Call my bluff, but I believe we were in the town of Bluff this morning. Just outside of town and before the first turn, we found Twin Rocks.
Leaving town after the turn, I rode by the bluffs that must have given the town its name.
After some farm country with rushing water — I didn’t recognize the sound at first — I cycled up a hill and, suddenly, the road and road surface changed. I had entered Colorado on a remote country road so there was no big sign. We knew to expect it, though, because we religiously read the RAAM cue sheets.
Once in Colorado, the terrain to Cortez was supposed to be a sustained climb. Instead, there were unexpected downhills. I was confused and annoyed thinking that I was losing altitude I had earned with some degree of work. The elevation profile didn’t match the reality I was experiencing. Roads that seem flat but are actually ascending or descending are called “false flats” by cyclists. Our eyes lie to us!
During this ascending with too much descending, my gear range slowly narrowed. Even yesterday, I was having some trouble shifting into my big front ring, which is the best for long descents. Today it got worse and I couldn’t shift into it at all. Then I couldn’t shift into my middle ring. That made me really nervous. Something was definitely wrong with my bike. Would I make it to Cortez where a bike shop awaited my bike? The final approach to town was a climb with a stiff headwind. At least I had my granny gear left because that’s what I would have been using anyway. Bottom line, my bike was derailing. Would it derail the adventure? I finally reached the Kokopelli Bike and Board in Cortez. A young guy named Noah went to work. About an hour and $13 later, he had replaced a derailleur cable and had fixed the bike. Thanks, Noah!
Start location: Bluff UT
End location: Cortez CO
Distance: 66.2 miles
Cumulative distance: 839.6 miles
Elevation gain: 3537 feet
Features: Entered fourth state, Colorado
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/706441658