Monday, May 2: Took way too long to get here. We ran into a heavy rain in KS, then in Hays, KS, the weather got even worse. Turned into a spring snow storm and I-70 was closed down from Colby, KS into CO on Friday night. We got up on the morning of Saturday April 30 to 8 inches of snow in far Western KS and Eastern CO. Took it slow and even into Denver on Saturday with I-70 opened back up, amidst a dozen cars off in the median thru the CO plains. Got to Drew’s house with a steady light snow falling on Saturday afternoon. 

Temps were in the low 30’s. 

So Sunday morning we were concerned about the weather conditions on Eisenhower Pass and Vail Pass. Finally decided, after hours of looking over weather reports and C-DOT info, to go for it. The climb up the first pass out of Denver west on 70 was wet, sloppy, and slushy in places, but doable. Once across Eisenhower we were suddenly in sun and temps about 20 degrees warmer. Made it to Fruita, CO on Sunday. 

Today we jammed from Fruita to Delta, UT, where I started today. Temps are quite nice compared to last year in July, 62 degrees and sunny compared to 100 degrees and sunny last July. So we got here around 1 PM today, got a cheap motel - they’re all cheap in this little town - and then I just wanted to get some riding under my belt for the day. My original plan was to begin with a full day’s ride today, but……it is what it is. Now I’d made a course change from last year when I ended in Lyndal, UT, this little pseudo-ghost town, to a new, and what I hope will be a much better route to finish American Dirt. So I’d gone through Delta last year and with this new route, I’d start just west of Delta for this year. 

We got our cheapie motel - the Diamond D - where I changed into my cycling kit and then off we went to a point where I’d left off in Delta last year. And as usual, the maps had a different name for the road than what was actually popping up on my vehicle and bike gps. The road is called Old Rt 50 on the gps devices, and on our gazetteer it’s called Marjum Canyon Rd. It was pretty easy to figure this one out…but God only knows what’s in store for us down the road!

Judy and Vickie manned the van behind me while I rode. I just wanted to get in like 20-30 miles, this in order to knock off a good chunk of mileage of this long stretch of “nothingness” that’s the 100 miles between Western Utah and the Great Basin National Park in NV. I rode shirtless with a strong NW headwind and a false flat that just seemed to rise for mile after mile. But wow, the absolute desolation out here is wild. I mean it makes me feel like a speck of dirt. The ranges of the Great Basin just loom off there in the western horizon, and seem to never get any closer with each mile I pedal towards them. 

So the setting was pretty cool, but my fitness just sucks right now. After sitting out nearly 4 months this past winter with a torn medial meniscus in the right knee, I just couldn’t even get a feeble semblance of fitness for this ride. So once again, even worse than last year, I’m just going to have to ride myself into shape. God, ten miles into that wind and going up the false flat, my legs were pretty tired. At rare times I could maintain 15-16 mph, and then at most other times I was slithering along at 9-10 mph. My shoulders were tight, my hips were tight, and my style of riding was slightly off and a bit labored. 

When clouds would cover the sun the temp seemed to drop 10 degrees, and that’s when the shirtless gig seemed like a bad idea. But I always had the van within a mile of me in case I needed to flag them down for a polypro long sleeve. 

Well, we got to the spot to where I wanted to pull the plug for the day, and of course that road’s name did not match up on the gazetteer with my two gps’s. But it was obvious where we’d have to turn to get back on Rt 50 to head back east into Delta. Got in 22 miles in about 2 hrs of riding. By that time we were at 4 PM MST. Came back to the Bates Motel, changed and went to the Bates Eatery across the street. Now actually it was some pretty good home cooking, despite slow service that seemed to rival a three-legged turtle in an ultra-marathon. 

I’d told Judy and Vickie that this place may actually be a metropolis compared to some of the places we’ll be in in the coming weeks, so get used to podunk! Tomorrow I’m hoping I can get very close or make the NV border and Great Basin National Park. Looks like it will take a 60-70 miler tomorrow to do that, and quite honestly, if the wind and the false flat is the same as today, I’m not sure I can get that bagged. I guess at this point I’ll just take what the body will give me.