Last night the skies disappointed again. The light of the near full moon and the buildings down the hill from my motel made it feel almost like I was at a much higher latitude.
I grabbed a cup of motel coffee (mistake), a mini danish (not bad) and some snacks got the road then I headed down hill to Torrey, UT.
I spotted a coffee shop that served breakfast. Not exactly second breakfast. Certainly not elevenses. But it hit the spot.
On the road the word for today was up. I had 3,000 feet of climbing to do, topping out at 9,600 feet. My bike was laden with about six liters of water so I had no delusions of pulling this off without walking.
The scenery continued to be laughably awesome. I rode into the Dixie National Forest. Pines and aspens and assorted other trees began filling the landscape. As I climbed the creeks which had been muddy were running clear, no longer picking up red sandstone dust.
I struggled to find energy. About 30 minutes into the ride breakfast kicked in. (It’s actually noticeable when my body starts processing food.) I had a pleasant tailwind but I was working much too hard. After a few miles I got off the bike and walked in the hope of recharging my legs.
As I plodded along I spotted a coyote crossing the road ahead. I could hear them barking in the distance, too.
A half hour later I was back to pedaling. I had a nice tempo going and could enjoy the scenery. I passed some Forest Service campgrounds that we’re half decent. If you can’t find an official campground, you can camp anywhere you want on federal land as long as it’s not a National Park. So there are no worries about a place to lay my head down.
I pedaled most of the last eight miles but the last bit was too much and walked to the summit sign.
Then came the fast ride down. Nope. I descended a few hundred feet only to be confronted with a hill.
This is like a trick calculus problem with a local optimum. Second order conditions don’t help. Nerd.
Once over the bump I had a scary, bumpy 30+ mph riot of a ride all the way back down to Boulder town. Along the way I spotted three deer crossing the road. (Please let there not be more. I’m going over 30!) Near the end of the plunge I ride past yet another farm with llamas. A couple of them bolted across the field parallel to me. Llama stampede!!
Actually they appeared to be oblivious to The Mule and me. It was some sort of domestic dispute.
I stopped at the Anasazi Museum and checked out the ruins of a community that was abandoned in the 12th century. Then I bought a burrito from Marigold’s, a food bus parked outside. I asked then to cut the burrito in two because I couldn’t possibly finish it all in one go.
Ten minutes later both halves were vanquished. Mountains make me hungry.
For most of the ride the weather was perfect: cool, dry, breezy. Near Boulder town the wind changed direction and increased in strength. When I climbed Monarch Pass a week ago I foolishly continued on, 32 miles into a headwind. The next day I quit early. So I didn’t want to repeat that mistake.
I checked out a motel across the street. It was okay but the clerk could tell I wasn’t enthusiastic. She advised me to ride into town to see what else was available. I couldn’t help myself. I checked into a resort motel with a gourmet restaurant, hot tub, robes in the room, etc.
More pix and a babbling brook on Instagram.
Why not, right?
Miles today: 39.5
Tour miles: 2,025
Top speed: 39.5
Tomorrow looks like a ride through Escalante. And a descent across the hogback: 3 miles with narrow lanes, no shoulders, no guardrails, and big drops to either side of the road. Weee!