posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Glendale

It was hot, I was thirsty, tired but it was simply one of the really best cycling days of my life. Zion National Park deserve its place as the sixth most visited park in the United States for sure. Having been to Yosemite, a place I loved so much and hope one day to return to, I think as far as mountains go, this is even more spectacular. Jeremy and Ross were at the end of their journey from Colorado and provided some expertise on what to expect from the same route in reverse. Their best news was about prevailing winds. They said for most of their journey, strong winds were hitting their face...we are no sailors but believe me, cyclist too take a lot of interest in it. Our interest is more shallow, we don't care much about names and seasonal changes; all we are interested in, is tail winds. I wanted to beat the crowds and as two deer were grazing around my tent i waved goodbye to the two cyclist, packed and set off for Zion Canyon Scenic drive; banned to private traffic it is open to cyclists. The early hours of the morning provided enough peace to take all the spectacle in. The road winds its way, deep at the bottom of the canyon, by a river, granite mountains towering both sides. It was simply strikingly beautiful. After that it was time to climb the zig zag road that would take me further up the mountains. Half way up a long tunnel is off limits to bikes and as a queue of cars waited to be granted access it was easy to find a lift. A party of four were going canyoning up the mountains and were more than pleased to let me and all my stuff at the back of their open pickup. The climb then continued through incredible bare mountains whose rocks were sometimes marble white, other times made of layers of all kind of terracotta shades. I had lots of supporters too, stunned I could climb that far up with what looked like a toy bike. Lots of thumbs up shown from the windows of overtaking cars, I could imagine for a little, being a kind of Tour de France hero, leaving the pack behind, never to be caught. It was hot and water never enough. Again I employed begging techniques that worked a treat. When time got thirsty i would ask the camper van lot if they had water to spare. Invariably they all had a large stock piled up in their boots and I received two complimentary bottles of water nicely chilled and one refill. I am sure I can do better and will be well rehearsed once I leave the mountains and get back to the desert of Canyonlands and Escalante. Reached the plateau at almost two thousand meters of height the wind picked up and it was strong as if I had a jet engine strapped around my back!