Bluffs, Lies, and Derailings

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.Lynn at Twin Rocks.jpg

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.

Sign interpredted to mean CO border

Ismay Trading Post just inside CO line
The Ismay Trading Post just inside the Colorado border
First Rock Formation seen Inside CO
The first rock formation we saw in Colorado

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!

Ride details

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:


28 thoughts on “Bluffs, Lies, and Derailings

  1. More beautiful scenery and another ‘trail angel’, Noah, to the rescue! With regard to the ‘false flats’: Our eyes may deceive but our legs never lie!!


  2. Congrats on another beautiful day, and thanks for getting the photo in front of Twin Rocks. The sky is always so blue! Hope you’re using lots of sunscreen.


  3. So scary when your bike breaks, especially far from home when you are relying on it for this big adventure. I’m sooo glad it was just a cable and Noah was able to fix it fairly easily. $13 and one hour of waiting–What a deal! Hope you have no more mechanicals.


  4. Love following your blog. My husband and I did TransAmerica selfsupported on our tandem (at 60 and 61) in 2009.I’m layed up following a bike accident so can vicariously ride with you!


  5. Hi Lynn: Fascinating post! I did not know about false flats, which was very interesting. I heard an expression once: If reality does not match your map, go with reality! Your posts are full of optimism and good cheer. I’m sure attitude is as important as altitude! Stay safe!


  6. Your photos are outstanding – you are really experiencing the American southwest, its great geological phenomena and gorgeous landscapes. Are you melting? Is your weather shot as it is here – 89 degrees today! Congratulations on your courage to overcome so many obstacles. I ride with you.


  7. The famous “Saving the Damsel in Distress Award” goes to a second Bike Shop winner !
    These guys just keep popping up like flowers, and we are soooo glad they grow so near your route! Have a great rest day tomorrow. Susie told me there is special event in store for her Birthday. Happy Birthday Susie!


  8. Keep it going! I felt the same way on this stretch of road when I did it in late April in my cross country ride. All those false downhills! This was one of my worst days – hot and lonely, but I remember the next few in CO being quite beautiful. Good luck as you chase that Record! Vic Andrade – aka The Lone Rider –


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