7AM, I pull aside the curtains of my motel room. Foggy, grey, heavy sleet. After watching the mix of rain and snowflakes for a few moments I close the curtains and go back to bed. Early starts are massively over-rated...
The bad weather was forecasted so it doesn't come at a surprise. Nonetheless, I simply got a bit spoiled by the past sunny days [or weeks!? I tend to forget bad weather].
At 8AM I get woken up by a message from Liz, a host in Moab I contacted a few days ago. She is happy to host me and asks which day I plan to arrive in Moab. I pull aside the curtains again. I reply: Tonight!
Dressed in my full rain gear and warmed up by a hot shower and coffee I am on the road by 9AM. Considering that I have 200km to Moab on my to do list, it is late, very late. I am in rather good spirits and think back to my little Thanksgiving challenge. I am game for a new one.
However, it's a bit different today. The time seems to run, the distance seems to stand still. The headwind doesn't help. The low hanging clouds prevent nice views of the red rock formations which would bring appreciated distraction.
It is pretty rough but as always I can keep my spirits up by telling me that things could be worse. My all time favorite: Imagine you would have a mechanical issue. Then things would be rough!
Having covered 70km of the lonely 110km stretch between Price and Green River it happens. Hissingly the sealant splashes out of my front tire like a fountain. It splashes all over my handlebar bags and even into my face - or to say it short: First flat front tire of the trip.
I am on top of a hill. The wind accelerates the sleet making it feel like needles torturing my face. The trucks, blasting by less than a meter next to me, splash the water from the road towards me. If I indeed have to patch the front tire, my fingers will fall off [okay, okay that might be an exaggeration but I am rather certain that bare fingers and 2 degrees with proper wind chill are not the best combo]. 40km to the next town. I guess, I can call it rough now.
I repump the tire and allow the sealant a cigarette length to do its job closing the puncture. Seems to work. So in less than 10 minutes I am back on the road. For a mere 3 minutes... A second puncture [different spot]. Same procedure. 10 minutes and I am back on the road praying that I am at least able to limp the remaining two hours to Green River.
It is already 3:30 in the afternoon once I reach Green River. I am two hours behind my anticipated schedule but I need a proper break. I am pretty knackered. I haven't really allowed myself a break the whole day.
When I set out again around 4:15PM I am left with half an hour to sunset and again 90km without any town or pitstop to Moab. I slightly doubt that this is one of the better ideas I've ever had but I convince myself that a challenge only deserves its name if there is an actual challenging element involved. Thus, I also degrade my Thanksgiving ride not being worth the name challenge. It was long but basically smooth sailing.
I make a long story short [also my memory is slightly blurred]... After a grand total of 160km of headwind, 40km of crosswind and the last 4 hours spend riding in the pitch black night I arrive at Liz's house. Pretty smoked but... also pretty happy!