Saturday, July 16, 2005

First the Rocky Mountains and now the Desert Heat...

Now, I know no one said biking our way across the country was going to
be easy, but the recent adventures we've had here on the Southern
Route have been TOUGH.

After (sadly) leaving Boulder, we starting climbing the Rocky
Mountains.
Then we kept climbing the Rocky Mountains.
Then we climbed more of the Rocky Mountains.

Pass after pass, thousands of feet above sea level, for over seven
straight days we biked up and down those mountains. I actually
learned to dislike riding downhill - since it only meant we've have
further to climb to reach the next summit.

We camped at the top of Kenosha Pass (elevation 10,001 feet) during
one of our first days in the Rockies, and let me tell you, it gets
COLD up there in the mountains at night. I had to sleep with my arm
and leg warmers under my clothes to stay warm, but a few brave (or
insane) souls actually slept outside!

We climbed and descended the Continental Divide as well during our
week in the Rockies. We rode up Cottonwood Pass, and after over 20
miles of uphill biking and 12,123 feet, took in the summit before
gritting our teeth for the unpaved gravel road on the way down.

We finally crossed into Utah, thinking we'd finally left all those
long grueling slopes behind us. As luck would have it though, we
found Utah to be full of canyons. Canyons we rode down into and
climbed back out of time and time again. While the climbing in the
Rocky Mountains was just as slow as what we've found in Utah, those
canyons seem a lot more difficult in the 110 degree (or hotter)
weather we've been facing.

We all made it into Moab, however, and enjoyed a much-needed (and well-
deserved) day off. We took a group trip out to Arches National Park
to hike around and see the amazing stone wonders created by years of
wind and water erosion, explored the shops and entertainment in Moab,
and, of course, ate A LOT of good food.

Today we enjoyed a short ride of only 55 miles into the town of Green
River, to give us just a little more time to rest before tomorrow's
daunting 105 mile ride through the desert into Capitol Reef National
Park. Wish us luck (and a little less heat)!