Another small city, whose name is akin to the Grand Staircase where it is located. Another short ride, where I don’t end up half dead, which is very nice !
Yeah, I’m getting used to riding only 30-40mi/50-60kms instead of 1.5 or twice that distance. I end up fresh, can start again easily the next day, and I have enough energy to do something in the afternoon. I remember when I reached Kanab, I stayed one hour lying in the bathtub, all muscles switched off except for eyelids and torso (you know, to breathe). I was a meatbag. Today I had well enough energy for a quick hike in the nearby petrified forest.
The road from Cannonville to Escalante was supposed to have about the same elevation profile than the previous day. But not so ! Right before the highest point was a very very steep slope of 1mi/2kms. And for about 200m in this slope, the grade was – I shit you not – 23%, according to cycleroute.org ! You go up 46m at once ! Even walking and pushing the bike I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It felt like climbing a wall, but I’m not Spider-Pig. And Ezio Auditore doesn’t have a bike and trailer strapped on his back when he goes up Santa Maria del Fiore !
After that ordeal, it was all downhill to my destination, and I met the first Frenchie on the road ! Guillaume, 21 (is it still legal to be this young ?!), is going from Montana to Arizona. And he had this quote : “give me slopes over headwind any day”. I couldn’t agree more. He was also the third guy biking on his own in two days, just when I thought I was alone in being alone.
Coming closer to Escalante is a fantastic road slaloming between cliffs and mesas, with a river all the way. It’s part of the Grand Staircase, which is a series of huge steps, from the Grand Canyon up to Brian Head (by Cedar breaks), going up like a gigantic staircase, with different colors as the rocks are of different nature. A staircase where we are as small as ants. I hope I don’t get swept away by the Grand Broom 🙂
After a pause in the city, I went back a mile to the petrified forest. It’s a short hike up a hill, with a few petrified tree trunks. Not many of them, but a nice trail among the local vegetation, and some views on the city or the local reservoir. And of course, on all the moutains surrounding the area. I love these hikes when you feel in a different country for a while. And it was a nice change from riding on the road. And a lot of places where I was imagining great games of Indian vs Cavalry Playmobils 🙂
Tomorrow I’ll be going to Boulder which means riding the Hogback, a 3mi/5kms road with cliffs on both sides ! Nicknamed “the Terror” ! That means no shoulder riding for me ! 🙂