25 June 2015

Stardate 2015.482

Monument Canyon is home to Independence Monument (a monolith or tower), Colorado National Monument.  In the upper  background, the Bookcliffs rise above the Grand Valley.

Day One RtR
Ancient Stone

Hi girls and boys! Snowcatcher and I just returned from a 7-day, 464-mile bike ride across Colorado. This was the 30th anniversary of Ride the Rockies (RtR); a fully supported tour through mountainous regions of the state. This was my 5th and Snowcatcher’s 6th RtR. This year’s west to east route snaked through central and south central Colorado; visiting the cities and towns of Grand Junction, Hotchkiss, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Salida, Cañon City and Westcliffe.

Sunrise brings a smile to the faces of stone comprising Colorado National Monument.

The Tour began with a classic loop ride out of Grand Junction. The route scaled the beautiful sandstone cliffs of Colorado National Monument and returned via the fertile farmlands connecting the hamlet of Fruita (the mountain biking mecca) with Grand Junction. The steep but not overly long climb up to the Monument's Rim Rock Drive gave riders a chance to get their legs under them before a grueling Day Two. Grand Junction being my home town, I was excited to tackle the Monument again. Bias aside, I think it’s one of the best road rides around. Enjoy!

Our Ride the Rockies Day One campsite next to Wubben Hall, Colorado Mesa University.

Our day began nestled on the grass outside of Wubben Hall, Colorado Mesa University. Growing like an endearing weed, the school was formerly known as Mesa State College.

Columbus Canyon, Colorado National Monument

The first water station was on top of the Monument at Cold Shivers Point, adjacent to Columbus Canyon. At this point, most of the hard climbing is finished.

Head of Red Canyon, Colorado National Monument

It’s been a cool, wet spring and many wildflowers are still in bloom. It’s not uncommon to have triple-digit temperatures by now.

Above is a 6-minute video of riding through a piñon juniper forest adjacent to Ute Canyon during Ride the Rockies.

I bet you can guess who this is!

Snowcatcher refuels at the Liberty Cap aid station.

Independence Monument (a monolith or tower), Colorado National Monument

Monument Canyon pulls at the senses.

Above video features a 6-minute segment of Rim Rock Drive adjacent to Monument Canyon during Ride the Rockies.

Sinuous Rim Rock Drive, Colorado National Monument

Sinuous Rim Rock Drive is about as good as it gets. It's a hoot!!

49.8 miles
4:18:05 ride time
2,120 feet total ride elevation gain
1,200 feet elevation gain Monument entrance to Cold Shivers Point

See ya on Day Two!



  1. This is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, and it's another of the gems you introduced me to, way back when we first began dating. Do you remember? We were shooting the sunrise together, and you held my hand for the first time!

  2. Wow and wow again. What a glorious place. I recognise the Bookcliffs, having seen them several times from an airplane window. Thank you for putting a name to them!

    You guys certainly do get the best campsites.

    Thank you for a fantastic series of posts. The next best thing to being there! And without the saddle sores. :)


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