it seems that once again the local fishwrapper is rolling out a red-carpet welcome for cyclists planning on visiting the Grand Valley and enjoying the scenic ride over one of our great national treasures... as well as a healthy dose of not-so-helpful finger wagging to top it off. and just to frame the discussion in the most neutral, unbiased setting that one could imagine, they run this image on the front page of the sunday edition (right below the screeching, 120-point headline font and an anonymous hater comment lifted straight from their online version).
somehow, and maybe it's just me being paranoid and defensive- this photo does not convey what i would call a "warm and friendly welcome" to the several thousand cyclists, their families and friends who will be in Grand Junction a couple of weeks from now to participate in the 25th anniversary Ride the Rockies tour.
no, it seems a lot more like stirring the pot. indeed.
out here in maver-icky Mesa county, that bothersome "3-foot law" gets tossed right out the window just like an old, hot-box cigarette butt. have a look at where the right front wheel of that dually is rolling and then look at where the back one is. any argument from the motorist's perspective that this cyclist is "impeding traffic" by riding left of the fog line (obviously to avoid gravel deposits in this situation) is rendered moot by the squashingly wide stance of that ridiculous compensator vehicle.
here's a side view image for those AYC readers who might be fortunate enough to reside in one of the more civilized parts of the world where these free-range road hogs are not nearly so common as they are here:
credit: "big dually wheels" for this disturbing photo
truth be told, there are bad areas to ride in and bad times to ride. like pitbulls and other dangerous species, i always do my best to avoid 'em. i ride off-peak. i ride in the opposite direction of the motorized commuter stream. i don't ride late on friday or saturday evenings, the drunks and hooligans are out in greater numbers. expect the cage-ragers to do all kinds of really stupid things, especially when "annoyed" by a cyclist. and you can be assured that they will behave in an unpredictable manner that is entirely predictable.
it would appear that Maryland, North Carolina and Canada (Canada? WTF??) are all particularly bad areas to ride in right now.
recent problems in Mesa county have been relatively minor by comparison.
today i met up with one of my old racing bros from back in the golden era of the Denver-Boulder Couriers squad. we did a great ride of just over 4 hours, starting out at 8 a.m. to avoid the "severe wind event" predicted for the afternoon. conditions at start time were ideal: 16 degrees, no wind at all, clear skies.
the first 100km of this parcours again demonstrated the phenomena known as the "10-car ride"... because that's about how many of 'em we encountered over the distance. we were rolling some pretty remote, unpopulated territory, though.
the story here at ABANDON YOUR CAR is a bit more subtle, perhaps, than what one will get from the local "media outlets". the story is that today we saw a few motorists... and most of them out there in the country returned a friendly wave.
as did the guy on the tractor, the guy rolling his Harley out for a morning ride, the farm lady tending the irrigation, the floaters down at the Westwater station, the trucker checking his big rig one more time before heading out through the long, empty stretches of desert on the I-70.
everyone was chill, enjoying a really nice day, and it seemed that there was plenty to go around... 'cause that's how we roll here in Fruita, USA.
it also demonstrated one of my favorite old cliches: don't believe everything you read in the paper.
the last 30k was tough because we got caught out in the "severe wind event". there was about 10k covered in the first 7 minutes of tailwind, but then the road turned and so did the breeze, blasting us from the south.
take a look at the fly-by-video link in the map above... not too many trees to disrupt the gusts will be found.
be sure to carry adequate hydration, food, spares and clothing for a 4 to 5 hours + ride. there is water available at the Westwater ranger station, but that's about it for this half-epic. there is a little store in Mack in case ya have to get some junk food to make it home.
ride friendly and be sure to give 'em a wave.
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