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Cross Country Challenge Journal, page 2
Salt Lake City to Pueblo, CO
(Rocky Mountain Tour)

current date and time 2006-03-23 | 19:59:12
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Number of Journal Entries online: 9
Day 13 - Friday June 17th - Salt Lake City to Provo, UT (64 miles) 1800� cumulative climb
On the road again! Nice to have a day off, but it�s good to get moving again. New cyclists Helen, Stephen and Kevin joined our group in Salt Lake City. The temps today were pretty nice for cycling, in the 80�s. As the day progressed however, the wind began to pick up and was gusting to 25mph, mostly on the nose. Instead of a cycling paceline one group mentioned they were riding in a conga line. We followed the high plain south between the Wasatch Mountains to the north and Utah Lake to the southeast. The highlight of the day had to be cycling thru the beautiful BYU campus. The �Y� as its know to students is also spelled out on the mountain behind the University. The area is a little more populated than we�ve seen the last week, mostly residential neighborhoods. Tomorrow we head up thru the mountains and back into the country. Everyone arrived in Provo safely. Overheard on the road, �Anyone doing the scavenger hunt?� �What does BYU stand for anyway?�

posted 2005-06-20 | 04:35:01 | article number: 1

Day 14 - Saturday June 18th - Provo to Price, UT (75 miles) 3410� cumulative climb
Beautiful day today as we continue southeast and head up into the Wasatch front on our way to southern Utah. It�s another sunny day in the 80�s. Everyone getting a lot stronger. It�s evident as we climb 6 miles up some large switch backs to Soldier Summit (7,447�). The views are very scenic and beautiful. We get a little downhill run but don�t bleed off much altitude yet. We�ll ride along the top of the ridge a while. It�s a little narrow with a good drop off in places. After a while we hit a steep 12 mile descent into the town of Helper. A good head wind slows the drop a little. Helper has a large coal mining operation. Here the Union Pacific picks up a �helper� engine to assist the train up the mountain. We�ve come out of the mountains now and continue on an easy rolling plain. After a quick rest stop, we ride the final 9 miles to Price and our overnight hotel. Everyone arrived in Price safely. Overheard on the road, �Climbing again� �Check out the view� �Has, anyone see Jesse James!?!�

posted 2005-06-20 | 04:40:38 | article number: 2

Day 15 - Sunday June 19th - Price to Green River, UT (66 miles) 1160� cumulative climb
Nice day today, warm with temps in the low 90�s. This is wide open country. We cycled out into the rugged, rural landscape, away from Price, people and civilization. We continue to bleed off altitude throughout the day, sometimes gradually and sometimes dramatically. Off in the distance we can see the mountains and a phenomena called the �Book Cliffs�. Looks like layers of rock stacked along the mountains, like a book shelf. The layers are colorful shades of red and orange in contrast to the browns of the mountain. It is really spectacular. We rolled into Green River early. A major melon growing area, Green River was originally set up as a Pony Express mail stop in 1878 on the site where it was the easiest to ford the Colorado River. John Westly Powell also made a name here as the first explorer to extensively map the Colorado River. Once everyone arrived in Green River safely, We all piled into the AbB van and went south for a tour of Arches National Park. It was just spectacular! The view of the red rock canyons and arches were amazing. Great Day!! Overheard on the road, �Wasn�t every western movie I�ve ever seen filmed here!� �I saw one tree today!� �Where�s the DQ?!�

posted 2005-06-22 | 15:27:25 | article number: 3

Day 16 - Monday June 20th - Green River to Grand Junction, CO (95 miles) 3120� cumulative climb
Up early today for the almost century ride into Colorado. Another State conquered today as we continue to roll EAST. Sunny and warm today, in the mid 90�s. Very desolate riding but nice country as we depart the �Book Cliffs� and begin to roll more. The climbs get gradually longer. Paving crews out today, which can be a problem sometimes, not today! All the work was done, but the orange cones were still up. We had our own, new paved lane with no traffic for miles. It made the riding a little easier. But the head winds picked up and beat us up a little. Our destination brought us right below the Grand Mesa, the largest flat top mountain in the world, and welcomed us to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Grand Junction got it�s name as the Junction of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, and the Junction of the railroad between Denver and Salt Lake City. Overall a good but long day!! Everyone arrived in Grand Junction safely. Overheard on the road, �We must be in the express lane!� �See those mountains over there, that�s where we�re going!�

posted 2005-06-22 | 15:28:02 | article number: 4

Day 17 - Tuesday June 21st - Grand Junction to Montrose, CO (69 miles) 2530� cumulative climb
Boy we�re really making progress now. Arriving in Montrose puts us over 1200 miles and about 1/3 of the way across the country! Another beautiful day, warm in the 90�s. As we depart Grand Junction, we followed a bike path for 12 miles out of town to avoided the city traffic. Nice start!! Out on the road, we climbed most of the day. No real mountain passes, but pretty consistent elevation gain. We see the big mountains off in the distance and are preparing for the big stuff the next two days. At our 1/2 way point of the day, town of Delta, we picked up the Colorado Ride the Rockies tour and rode the rest of the day into Montrose with 3000 cyclists. It was interesting to see and ride along side with so many cyclist. Everyone seemed well behaved. Once in Montrose there were cyclists everywhere. We literally took over this small Colorado town. Everyone arrived in Montrose safely. Overheard on the road, �Hey, who are all these guys anyway?!?!� �Next up, Monarch Pass!�

posted 2005-06-22 | 15:28:40 | article number: 5

Day 18 - Wednesday June 22nd - Montrose to Gunnison, CO (63 miles) 4810� cumulative climb
Up early today, ready to hit the mountains. 2nd biggest climb day of the tour! We�re off again with the Ride the Rockies group, looks like we�ll see them for another day. Warm, with temps in the 90�s. Strong headwind for the 1st 12 miles until we got up into the climb a little. The scenery is beautiful, Colorado Rocky Mountain High!! We climb a pass and get a wild ride down. The climbing is varied, sometimes long and gradual and other times steep with switchback turns. It�s up and down for a good portion of the day. Our final descent drops us down the canyon to Fork Lake. This is a huge reservoir that�s also part of the Gunnison River. Lots of water related activity here, boating, fishing, swimming, etc. Once at lake level, we move along nicely with a tailwind that pushes us the final 12 miles into Gunnison. Quaint downtown with plenty of shops, restaurants and activity. Talk of the town today was the Moca-chillers! Good Italian food for dinner filled the tank for another day of climbing tomorrow. Everyone arrived in Gunnison safely. Overheard on the road, �Keep spinnin� were getting there!� �How about that descent! What�s your max speed?� �Anyone bring their raft?�

posted 2005-06-24 | 13:05:41 | article number: 6

Day 19 - Thursday June 23rd - Gunnison to Salida, CO (66 miles) 3950� cumulative climb
Good Morning, it�s Monarch Pass day! Off we go today to climb the highest point of the tour, Monarch Pass 11,312�. It�s also the continental divide. That�s the point where any rain to the west of the pass flow to the Pacific and east of the pass eventually flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Nice day, warm, sunny and NO Wind!! The climbing today was amazing, nice smooth roads, plenty of company. Once at the top of the Pass it was a party. Maximum celebration for all the cyclists. Also a birthday celebration for John Clarke, 63. From the top you can see for hundreds of miles, the views were stunning. You could even take a tram to an adjoining peak for an even better view, WOW! Definitely a highlight of the trip. Now it�s all downhill from here, Well almost!! We did get a great ride, over 20 miles downhill, right into Salida. The first 12 miles were fast and steep. It was a great time checking out the scenic views and pedaling a little less for the rest of the day. We also picked up the Arkansas River, which we�ll follow off and on now for the next 500+ miles. We all got a chance to explored town before the pizza party. Tomorrow we head out of the mountains and out onto the plain states. Everyone arrived in Salida Safely. Overheard on the road, �This is the most beautiful place on earth!� �What a party!, I wish it was like this on every pass we climbed!�

posted 2005-06-24 | 13:08:17 | article number: 7

Day 20 - Friday June 24th - Salida to Pueblo, CO (95 miles) 1710� cumulative Climb
Last day in the Rockies! We were up early to beat the Ride the Rockies cyclists to the great descent. Weather today was warm and sunny in the low 90�s. Great ride as we continued to come down out of the mountains. The riding was very scenic as we twisted and turned and descended along the Arkansas River. Fast at times the route offered many opportunities to pull off and snap a few photos. On this the Eastern side of the Rockies, the mountains are sharper, brown and arid, with much less tree cover and vegetation. There were plenty of people rafting the whitewater on the Arkansas River. Canyon City was the 1/2 way point of the day. Here we bid the Ride the Rockies tour good bye as we continued east to Pueblo. Many cyclists took a 12 mile detour from Canyon City over to Royal Gorge. This is a tourist area, but well worth a look. Spanning across the Royal Gorge is the worlds highest suspension bridge, built in 1929, some 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. Incredible view!! The rest of the ride today was warm as the mountains turned into high plains and rolled all the way to Pueblo. We will not see mountains again until we hit New England. Every one arrived in Pueblo safely. So long to Helen, Kevin, Gene, Stephen, and Kevin....Welcome Jay! Overheard on the road, �WOW check out the view!� � Hi Michelle!� �So long Rockies!�

posted 2005-06-27 | 13:56:36 | article number: 8

Day 21 - Saturday June 25th - Pueblo, CO - Off Day!!

It was nice to get a break off the bike today. Hard to believe we�ve been out here for 3 weeks and so far have come almost 1500 miles!! Was nice to sleep late!! Had a chance to tour the town a little. The big thing happening this weekend was a Classic Car and Hot Rod Festival. Plenty of cars all over town including at our hotel. Jim found a Rapture center, so some of the gang took a trip there. Since Bill is a licensed falconer he shared lots of falcon/hawk information with us during our tour. Mostly relaxed by the pool, did laundry and had a great steak dinner. Gearing up for the 121 mile day to Lamar tomorrow. Overheard today, �Can I get that 29� Model T with a bike rack?� �Eat, Eat, Eat!!� �Is that a hawk or falcon?� �Anyone up for a run to the DQ?!!�

posted 2005-06-30 | 05:40:56 | article number: 9

Back to Page 1 San Francisco to Salt Lake City, UT (Western States Tour)
On to Page 3 Pueblo to St. Joseph, MO (Tour de Plains Tour)
On to Page 4 St. Joseph, MO to Indianapolis, IN (Heartland Tour)
On to Page 5 Indianapolis, IN to Erie, PA (Country Mileage Tour)
On to Page 6 Erie, PA to Portsmouth, NH (Eastern States Tour)


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