Colorado National Monument Loop
2,992-foot elevation gain
I felt pretty confident I would be able to traverse Colorado National Monument today because I've done it so many times in the past and because I did it twice in May.
I was right. The first couple of miles seemed harder than usual because I hadn't been on my bike in five days, but also because I foolishly didn't train much with my pack this year. For the first couple of miles, I could really feel the weight of my pack.
Thank heavens I had loaded it up with only my raincoat, my arm warmers, my camera and a protein drink. Tomorrow we go up above 10,000 feet, and all my cold-weather gear will be in there. Just in case...
After the first couple of miles today, I guess I got my legs under me because the climb didn't feel harder than it felt in May. The Lizard waited for me at each of the rest stops and exquisite viewpoints, and he said I was making good time.
We would be riding right by a chapel in Fruita, so I hoped to make the 9 a.m. service. I passed by a pair of lovely, plump chukars without stopping for photos because I didn't want to be late for church.
I didn't pass by the bighorn sheep on the descent, though, because by that time, I knew I was at least 15 minutes late for the 9 a.m. meeting. Those photos will have to wait for another day, though, because I didn't shoot them with the iPhone, and I have no way to upload them until I get home.
We took about a mile detour toward the end of today's route to attend the 11 a.m. meeting in Grand Junction.
At the end of the ride, Cyclemeter reported I had beat my worst time by a full 13 minutes! I'll be able to see more ride details when I get home, but for now, I'm pretty happy with today's ride.