The route is a 104-mile loop over the Grand Mesa. It is long morning of climbing with a buffalo burger lunch stop and 40-mile descent. I have made two attempts at this ride. Both ending in utter failure. A coworker confirmed my faith in the impossibility a week after my last attempt. He won't talk about her. She is an elusive lady, a taunting damsel, queen of all mistresses. She is all work, work, work with no intrinsic or extrinsic reward. Like the unwrapping of an Eskimo bride before daybreak.
The ride from GJ to Whitewater and up Reeder Mesa has you believing that you are ready for this courtship. A quick lefthand turn on to Lands End Road begins the 18-mile climb on the dirt. For every foot gained uphill, you also slide a foot laterally on the pea gravel wedding night road bed. It doesn't matter which bike you brought, as long as it fits in your wife's car when she has to pick you up after a failed attempt. You're not going to finish this ride anyway.
After the long climb, the view from the overlook is stunning. Like a virgin on her wedding night you stare into her starry eyes patiently awaiting the next moment and everything it will bring.
In your mind it should be wedding cake from here, but the next 12 miles across the top of the Mesa to Hwy. 65 only brings misery. The 4-inch deep gravel road makes noodles of your legs in short order. Minutes turn into hours. It's like a betrothal period that lasts 100 years.
After 59 miles of pageantry, the honeymoon should commence but it doesn't. Oh downhill pavement, sweet coasting refuge. Hwy. 65 heading north has the allure of a downhill reprieve to the Wagon Wheel in the town of Mesa. Soon you will realize that the prevailing nuptial winds blow "up" Hwy. 65 forcing you to pedal at great discomfort "downhill." You have been duped - stood up at your own ceremony, relinquished to the roll of a bridesmaid. By the time you make it to the Wagon Wheel, your gifts of strength have been stolen and the party crashers have left the building. By the way, they also quit selling buffalo burgers years ago.
It's at this point the stories about what happens next become clouded with intrigue. Most men will not expose their broken egos to the public. Scorn and shame rust away any remaining self-esteem and dignity. The wedding silver is forever tarnished. Somewhere between the remainder of the Scenic Grand Mesa Byway, Plateau Canyon, DeBeque Canyon, Palisade, and Clifton Dos Hombres, which closes at 10 p.m., tracking beacons turn off and riders are seldom seen on the road again.
What started as the perfect romantic ride has turned into a shaking, aching, trembling mass of noodley nervousness.
I saw her. I loved her. I thought I had her. She is gone. I have nothing.
We have started to collect all the names of all the riders who could not complete this ride. Please join our wall of shame. There is solace when the weak are huddled together (to-get-her).