Crawford - Cedaredge, CO: Country back roads all the way, baby! - There Ain't No Air In This Air! - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2013

Crawford - Cedaredge, CO: Country back roads all the way, baby!

We decided to sleep in today. Everyone but Jacinto and Oren voted for the short route, given we'd had two hard days in a row. The only restaurant in town opened late, just one more reason to relax.

Perhaps we were too relaxed. The first section between Crawford and Hotchkiss was indeed nice. We had a long, fast downhill run on back roads all the way to Hotchkiss. I'd warned the group about the very nasty road out of Hotchkiss. It took some swift talking to get them to take the country route to Cedaredge. Basically, I had to say I'd disown them if they chose to take the highway.

Perhaps the only reason I won the argument is pointing out that we were cutting the point off of the triangle by taking the cross country route. It's true we'd have to climb/descend several mesas to get to Cedaredge, but we'd avoid the long steady climb from Hwy 92 to Hwy 65. Not to mention avoid the traffic.

We had a fair amount of discussion about signing the route. I was in favor of marking the route in advance. It was 20 miles, I didn't think it would be too big of a deal. The group decision was that Cal would drive directly ahead of us in the SAG, marking turns and waiting for us.

This worked well until a local cyclist told us how to totally avoid the highway. We would be back on route in a few turns, but we weren't coming right up behind Cal. He wanted us to turn around and go back. Nope! Not doing that!

I think it was a bit of a strain for the cyclists to stay together. The fast guys had to ride slowly, the slow people (namely me) spent way too much energy trying to go fast. It was getting warmer and warmer. Hot and trying to go faster than normal made this short day into a surprisingly difficult day for me.

We rode past a ranch that raised domestic elk and buffalo to sell for the meat. Not everyone saw them. The views were spectacular. Cal had fresh peaches on the SAG. It will be a long time before I eat a peach without comparing it to those Cal had.

Finally we were on the last road into Cedaredge. Jacinto and Oren caught up. Oren had a strange noise in his bottom bracket. He needed to go to a bike shop, which would mean a drive to Delta or Montrose.

The downhill on Cedar Mesa Road behind the high school was a long, steep descent into town. I was very happy I wasn't leaving town and doing the hill as a climb.

We reached the motel. Oren was in a hurry to get to the bike shop, he didn't want to shower or anything before leaving. Jacinto and I would go with him. We were staying with a friend in town. While we were delivering luggage, Spoon had the idea to tighten the pedals on Oren's bike. Problem solved! Yay for Spoon. The urgency of the afternoon disappeared. We showered at Phil's and went to a new restaurant downtown for a late lunch.

Then Phil and I worked on maps and cue sheets that were less complicated than the ridewithgps version. We ended up at the library to use the printer. I was surprised at the poor quality of the printer, but at least the guys would have detailed enough maps to see each turn. My hope was to avoid having to ride in a group directly behind the SAG. Of course, I was doing this routing when I had already heard talk from the guys of wanting to take the most direct route possible.

It seemed no time at all before we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. I picked at my food as we had just eaten a couple of hours previously.

Phil dropped us off at the motel for the map meeting. I had to talk fast to get the group to take the country route from Cedaredge. Now they were leery because of the climbing into Cedaredge and didn't want more of the same.. I assured them over and over that the section between Cedaredge and Delta was a strong downhill and much nicer riding than the highway.

We compromised that they would do the country route to Delta, then take Highway 50 straight into Montrose and skip that country section. Fast, flat, boring, and high traffic - but it would get us there with the least amount of pain.

An early start was agreed on, despite the short miles. It seems everyone but Jacinto had been overheated today and we would be at an even lower elevation tomorrow.

Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 167 miles (269 km)

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