Colorado National Monument

GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO

I rolled away from the hotel and towards downtown. Horizon Drive was torn up as a milling and paving operation was going on. I rode this yesterday and knew of a great bike path that went a little out of the way.  I jumped on it and wondered what the other cyclists thoughts of me flying past them all without trashing my bike.

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

I arrived at the main location at Colorado Mesa University planning to attend Opening Ceremonies. But riders were already rolling out so I joined them. We rolled out of town and to Colorado National Monument. I started the climb only stopping for a (real) photo op or two.

Bighorn Sheep Crossing
Bighorn Sheep Crossing
I found myself riding beside Dave*, an anesthesiologist from Grand Junction. He was very friendly and good rider. He spoke to me because I was wearing my Stelvio jersey. He had gone to Italy last summer. We also talked about prostate cancer. His older brother had PCa and what chosen brachytherapy as his treatment option. On the descent I pulled over for more pictures.

Tunnel
Tunnel

Down in the valley I rolled to the rest stop at Fruita. Here I ran into Don Sheppard, who was on my Trek Travel last summer in Italy. It was good to see him plus he introduced me to Nelson Vails, a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics.

On the climb from Grand Junction
On the climb from Grand Junction
It was a flat roll back to Grand Junction. I caught Don then paced him for a while. He eventually said he was going to take a break and we parted ways. It would be the only time all week I saw him on his bike.
Pulled off on the descent towards Fruita
Pulled off on the descent towards Fruita
Riding today was easy and beautiful. Not sure if I figured this out yet but I think RTR tries to choose the easier route when possible. We went clockwise and the Park Service had closed off vehicular traffic from 7:00 to 10:30 am.

Nelson Vails, Don Shepherd, Barry Sherry
Nelson Vails, Don Sheppard, Barry Sherry

As I descended to Fruita I thought that was a steeper grade than we had come up. But I am not sure. Often you don’t realize the steepness until you look back on your work.

Headed towards Fruita
Headed towards Fruita

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*Maybe Kast, maybe Potter


 

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