Friday, May 15, 2015

Tour of S Utah Days 9 & 10: Mesa Verde and Bust

It has been a few days since we arrived home from vacation.  A couple of quick posts to finish the saga. 
Off to the Races
Friday morning we broke camp in Comb Wash quickly and rolled into Blanding for breakfast at the Center Street Café.  Tasty, especially after eating our own camp cooking for most of three days. We learned that Blanding is a dry town. Good thing we were there in the morning.
We motored on east, jumping into Colorado to get a campsite and reserve spots for our teammates at the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Mountain Bike Race.  Drew and I have done this race three times, in 2010-2012. A couple of months ago we decide to cap off our vacation with this race and found spots on three-woman and three-man teams.
12 Hours of Mesa Verde is a super fun event on a giggly fun course.  We were looking forward to racing, however, as we rolled into town, the dude at the liquor store informed us there was a storm on the way.
“We’ve been lucky so far on this trip. I’m sure we’ll be OK,” we said. How wrong we were!
Friday afternoon we headed out for a pre-ride of the race course as clouds were building.  The course was in perfect shape, but the weather was a little chilly.  This lovely gopher snake thought it was cold too and wouldn’t get off the trail.
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Gopher snake on the trail
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But 30 minutes in the thunder and lighting and hail came down. We huddled under some trees to wait it out.
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Waiting out the storm. I look happier than I was.
Post ride, we tried to stay warm and hung out with other hardy teammates in the gravel parking lot.  Not my idea of ideal vacation camp spots, but whataya gonna do.
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Dinner in the parking lot.

Race Day

Our teammates Jennie and Devon opted to take the first lap.  Clouds were threatening and it was cold, but not unbearable.
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LeMans start.
Little did we know, that would be the best conditions of the race.  As Drew and I were getting ready to go out on the next lap, the snow started coming down in large non-race-friendly flakes.
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As we were waiting for our teammates to come in, the race directors called for a two-hour hold on the race to wait out the storm.  Each of our riders came in and marked their time, but the next riders (us) were not allowed to go out.  Since I had been watching bikes of other teams come in in bad shape, I was OK with just fine with that.

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  My teammates bike was trashed!
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Riders were coming in very cold and VERY muddy.
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At 10:30, the directors held another meeting and continued another hold until noon.  We went back to our camps and warmed up in the van.  But the snow and rain continued.  Finally, at noon, the directors, with very heavy hearts, called an end to the shortest 12 hour race in history.
Since all the food and beer was already bought, they served it up and handed out awards and prizes.  It was an OK time, but everyone was really disappointed.

Make Lemonade

Reports were coming in that the weather was better in Moab so we packed up and headed back west.  With unexpected time on our hands, we were able to continue the theme of new experiences on this trip with a side trip to Newspaper Rock…
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Newspaper Rock contains petroglyphs from Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo peoples
and Needles District of Canyonlands National Park
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Once again, we found ourselves up against nightfall and out of time to hike in a spectacular setting.  We had to settle for pictures like any regular American.
Apparently lots of Americans like to feed the ravens in the park because this guy was not one bit shy to ask for a treat from his perch on my side view mirror.
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Bold raven
We checked every campground inside and outside the park
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Dewey, showing off to his Sportsmobile cousins who never get to leave Indiana.
but the inn was full so we ended up driving back most of the way toward Hwy 191 to find a nice spot for the our last night in Dewey during this trip. 
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Dewey’s last resort.
So 12 Hours of Mesa Verde was a bust, but we got to hang out with friends and continue to have new adventures.

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