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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 46: Pueblo to Royal Gorge - An optical delusion?

Tuesday July 1, 1986, 50 miles (80 km) - Total so far: 2,346 miles (3,776 km)

Gene and I got up at our usual early time, dark o'clock and headed to the diner. We ate some pretty good breakfast and headed out on US50 instead of official SR96. The guys in the bike shop recommended we take this route because of traffic and conditions. (Note: I've read that a rider from an Adventure Cycling group was killed a couple of years ago on this SR 96 stretch west of Pueblo. Also, another person riding with Adventure Cycling was just killed a couple days ago on the 30 yr anniversary tour from Seattle to Washington D.C.)

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The Arkansas river

The route is going steady uphill since Pueblo, and will continue until we reach Hoosier Pass at 11,542 ft. There is a stretch of road the looks like it's downhill, and we couldn't figure out why it was so tough pedaling. I kept looking at my bike to see if I was dragging anything. We stopped to survey the situation and at closer inspection determined the road is actually "uphill" not "downhill". It seems that there is an optical illusion with the mountains and perspective here. It's a very bizarre feeling, like vertigo. (it is funny because I've read other accounts of this same illusion here) Gene and I cranked out the miles to Canon City pretty quick so we did a little sightseeing in town then grabbed some lunch.

Right now I'm sitting at a picnic table in the City park at noon writing today's entry in this log book. Canon City is a rather large city with a lot of traffic and tourists. Gene and I sat in the shade for 2 or so hours taking a break and watching the dumb tourists. The rest of the BC group has followed the SR96 route and is still out. The SR96 route is about 15 miles longer with heavy traffic. I'm not sure why Clay didn't want to take the alternate route of US50. Maybe there is a BC policy about sticking to the route? The weather is about 90 degrees so far and the wind is out of the SE, 10-15 mph.

I'm sitting here in Canon City at elevation 5400 ft, and the air is already feeling thin. We'll be climbing steady for the next couple of days.

[writing continued later in the evening]

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Royal Gorge

The BC group arrived and we decided to continue another 8 miles, uphill to Royal Gorge. We climbed 2100 feet in 8 miles to the Whispering Pine C.G. What gem this is, an RV campground with no grass to tent on. Gene and I decide to take a side trip to the Gorge to see the views and the bridge. The trip was 4 miles uphill to the bridge but was worth the views and experience.

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After seeing the Gorge we all got cleaned up and headed out for something to eat. Of course I had to get the business about my new Nike track shoes from Clay. Clay shouldn't be talking about shoes.....

[Author's Note:] - I just received an email from Clay, the BC group leader, here is an excerpt:

"Reading it (this journal) makes me think all we did was ride hard and drink beer!"

Well, that is basically what we did. I'm thinking about changing my title to Ride Hard and Drink Beer! ?? Clay said he is going to send me some of his pictures, I'll post them up when they come. Maybe I'll get Clay, Diane and Fred to sign the guestbook and pass along some of their thoughts about the journey. ~~


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