Las Vegas, Spanish for the meadows, is surrounded by mountain, so where ever you go by bike you’re going to fight an uphill battle. By car you don’t even notice it, if you’re young and healthy it’s no problem either. As with the trip to Hoover Dam, Don stayed ahead of me while I followed at my own speed. After paying $3.00 Admission to Red Rock Canyon State Park I
proceeded to the Visitor Centre where I met up with Don. We looked around, had something to eat, then we started biking along the Scenic Drive. The further we got into the park, the steeper the road got, becoming more and more of a challenge. At the first lookout Don told me he was not going any further because his ankle was bothering him and he would join Tanya and the kids. Well, I told him, I paid $3.00 and I want to see the rest of the Canyon. So I kept on going. Along the way I met a couple von Calgary who were going back because the road was too steep for them. Then I met a young German guy who had some problems with his saddle, but I couldn’t help him. Another young guy passed me while I had stopped to get some air. He told me not to stop to rest, but to just keep on walking. I followed his advice until I was ready to go again on my bike.
On the very top (High Point Overlook) I became a hero with a Japanese Tourist group. They thought this was great having the courage to bike up this mountain. Taking the elevation from Las Vegas to the Top Point, I climbed 975 meters either riding or pushing my bike. Not bad, I would say.
From that point I thought it would be all downhill, but boy was I wrong. Going downhill was great, a high gear and the wind blowing in my face, and then I came around a rock cliff. There was no time to shift and I was suddenly up partway and stuck in my tracks. The only thing I could do was get off my bike and start pushing. But this time was the last time. For the rest of the drive it was very relaxing and enjoyable. I met up again with the young man who told had told me to keep walking rather stop. He was fixing a flat tire and he was ok, so I kept on rolling.
Back on the highway with an 8’ shoulder and I had the road all for myself. My speed increased until I was going more than 40 km/hr. Tanya, Don and the kids passed me in the opposite direction, but instead of turning around and catching up with me they decided to go and have something to eat because I was making such a good time on my bike and they didn’t want to stop me. After waiting for a while at the location Don and I had agreed on I decided to keep going since it was less than 20 km to the hotel and still daylight.
Rolling towards Las Vegas and happy with myself, I got a call from Tanya. She wanted to know where I was. I told her not to worry about me, I was going to bike back to the hotel. No she said in 15-20 it will be dark and you don’t have any lights on your bike. I gave her my location, biked a few extra 100 meters to a parking lot and made the trip a 70km trip. We loaded up the bike and by then it was dark. Listen to the locals, or in this case, the Southern Californians.
The scenic drive through the Red Rock Canyon is a challenge to any biker, especially in my age group. Biking around Vancouver, every time I came down a hill and saw another ahead of me, it intimidated me. After getting stronger with my biking and I came to the realization that if you’re at the foot of the hill, the hill is really only half the size you saw coming down, and now hills don’t scare me anymore. If I have to push, I push. Going on a longer trip, I think you also need to be mentally in tip top shape, to know your strength and to use common sense. Once back in Vancouver I will get ready and train for a longer trip because I feel confident I can do it.