We knew we had a long, tough day ahead of us, a 112 mile ride which was probably around 80% uphill (no exaggeration). I spoke too soon yesterday when I said we had hit green pastures again...we were back in the desert today, but with some new and different scenery - canyons. With a daunting task in front of us for the day we took off and knocked off the miles one by one. Or in groups of 10 miles. I think it goes by faster broken up like that, that's where my distance running mentality kicks in, intervals style.
Daunting signs that remind you of the long trek ahead.
The summit for the day!
Mike and I obviously rode together again as usual, which was really nice on such a long day out on the road. I think we ended up on the road for a total of 10 hours, including cliff bar breaks, view area stops, lots of picture taking, and lunch.
We're all starting to develop some nice farmers' tans from our bike gear. I think the weirdest ones are the glove tan-lines since I have a line at my wrist and on all of my fingers about half way down. We all are getting raccoon eyes from our sunglasses, sock lines, and Mike is sporting the best one yet, bib tan-lines.
I fell again today thanks to my new favorite thing out on the road...GRAVEL! Luckily I was only going like 2 miles per hour when I hit the loose rocks so the spill wasn't too bad. I didn't really get any cuts, but my poor bike (who is still embarrassingly without a name) got a little beat up. But no worries, it was just a part that can be twisted back into place and is already repaired. Due to these types of clumsy acts, which can probably be attributed to my new found confidence in clipping in and out, I seem to always end up the dirtiest at the end of the day, covered in chain grease.
Thumbs way down for a twisted handlebar and tons of bike grease on my legs from the spill.
Anyways, even though the ride was long, tough, and extremely hot, it was pretty sweet. We saw a lot of new, cool things today and took advantage of seeing sites while we took our breaks. We rode through canyons today, and they were amazing. They were gorgeous. Huge, randomly shaped, and bright red, which looked especially neat contrasted with the bright blue sky and big white clouds. The biggest treat was at mile 86, a 6 mile downhill through some amazing, amazing parts of the canyon. That little stretch got me through the rest of the ride, with only about 20 miles left. The best part of seeing things like this, things that you have never seen before, is the smile it brings to your face, a smile that is out of pure astonishment and wonder at what lies before you. I am not used to seeing things like mountains and canyons and they truly do amaze me, and I stare and smile in awe. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see these things in person, because even though I try, there is no way a picture can capture what I've seen. They'll only bring back the memories.
We like these signs after climbs.
One of the amazing sites on our downhill stretch.
There was a whole field of yellow and pink flowers...and then I realized they were cacti!
We made it to Green River, UT. Another huge feat and great effort. Before I hit the hay for the night, I'm sitting and watching the sunset, a perfect end to the day. I wish you could all see through my eyes right now, the colors are unbelievable. With that picture in mind, I'm sure I'll sleep well in our new hometown for the night. We opted to cancel the Grand Canyon detour once we figured out it was a 7+ hour drive. So tomorrow's plans are still up in the air, as we are a day ahead of schedule.
And lastly, a huge thanks to Dave Evans, a rider from last year's Ride Against AIDS, for his suggestion to adjust my seat to save my knees. AND IT WORKED. I raised my seat a bit and I can honestly say it helped a ton and I think (cross my fingers) they'll be back to normal in a day or two. SO happy about that!