gravel roads” – bikepacker I met.
So I biked to mile 18 of the detour, where I hitched a ride up to mile 26. Halfway there. If I can get a hitch tomorrow morning, get to Lake City, fix the bike, get back to the trailhead of segment 22 and pedal a few miles before camping, I’ll have a manageable day afterwards to Silverton. Fingers crossed!