Monday, June 22, 2009
Day 16 - Green River, UT to Grand Junction, CO
Welcome to Colorful Colorado! Our ride today was long, hot, and colorful. We left Green River under blue skies and temps that were cool, but I knew it wouldn't stay that way for long. Our route was along I-70 for nearly all the way. As the day progressed, the temps climbed. By day's end when we reached Grand Junction, it would be 95 degrees.
Our scenery changed throughout the day, but we primarily saw Book Cliffs to the north and mesas or prairies to the south. The lighting was really great for dramatic photos on the road, so I took a lot of shots of my cycling friends. A couple of shots from the back with the sunlight silhouetting the riders in front of me turned out well.
The wildlife we saw that was not dead on the road (skunk, porcupine, snake) included lizards, antelope, prairie dogs, and birds. You had to look hard to spot them, but they were there if you glanced in the right direction at the right time.
We had two SAG stops today. The first was early in the ride around mile 25. But later in the day at mile 66, in the heat just before crossing the Colorado border, I was feeling the need for shade. I was grateful when I pulled up to the ABB trailer underneath a overpass with cool concrete to sit on and shade over us. We lingered there for far too long. But, it was good to catch a second wind.
After the SAG, we crossed the state line and entered Colorado. A bunch of us gathered at the large Colorado sign for photos. At one point, Gerard our ride leader, had a dozen cameras dangling from his wrists as he sought to get everyone's photo on their own camera. After the photo opp, we had a nice descent that was pleasantly interrupted by the "Colorado Welcoming Committee."
Sue, a local resident who has done a number of Cross Country Challenges and other ABB rides, greeted us from her parked car under an overpass where she was handing out Mr. Freeze / Igloo Pops for each of us. "Welcome to Colorado!" she cheerily said as we stopped under the overpass. It was a refreshing was to be welcomed to the state, and our first welcoming committee at that.
With just five miles to go to reach the hotel, Chuck, Leigh, and I decided to stop at a Wendy's for some refreshment. The rest was worthwhile. But as we were leaving, I noticed my rear tire was low. Yep. It's a flat. It's a "Wendy's flat." So we stopped at a nearby shaded park and changed the tube. That's number four for the ride. Not too bad considering a couple of riders today got three flats! Three just today! I-70 is a rough road to ride.
Tomorrow, we'll reach Montrose about 65 miles away. We'll see the Colorado National Monument--a large mesa range to the south--as well as the Grand Mesa, an immense tabletop mountain to the southeast. We'll be following the Gunnison River as it departs from the confluence of the Colorado River, which we followed for several miles as we entered Grand Junction. The other point of interest is we'll join paths with riders on the Tour of Colorado. There are several thousand cyclists in town on a 6-day tour of Colorado. So, we'll try our best to stand out in our America By Bicycle jerseys and make fun of them for only riding six measly days... we're doing 52!
For more photos from today, please visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100182
If you've been enjoying these blog postings, please consider supporting the Ride for Impact by visiting http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 1189
Cumulative Flats: 4 (pray for no more!)
Elev Gain: 3237 ft
Max Elev: 5089 ft
Avg Climb: 1%
Max Climb: 6%