Day 4 - Page, to near Cedar Ridge – Tuesday, April 19th
We started early this day (9:15 AM), trying to avoid the stronger winds of the afternoon. This plan worked well, since in the morning we had light winds, and even a bit of a tailwind. Later in the day, we got strong crosswinds, with a bit of a headwind.
Before leaving the Page area, we stocked-up at a convenience store, knowing it would be the following day before we could make it to the next store. Again, we each had our 2 2-liter bottles of extra water, and two meals of emergency food, as well as trail-mix for quick energy.
Bicycling southwest from Page
The really good scenery on this leg of the trip came from things you would just drive-by in a car, hardly noticing anything. Here, at bicycle speeds, we took notice of these scenic gems, and photographed them.
Slot-canyon, from the bridge crossing it – hardly a blip when driving, but really good on a bicycle
Another view of the slot-canyon
The first part of the day was a 2,000 foot climb in 15 miles – steepest in the first 10 miles.
Profile from Page, to Bitter Springs (where highway 89 and 89A join)
At about mile 13, the road turns more to the south, and we experienced increasingly strong crosswinds.
Though the climb slowed us down, it didn't get that steep until around mile 11. Eventually, where the slope goes from smooth to jagged, there were walk-up sections.
Near the top of the steeper climb, looking back. Note the road shoulder, which causes problems for cyclists
This was a section where the road shoulder was almost entirely filled with an aggressive rumble-strip, which forces cyclists into the traffic lane. From Google Earth, you can't see the rumble-strip.
Near the jog in the road, at the top of the steep, smooth climb
Rocks with fracture patterns similar to those commonly seen by the Mars Exploration Rovers
From this point, the road turned more to the south, and the climb got much less steep. After about 5 more miles, we stopped at a Navajo stand to eat our lunch out of the wind, and purchased a CD of native flute music. There was a short, steep climb, then the road turned to the west, soon revealing a big road-cut through the cliffs.
The road-cut through the cliffs, before the steep descent
We cycled cautiously through this cut, because the shoulders became narrow, and visibility was reduced.
Through the road-cut, at the beginning of the big drop
Exhilarated by the steep, fast descent, Malcolm strikes a bicycle-racer pose
At the view-area on the steep descent
Besides this descent being fast and exhilarating, we were glad we were going down it, as opposed to up it! But of course, that was as per my planned route decision-making.
At the bottom of the steep descent, near Bitter Springs
Traveling south on highway 89, a climb again, but a gentle climb
Cliffs east of the road
As it began to get dark, Malcolm watched for a good place to camp. As a cautionary tactic to avoid the rare human predator, he waited until it would be hard for drivers to see us pull off the road. As a consequence of that waiting, a highway patrol officer, concerned for our safety in the deepening darkness (with the helmet-mounted strobe-lights), stopped and actually helped us locate a suitable side road on which to camp.
On this day of much climbing, we traveled 39.9 miles, with an average speed of 6.6 miles per hour. As you can see, there was a lot of good scenery.
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