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September 24, 2010 / jslipschultz

Day 13: Mexican Hat, UT to Cortez, CO

First of all, if you looked at Day 12 before I had helmet-cam footage online, go back and check it out.  It’s a better way to see the beautiful place that is Monument Valley.

We had more great terrain today (along with some climbing) which made for a pleasant ride.  The 100 miles seemed to go fast.  Well, of course it does when you ride with Joseph and Austin (and have Dave the Wave, our guide, helping out).  Crossing state lines is a highlight of sorts for us.  We got to stare at the border for quite a while since it was our lunch stop at Mile 53ish. 

It’s hard to believe, but we’re closing in on a third of the way done.  We’re over 1,000 miles and 13 days.  As much as I love the trip and the people around me, I miss my family, my home, my friends.  Many of you probably think just about the biking aspect of the trip.  But consider what it is like to wake up every morning in a hotel, check out, and later arrive at another hotel and check in (and literally live out of two suitcases).  Then repeat 35 times or so.  I carry the little card that tells you what room you are in–can’t remember all these room numbers anymore.  Did laundry again.  It’s a weird life.  It hasn’t worn on me or anything, as I know we are doing great and making great progress.  But a home-cooked meal is sounding very appealing right now.  At least I get to talk to my family every day so I stay connected.

RedRiverRally2010 A special thanks goes out to my friend, Chris Johnson.  He has coached me in the gym since April and helped build up my core strength.  In talking with Dave the Wave today, I learned more about core strength’s impact on strong cycling.  Dave is sure that my efforts in this area have contributed to my climbing ability and overall cycling.  Word to all you aspiring cyclists out there–hit the gym and lift some weights.  I am by no means a hulk–far from it.  But the changes I did make are playing a role in this trip.  Thanks again Chris for making the days in the gym fun and productive.  Couldn’t have done it without you!

Pics are a little scattered.  I think the first three might be from yesterday.  We passed some great areas again today.  The fourth is why Mexican Hat is named what it is.  The others are Bluff , UT.  The sign for the town says Est. 650 AD.  That’s a new one on me.  Hey, John Nixon, notice Austin’s jersey.  He’s got the same one as the one you got me from Italy!

more monuments1  more monument2 more monuments3 Mexican Hat

Bluff1  Bluff2  bluff3

CO

Bonus pic stolen from Bill:  Dinner last night at the Swinging Steak Restaurant in Mexican Hat.  You can’t tell that the grill actually swings over a wood-fueled fire.  You got two choices:  NY Strip or Sirlion.  I’ve never seen anything like that.  I say that a lot on this trip.

swinging steak

More great terrain Joseph Helmet-cam footage: http://contour.com/node/112354 and http://contour.com/node/112355 (leaving Mexican Hat–you can see I was wearing my tights–had to keep the knee warm at the start); http://contour.com/node/112351 (Bluff, UT); http://contour.com/node/112356 (breakfast with the gang–I’m a little concerned about the knee this morning–none too talkative).

By the numbers: 100.4 miles, 5:49:52 riding time, 17.3 mph (we were at 16 something to Mile 53–we cranked it up after lunch–but it’s not a race as Marquette, our guide, keeps reminding us), 5,121 feet of climbing.  Totals so far:  1008.9 miles and 38,444 feet of climbing.

Video recap:

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