Man, I’m tired. At least I slept. We are about 20 miles out of Mexican Hat, UT. The weather is crisp and cool first thing in the morning, and I’m tired. Willie comes zooming in and off I go on a windy, cracked road through a deserted canyon. As I climb higher, I can start seeing mesas around me…we are definitely in Utah, but it looks like we missed seeing Monument Valley. My first pull was sluggish for 7.56 miles at 156w…17.6 miles an hour…I need some caffeine!

I slowly start waking up and enjoying the scenery around me. It’s starting to warm up and the hills, canyons and mesas around us are quite spectacular. I get on the bike again and pick things up a bit averaging 173w over the next 5.6 miles, at 12.8mph. I didn’t feel so bad given the 500 feet of climbing, some of it steep. The Perpetuem is kicking in!

Next section takes me across the plateau to the turn towards Cortez. My power is down a touch at about 165w as I cruise through Cortez, out the other side. My 7 mile pull averaged 16.3mph with about 400 feet of climbing. This is where I got a great picture of me and my crew on the side of the road…all smiles!

At this point, I get a note from David Bradley informing me about the crash of a team RV ahead in Durango. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, but the team was DNF (it was later noted that the driver had fallen asleep and run into the barrier on the side of the road, tipping the RV).

We start my last pull at the base of a climb up to the off-ramp for some National Park. John T. says “have fun, that climb will take you about 20 minutes!” Yeah right…five and a half minutes later I am heading down the other side, 44mph with full aero wheels! This was a bit exhilarating as it was my first real high speed descent of the race. I was a bit surprised I let it go that fast as I tend to get a bit shakey on the aero wheels at high speeds – it’s amazing what you will do in a race. Stay loose and enjoy the ride…weeeeeeee! I did the climb at 185w (remember, we are at almost 7000 feet), and the second, longer climb at 167w. Not my best numbers of the race, but it was daylight and I was excited to be entering the Rockies!

Outside of Montezuma Creek

Checking out the mesas

Heading through Cortez

Up into the Rockies!

And even further up!