Adventuring in Utah and Colorado
The great escape from Tucson happened mid-July at the peak of the oppressive and stifling desert heat. You know, the kind of heat that makes you believe that maybe sometime soon we’ll all be living underground. The first stop was for a race in Utah called the Crusher in the Tushar. It was quite the slog as it featured 11,000 vertical feet of climbing within a 69 mile race at 10,000 ft and was half on the road and half on dirt. Some of the grades were insanely steep (like almost 20%). Many people were walking at various points and I* was proud of myself for staying on the bike the whole time except when cookies and Coca-Cola beckoned me at the aid stations. The steed of choice was my friend’s Trek 29er. Everyone makes a big deal about whether to ride a mountain or cyclocross bike for this race. In retrospect I think a cross bike with mountain gearing is the ideal bike but the 29er served me well. At least it was until I got extremely aero on a downhill and went over a cattle guard and the top tube hit my sternum giving me what felt like a huge chest compression during the race. I was quite pleased with my performance, and since the few women actually competing started last I was passing dudes the entire time. Here is a photo of the top of one of the climbs. Now that I look it was actually quite breathtaking out there in the Fishlake National Forest, but at the time it was hard for me to see that from my perspective deep inside the pain cave.
The day after the race I was dropped off a few miles down the road on the I-70 and began my tour across Utah. It was probably the most adventurous and arduous tour I’ve yet completed. Some of the highlights include: riding across a 110 mile desert stretch of nothingness with no services and sleeping in a rain culver to avoid being struck by lightning, having a climber crush in Moab, UT, riding the spectacular and treacherous Million Dollar Highway in Colorado, hitting up every brewery in site, and finishing up the tour at mountain bike camp in Durango Colorado with the youth team I help coach. I would like to write another Crazy Guy on a Bike journal for this tour, so I am not going to elaborate here too much. The tour did afford me the realization that I love riding in the mountains, and juxtaposed with the coastal tour of California that I did afterwards, I will now try very hard to get high.
*Disclaimer: Yes I know that I’m a slacker, but rather that barrage you with excuses, I’m just gonna pretend as though I never went away from here for an entire year and lost all hope of any readership.