Starting to trim off climbs that were on my list, Ouray was looking rained out, so I headed to the desert – Mesa, CO.
Since today was forecast to be a hot one, I wanted to make it into town before noon, which meant 300+ miles of all backroads wouldn’t work, but I sure didn’t want to superslab it either. I split the difference – the first half I took Highway 24, which was empty and very few cars and great views of Mount Elbert. It was also really cold! I had to pull over and put on my heated jacket after an hour or two of 42 degrees.
24 joins up with the main east west highway, Highway 70. Unfortunately within 5 miles of the junction, CODOT was out setting up for chip seal work, which resulted in a FORTY FIVE MINUTE delay, luckily it was not hot yet or that would have super sucked.
Once hopping on Highway 70, you drop straight down into the desert, but it’s actually pretty scenic – Glenwood Canyon in particular is a marvel of traffic engineering – it sort of feels like you’re riding through a mini-grand canyon via overpasses, tunnels and bridges.
Once I reached the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway turn-off.. more construction. I hope this doesn’t screw up my bike ride tomorrow.
The weather looks reasonable to climb Grand Mesa, this is the 24th most difficult climb in the US, with roughly 5700 feet of ascent, judging by the views coming into town, it should be pretty epic.
Right after the climb I plan to head to Grand Junction and do the Colorado National Monument loop – not really a climb, but supposed to be amazing scenery.