Those of us who stayed at the hotel put all the luggage in my room (the office was not open yet) and cycled the 2 miles to the campground for breakfast. It was cloudy and cool--what a treat!
Gary (above) is from California. The small group (32 riders) makes it easy to talk to everyone at some point during the ride. Today's ride started from the campground with a 17 mile climb. There was a headwind, but by now we think of that as a cooling factor!
Radha, one of the volunteers, was at a pullout where we looked at an ancient Pueblo granary high up on the rocks. We wondered how they reached it to store their grain! Radha is from Virginia, and she, Deborah (another volunteer) and Les all went to high school together. What a nice way to get together!
There was a rest stop at the summit of our 17 mile climb. It was a welcome sight! I was wheezing, so took an inhaler, ate a snack, took a few photos and then headed down the steep descent--12%. Not as steep as the riders experienced yesterday, but steep enough for me!
Dixie (from WA) and Sherri (from IA) have had some sorry luck on this ride--they drove here from WA and Dixie's van broke down on the way here, and broke again a couple of days ago. They got it fixed yesterday and are happy to be out here on their bikes again today! Those who rode yesterday were not interested in getting their photos taken at this summit sign, but we 3 were thrilled to be here!
After the rest stop and photo shoot we started the descent-- the next 17 miles were mostly downhill as we descended 1600 feet to our lunch stop at Cannonville. Lunch was great, and while there we stopped in at the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument Visitor Center. The spectacular rock formations in this area are part of that Monument.
The photos above and below show Doris and Sarah on their descent through this beautiful country.
After lunch the cloud cover dissipated and it got quite hot out. The 14 miles from the lunch stop to the end of the ride was mostly uphill, some of it at an 8% grade.
I had a shade break under the trees (above), then continued the climb and it got hotter and steeper... One of the riders thought it was an 8-mile climb, although our ride notes call it 3 different hills (that equal 8 miles). Near the summit Radha and Deborah were there with a tent and cold water and snacks. I came into the stop and asked someone to pour cold water on me; Ze'ev was glad to do so and I cooled off quickly.
We were very glad to reach the summit and head into Bryce Canyon City. We are at a huge resort with 7 separate "lodges". We are in the Lakeview Lodge, which is closest to the campground where our meals will be served. While I was up at the main lodge to get my luggage Zach and John (the self-supported cyclists) pulled in just ahead of the downpour. They are camping at Bryce Canyon National Park tonight. We should be able to see them one more time at Clear Creek in a couple of days. Here they are with Dan and Anna. I reminded them to wear their helmets!
There were a couple of rain showers after we arrived, and another was threatening when we walked to the campground. Then the skies let loose! Thunder and lightning and torrential rain! We ate a stand-up supper under the cooking tent and hitched a ride back to our room with the resort's driver. We are glad every day that we took the hotel option on this ride.