Sunday, May 31, 2009

Southwest Trip--Day 3

When we woke up Monday, we felt like pieces of jerky--withered and dry. Our primary goal for the day was ingestion of fluids. My other goal was to finish putting the bikes together so we could ride..

I had just about everything done, but I sought the aide of one of the local shops, Zion Cycles, when it came time to inflate the tires. Why pump up four 29'er tires with a mini-pump if I don't have to? Zion Cycles was a great shop, and we loaded up on energy bars and local knowledge (okay, and a t-shirt).

Fully assembled, we headed back to the B&B to fill our hydration packs and to set out for a day of riding. On our ride into Zion National Park (ZNP) I made another stop at Zion Cycles to grab some tubes--otherwise we would have been guaranteed a flat. We rolled into ZNP on the Pa'Rus trail--a smooth paved bike path that follows the Virgin River. Did I mention that it was perfectly flat and smooth? I did? Good, then you can imagine my surprise when I heard a loud "PING" followed by "grrrb, grrrb, grrrb, grrrb, grrrb." I broke a spoke and my wheel went wobbly, rubbing the frame. I could have tried various trail-side techniques to get the wheel straight, but being only a couple of miles from the shop, I decided to commandeer Jean's bike and ride with my wheel back to Zion Cycles. I'm sure they were thinking that I was just going to keep popping back in all day! Fred re-spoked me and had me straight and true in no time, and I was back on my way to ZNP for us to continue our ride.

ZNP does not allow cars into the main canyon (unless you're staying at the Lodge). Everyone has to park at the visitor's center and take the shuttles in to the park. This makes for some great road riding. Park rules do state that you have to pull over to let the buses pass though, but this wasn't frequent enough to be a problem.

We rode in to the end of the canyon, took pictures, rode some more, took some more pictures, and continued to hydrate as it was hot. How hot? Easily more than 100F. My watch thermometer (which was NOT in direct sunlight) registered 107F. Gotta love the desert!

Later that night, Mike and Jo were still in town so they came by our B&B to chat beneath the stars, and our "neighbors" in the room next to us (who were visiting from Pennsylvania) sat with us to talk about all sorts of things. Good fun with good people, then my battery went to "E" and it was bed time.

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