Pre-ride: 32 miles
We were instantly acquainted with the effects of exercising at altitude. They are awful! Your heart beats faster with less effort. Your mouth is always dry. You don’t seem to go anywhere even though you are pedaling as hard as you can. It’s amazing. Then there’s the temperatures. It got down to 35 degrees overnight and warmed up to at least 85 during the day.
We finally got into the park. The views were spectacular. There was a fire on the north rim, so there was smoke pouring over the canyon. It gave the whole scene an other-worldly air. We met several other GABA bikers (including Bob and Judy Bolt) taking the same route we were.
We stopped at every overlook. Before long we met up with Judy again. She couldn’t find her husband even though he’d been right behind her as she turned off for this view stop. She decided to tag along with us and hope to find Bob along the way.
We had a great time getting different views of the canyon as we worked our way west to Hermit’s Rest. A large portion of the road was only open to shuttle buses and bikes. That was pleasant.
Hermit’s Rest was built by Mary Colter. Like all her Grand Canyon buildings, it was created to attract tourists. There never was a hermit there. Any hermit living in this building would be a king! The fireplace was gigantic. The whole place has a cave-like feeling. We did rest there, though. It was hot out!
As we left, Bob showed up. So we bid adieu to Judy and continued our rim tour alone. We kept trying to take pictures which would capture the true magnificence of the canyon, but it’s impossible. Eventually we returned to the motel and prepared to start our tour in earnest the next morning.