I am Mother Nature, hear me roar.
This was the official start of “the big loop” of the trip – all at once, exciting, humbling and daunting. I woke early and stopped at Backcountry Provisions – the greatest sandwich shop in the history of sandwich shops – to gather a Windermere sandwich, pickle and chips for a packed lunch. I also stopped by Amante Coffee for a cup of coffee and to check weather reports, then hurried back to check the bike and kit one more time. I’m pretty sure that I was smiling the entire time – I couldn’t believe that I was finally about to embark. I looked forward to an easy ride to Park City, Utah.
Mother Nature planned otherwise.
Dinosaur National Monument
The first leg of the day’s ride was to the Colorado-Utah border via US-40. This area is arid and relatively flat, until one approaches the Dinosaur National Monument area, when huge river canyons appear. My friend, Larry Pierce and I went for a dayhike and photoshoot through this area in August 2007. It’s a strikingly unique landscape. The Quarry Visitor Center suffered from a (literal) sinking foundation, was reconstructed and reopened in late 2011.
While riding, I noticed steadily increasing crosswinds on US-40. By the time I reached Dinosaur, a High Wind Advisory had been issued in the area for wind gusts exceeding 60 MPH. The air quality was dramatically decreased by all the particulate matter flying about. I hoped for a break when I stopped at the Visitor Center.
Park City or Bust
The second leg of the ride from Dinosaur to Park City was terrible, incredibly challenging, and humbling. In retrospect, it was exactly what I needed – an in-your-face reminder from Mother Nature of her capabilities, and of the need to show proper respect on the journey.
From Roosevelt through to Park City, I encountered the same ferocious crosswinds, rain, three bouts of hail, a snow/sleet mixture, then outright snow. I closely monitored the bike’s ambient temperature sensor, making a deal with myself that if the temperature dropped to 34°F, I would pull over in the nearest town and call it a day. Otherwise, I was determined to barrel through to get to Park City. It got down to 36°F and full-on snow for approximately 10 miles, then the weather broke near Park City and it warmed into the mid-50s.
I parked on Main Street, seeking out Flanagan’s. I sat down, stripped my gear off, and enjoyed a pint of Guinness and dinner in honor of my friend, Don Flanagan. I then made my way to the Silver Moose Ranch for the night’s stay. It was a wonderful stay, set in the foothills and with great service. It was snowing heavily while I emptied the gear from the bike. When I woke the next morning, Fiona was covered in a healthy coating of slushy snow.
The Day : Weather
|Location||State||High (F)||Low (F)||Precipitation (in)||Max Wind (mph)|
The Day : Images
The Day : GPS
|Avg Speed||28.0 mph|
|Moving Speed||49.8 mph|
|Elevation Max||8,006 ft|
|Elevation Min||4,724 ft|
|Elevation Gain||21,172 ft|
|Elevation Loss||21,540 ft|