Read Journal HereNumber of Journal Entries online: 10
|Day 12 - Thursday June 14, 2007 Salt Lake City Rest Day 0 miles
|Lots of things happening for a �rest day�. The riders are spending their day cleaning their bikes, sightseeing and getting massages among other things. The staff is busy cleaning, shopping and getting things ready for our next segment as well as greeting our new riders.
Tomorrow we head out on the next leg of our voyage. See you then.....
posted 2007-06-18 | 00:19:00 | article number: 1
|Day 13 - Friday June 15, 2007 Salt Lake City Utah to Provo Utah 73 miles
|What a difference a couple days make! Just two days ago we were riding through the salt flats with a store every 50 or so miles, today we road through several towns with plenty of places to see and things to eat. We rode through Brigham Young University, a very impressive place. We even passed a bike shop or two. The cue sheet was five times as long on this 73 mile day as it was on our 117 mile day. We were so getting used to navigating by mile marker on the interstate.
We saw the Wasatch Mountains all day while cycling and, while they are just beautiful, the riders were glad they did not need to climb over them to get to Provo. It was almost like having a second rest day! Everyone was in relatively early and the hotel was kind enough to supply bottled water for the riders. It was getting hot they needed it.
Our three new riders settled in today meeting the other riders at breakfast. It was great to see how welcoming our group was towards them and that they all found a group to ride with today. Jay, David and Angie all had a chance to introduce themselves at route rap. Welcome to our group!
posted 2007-06-18 | 00:21:17 | article number: 2
|Day 14 - Saturday June 16, 2007 Provo Utah to Price Utah 76 miles
|Everyone was ready to go bright and early today as we would be climbing over 3000 feet with possible headwinds. A few miles after we left the hotel we did get the headwinds. Pedaling as hard as we could it was a struggle to keep up 10 mph even on the slight downhills. We were very lucky though because as we started our first climb of the day the wind died down and let us climb in peace. The scenery was just beautiful as we rode through canyons with railroad trains running along side them.
Our sag stop was at a rest area and just happened to have a group of French tourists eating their lunches. Robert, our French rider, was tickled pink to take his picture with them. They were so happy to meet a fellow French person riding across the USA that they gave him their remaining sandwiches for our sag stop. Needless to say they were gobbled up right away!
After the sag stop the cyclists climbed for six miles to Soldier Summit, fortunately the wind was now at their backs. Most years our riders visit the Hilltop Store just a few miles from the summit and this year was no exception. The store is the last remaining building of Colten, Utah which used to be a bustling town of 200 families. Mr. Dennis Finch owns the store and will gladly tell you all about it as well as show you his photo album which contains photos of his Granddaddy with Butch Cassidy. Unfortunately only the last few riders at the store were able to meet Mr. Finch this year. He is also the minister of his church and was busy performing a wedding in the morning.
After visiting this store, which one rider described as a little lost corner of the world, the riders had a long downhill into Helper. This town was named for the engines that used to help the coal trains over the mountain. Shortly after passing through Helper the riders were arrived at the hotel. My, today was a busy day.
posted 2007-06-18 | 00:23:47 | article number: 3
|Day 15 - Sunday June 17, 2007 Price Utah to Green River Utah 67 miles
|Most of today was spent riding on Route 6 on our way into Green River, Utah. We passed right through the town of Price almost directly onto a road that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere and we didn�t see another town until we entered Green River. What we did see were the spectacular Book Cliff Mountains and views of beautiful rock formations throughout the day.
Our riders all got into the hotel fairly early as 17 of them had won the 17 coveted spot on the 3 o�clock shuttle to Arches National Park at route rap last night. The condition being that the shuttle was to leave at 3pm and anyone not there would forfeit their seat. With the day being a flattish 67 miles it was not a stretch for any of our riders to make it in by then. Indeed they were all in by 1:30pm despite a headwind at the end of the ride. Most were able to eat a sit down lunch before heading out.
We held route rap a bit later than usual today since those on the side trip did not get in until after 7pm tomorrow we have almost 100 miles to ride so we will be waking up very early. So goodnight for now...
posted 2007-06-18 | 00:43:37 | article number: 4
|Day 16-Monday, June 18 Green River, UT to Grand Junction, CO 94 miles
|After 6 challenging days in Utah, this morning brought the prospect of crossing in to a �new� state as we hopped on I70 for a Monday morning commute to Grand Junction Colorado. The early morning air was just about perfect for riding, but by the time we checked in to The Junction it was all out hot. Even those who prefer to sleep-in were glad they had started early.
Riders accustomed to Interstates in the East marveled at how few exits there were, and by the fact that most of those offered NO services. No gas, no restrooms, no food, no water, NO NOTHING. Had Michelle not set up a SAG stop at exit 227, it would not have lived up to its posted name of Westwater! About 15 miles further east Sue Dixon � an off duty ABB staff member � greeted riders with popsicles. �Mmmmm Cold!�
We had reached the home of the Rocky Mountains, but there were none to be seen yet. I guess we�ll just eat and sleep and see what we get tomorrow���
posted 2007-06-20 | 01:43:28 | article number: 5
|Day 17- Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Grand Junction, CO to Montrose, CO 70 miles
|Sue Dixon came back for route rap last night and promised that we would see the towering San Juan Mountains � capped with snow and everything � long before our arrival in Montrose. Route 50 through Grand Junction is busy so the smooth concrete of the local bike path was a relaxing way to start the day. By the time we rejoined Route 50 it was wide shouldered and bike friendly! Only one SAG today, but it was a beauty; perched along side Grand Mesa riders could look out in all directions after catching their breath from a long climb.
15 miles on we rolled into the town of Delta. After the loneliness of yesterdays desert route it was nice to be back in civilization in time for lunch. Those eating at Caf� Roubideau remarked that the coffee was the best they had enjoyed to date.
Once in Montrose, a van-and-a-half of riders took a six-mile excursion to the Black Canyon before heading back to town for dinner at The Red Barn. The panoramic side trip and the meal � especially the beef stew � earned rave reviews.
posted 2007-06-20 | 01:46:12 | article number: 6
|Day 18- Wednesday, June 20, 2007 Montrose, CO to Gunnison, CO 63 miles
|While luggage was being loaded this morning a couple of riders were overheard saying �yeah�.but its only 63 miles today�
It was only 63 miles, but the first 10 were earned foot by foot. Although Kansas is a few days away, this mornings wind � ferocious and head on � was conjuring up images of Auntie Em, Toto, and Dorothy too as we started the day with a long steep climb right out of the parking lot. The Esprit du Corps that has been building within the peloton was evident as riders encouraged each other towards the summit.
It was only 63 miles, but most took a moment to make a Pre-SAG stop in Cimarron when they could smell the home-made pie and fresh coffee at an area campsite. Having met the challenge of the day�s first climb, there wasn�t a lot of energy left over from breakfast.
It was only 63 miles, but the scenery that unfolded after the SAG at Blue Mesa Summit (mile 28) seemed to intensify with each additional mile. By this time we were descending, and around each bend in the road was a rich green ranch, a towering mesa, the deep blue water of Lake Gunnison, or a thin strip of asphalt between jagged rock cuts.
It was only 63 miles, but every last one of them featured the blue sky, the fresh air, and the intense sunshine that you can hear John Denver sign about on your old LPs, eight tracks, or cassettes
It was only 63 miles, but it marked a triumphant return for Bill R. who has been allowing his achilles tendon to recover after an injury a few days back. Glad to have you back!
Maybe it was only 63 miles�.but it was 63 of the kind you don�t get everyday.
posted 2007-06-20 | 21:07:38 | article number: 7
|Day 19- Thursday, June 21, 2007 Gunnison, CO to Salida, CO 66 miles
|Anyone who has taken a statistics course could easily mistake the profile of today�s ride for a bell curve or a normal curve. The first few miles were semi-flat, and then an un-interrupted climb to the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass (11,312 feet) began. After that it was an all out plunge down to Salida CO.
Crossing the Divide is a milestone on any cross-country ride. It is not at the half waypoint and it is usually not at the highest elevation attained. However, it is reassuring to think that we � just like the drops of rain that fall on the east side of the divide � will eventually make our way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Climbing up to the divide you could easily pick out the optimistic riders from the pessimistic ones. The optimists in the group quickly shifted to their easiest climbing gear; they were confident that the climb would get no steeper. The pessimists identified themselves by riding one gear away from their easiest; keeping that last cog in reserve should the grade intensify.
Just before descending the east side of the divide a sign cautioned motorists to use their low gears for the impending 10 miles of 6% grades. The Cross Country Challenge group must not have seen this sign as they could be heard shifting to their large chain rings in front and their smallest cogs in back, anticipating the gravity that lay ahead. A menacing cross wind may the flight down to Salida a bit more technical than we had anticipated. At times it felt like the wind was about to push you across the road and into the ditch. Or even worse, off the edge of a cliff. Thanks to strong bike handling skills and a helping hand from lady luck, we all made it to Salida in one piece with smiles on our faces and pride in our accomplishments.
Once their bikes had reached their final destination, and the seat belt light had been turned off, a couple of riders looked more like fighter pilots than cyclists as they took of their sunglasses, removed their helmets, and strode up to the Registration Desk.
posted 2007-06-23 | 16:08:55 | article number: 8
|Day 20- Friday, June 22, 2007 Salida, CO to Pueblo, CO 95 miles
|Today was our farewell to the Rocky Mountains. I guess they had enjoyed hosting us as much as we had enjoyed visiting them, since they had prepared a great last lap for us.
Rolling out of town the thermometer read 47F as we started out on a 35.9-mile odyssey that saw us follow the fast flowing Arkansas River as it twisted and turned downstream through the Sangre de Christos. It was moderate downhill all the way � starting right out of the motel - with a new permutation of mountain scenery around each bend. Just picture a 40-mile ride through the scenery one might see on a Coors Beer commercial!
At the first SAG stop we crossed paths with busloads of river rafters preparing a descent of their own down to the Royal Gorge. At that time we also learned that David B. was celebrating his 14th birthday. Few could think of a happier way to mark such a day. David is a great rider, polite and friendly, and will be truly missed when he heads back home after reaching Pueblo. He is the kind of teenager we just might hear from again in years to come.
Canon City at mile 56.3 would officially end our time in the Rockies, and the descent into town was a fitting last act. It featured a strong and sustained grade, smooth shoulders, light traffic, and none of the Monarch Pass-like cross winds. It was the perfect chance to let it all hang out and see how far the speedometer could be bent!
Pushing-on eastward things began to flatten-out and take on a prairie look. Soon the clouds that had been building all afternoon began to congregate and present strong winds, rain, and thunder & lightening. Those who had reached Pueblo breathed a sigh of relief while those out on the road took cover as available. Now it is bright and sunny and all are looking forward to a well-earned day out of the saddle, without the need to repack in the morning.
posted 2007-06-23 | 16:13:37 | article number: 9