Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 23, Monday, June 29th, Lamar CO to Garden City KS 104 miles

Today the skies were sunny and the temperature started in the low 60s to low 90s by the afternoon. My uncle Bob told me he did a century ride and held a 20 mph average. That is quit an accomplishment and became my goal today. After loading, I spent a little extra time in my room doing my business and when I came out of the hotel everybody was gone. This gave me another incentive to go after my goal, last to first. Not possible because Tom Dull (left) otherwise known as the Lance Armstrong of the trip, has been the first one to the hotel every day.
By the 2nd sag I caught up to Tom. We left the sag together and for the first time I reached the hotel first. I traveled the first 100 miles in 4:34 traveling at an average speed of 22.

We have finally left Colorado and have entered Kansas. Not that I wanted to leave CO, it is a beautiful state. I will miss the scenery. Kansas is hot, flat, and the oder from the cow feed lots is enough to make you pedal faster.

One of these pictures is from East Colorado the other from Kansas, not much different. There will not be to many scenic pictures, however; tomorrow will be a good picture day as we enter Dodge City and will catch all the cowboy shows.

Had dinner at the Golden Corral again and now it is time to get ready for an easy 51 mile ride to Dodge City and lots of fun. My butt needs a little rest after 225 mile in 2 days.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 22 Saturday, June 28th Pueblo, CO to Lamar, CO 121 miles

The day began with a 5:45am load, breakfast @ 6:00 and depart at 6:30am. I got to see the sunrise, which was one of the best sites of the day. Not much picture taking, mostly open fields and small towns. Temperature was low 50s when we started warming up to low 90s. The wind was out of the southwest which helped evaporate our sweat and gave us a little push at times.

Chris from Ohio (lt), Bob from Seattle (m), Jack from Florida (rt), and I rode together forming a pace line. We found a much appreciated Dairy Queen at mile 85.

I was humbled when I ran into Joy and Mark. I thought the ride was tough. Joy is running across country, LA to NY, 30 miles a day.
If we got the story correct, she is running to support Mark, a heart transplant recipient, who runs along side her part of the way. They are both supported by a car that follows them. Awesome! Just

about all of our riders greeted them as they went bye with
words of encouragement.

You are lucky you are only looking at the picture to your right. This is a cow slaughtering ranch. There must of been over 3,000 cows. What you missed was the stench, P-U. I am glad we are having lasagna and spaghetti tonight.
Long day, started at 6:30am, 3 sag stops, 4 flat tires and DQ put us at the hotel at 3:30pm. 18 mile avg. for the day, not bad for 121 miles, and no flats for me. Only 2 in 22 days. The Armadillo tires are holding up well.

Day 22 Sunday, June 28th Pueblo, CO to Lamar, CO 121 miles

Today was the furthest distance of the trip, 121 miles.
Day 21 Saturday, June 27th Rest Day in Pueblo

Today was a rest day. Had a chance to get a much needed haircut. Some of the guys are trying to convince me to shave my head, sounds tempting, maybe in Indy. Several of us took the cab to the historical downtown and fairgrounds where the oldie car show took place. Downtown wasn't much. They had a riverwalk area, nothing like Ft. Lauderdale. There was one restaurant, a pizza parlor. The car show was neat. All the cars had to be older that 1940. My Dad would have loved it. My uncle Bob called me when I was at the show. He has done the same ride and we were comparing notes. He also saw the car show in Pueblo when he went through. Had a great meal at the Texas Roadhouse, one of my favorite restaurants with the peanuts and shells all over the floor.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 20 Friday, June 26th Salida, CO to Pueblo, CO 95 miles

Another great day of riding. Weather was cool in the morning (46) then warmed up to 95 degrees. Sunny skies and lots of sun screen. Most of the ride was a steady downhill with spectacular scenery as we rolled along the Arkansas River. As the sun began to rise we could see a combination of shaded and sun lit mountain peaks. I was fascinated by the river and the strong flow of water. The rafting companies had great conditions. As we left the Rocky Mountains it was rewarding to look back to see what we had climbed over. It gives us a much better perspective of what the early settlers went through on their journey across the mountains. The rest of the ride to Pueblo was like a roller coaster of short up and down terrain. After departing at 7:00am I got to the hotel just before 1:00pm. The group behind me had a storm behind them and had tailwinds of about 30 mph. I wish I could have experienced that.
Pueblo is a big city with lots of traffic. Dinner was at the Golden Corral, all you can eat and we all took advantage of that. Tomorrow is a rest day, then Sunday we have a 121 mile ride to Lamar, CO.

Day 19 Thursday June 25 Gunnison CO to Salida CO 66 miles

Today was a a real challenge as we climbed up 9 miles to Monarch Pass where the continental divide can be seen. The elevation was just over 11,000 feet. The first 30 miles was a relaxing steady incline with some great scenery, the Rocky Mountains all around us. I looked forward to the climb since it is considered to be one of the 3 toughest climbs on the trip and we had already been on the other two. I am glad it is behind me. Most of us took the gondola ride to the very peak. The view was spectacular. I put my music on from my shuffle and sat there for 15 minutes just enjoying God's creation. The ride down was fast and the road was in good shape so I got a little more aggressive hitting speeds of up to 36mph. Someone hit 50, but that's not for me. It was a 15 mile decent that flew by.
PS: The picture of the miniture golf course on the mountain is for my son Tim. Since he was a kid he wanted to open up a business like this. This place looks like it has been closed for over 10 years, so Tim, my advice is to drop your dream.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 18 Wednesday, June24th Montrose CO to Gunnison CO 63 miles

Weather was sunny and cool. We had a brutal 9 mile climb with a strong head wind. Only one rider in our group needed to be sagged to the top. The people riding parallel to us doing the tour of Colorado had vans with dozens of bikes and bikers being brought to the top. After getting to the top the decent was fast and magnificent. As soon as we got to the bottom we had to make another climb for about 5 miles. Again the decent was spectacular as a big lake surrounded by the mountains could be seen for miles. Some bikers were flying down doing speeds in excess of 50 mph. I kept it under 35. I've had 2 surgeries from biking accidents so I ride very cautiously.
Dinner was at Mario's restaurant down town. The food was very good.
Tomorrow we ride up Monarch pass and see the continental divide. We will make a 9 mile hike up to an elevation of over 11,000 feet. Could be cold. They had snow there last week. Wish me luck and say a prayer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 17 Tuesday, June 23 Grand Junction CO to Montrose CO 70 miles

Weather was sunny and hot. Today we rode through a section for about 50 miles where we joined in with 2,000 other riders biking the Colorado tour. It was great to see so many riders. The group I was with did a pretty good job passing 85 % of the riders. That goes to show how strong we're getting after riding for 2 weeks. With a fair amount of climbing and a headwind for the last 20 miles we were glad to reach the hotel. A group of us went to the Black Canyon which was an awesome place to view. It was a miniature Grand Canyon. The van shuttled us there, however; my roommate decided to bike 15 miles there and 15 miles back up some pretty steep grades. I don't have the same energy he has. We had a good meal at the Red Barn and it's time to get some rest and get ready for some more climbs tomorrow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 16 Monday, June 22nd Greenwater CO to Grand Junction CO 96 miles

Today was a long ride but enjoyable. The weather was cool in the morning then warmed up to 95 degrees by noon. Sky's were sunny with a few white puffy clouds. The wind was at our back, which is a bikers dream. We finally made it out of Utah and have entered Colorado. Tomorrow there is the tour of Colorado happening at the same time as we are passing through. Could be up over 2,000 riders. We have to wear our Bike America jerseys so we can be identified. We feel pretty proud wearing the jersey so we're good with that. After dinner a few of us went down town. Nice quaint little town.
The Country Jam comes into town in a few days, shucks, it looks like we're going to miss it.
There were over 24 flat tires today. My armidillo tires with liners are slowing me down but keepng me moving.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 15 Sunday, June 21st Price UT to Greenriver UT 67 miles

Today's ride was mostly level to downhill. Legs are still tired and sore but somehow I manage to keep them moving. Weather was a cool 48 degrees with a light drizzle which broke to sunny skies and temps in the upper 70s. Starting to form a group of like riders with Chris, Bob, Zero, Leigh and me. We go at about the same pace averaging about 17 mph. After we got to the hotel a group of us went out to Arches National Park. Unbelievable red rock formations. When we got back we had dinner at a restaurant right on the green river.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 14 Saturday, June 20th Provo UT to Price UT 75 miles

Last night at route rap where we get our cue sheet (directions and warnings) we were told that there is allot of construction, dirt roads that we will have to ride and dangerous descents with just a narrow shoulder and lots of rumble strips. Started out with a group of about 9 then dwindled down to 5. Chris (from Ohio) and I made a quick stop then tryed to catch the others before our 6 mile climb up to Soldier's Summit. There was suppose to be a sag stop before the climb but we missed it. It turned out to be a blessing because we were able to desend on dry pavement and enjoy the scenery. Every body behind us got caught in a rain storm. We stopped in a town called Helper for lunch. The town gets its name because it needed and engine pulling and pushing the trains up over the summit, therfore the name "helper".

Day 13 Saturday, June 19th Salt Lake City UT to Provo UT 64 miles

Today was a very interesting ride. We had 13 more people join us which bumped our group up to 34. The weather was perfect for riding, sunny, cool and warming. We hit construction so we had to get rerouted and many people got lost along the way. Rode by BYU and saw the stadium and campus. Nice place sitting up in the lower mountain.
Got some great news a couple days ago. Mike & Fran will soon be parents! Sure glad I'm doing this trip this year because next year I will have to attend to my grand parenting duties.