Lehmann, Lind make trip from Salida to GJ on their bikes

Elise Lind and David Lehmann are back in Grand Junction after touring with Ride the Rockies and continuing their trek across Colorado by riding back on their bicycles to GJ from Salida, where the tour ended.



In a span of 10 days, David Lehmann and Elise Lind turned in more than 800 miles on a bicycle.

Lehmann, of Grand Junction, and Lind, of Fruita, participated in the weeklong Ride the Rockies, which ended June 19 in Salida.

Once they made it to Salida, the duo passed up on driving the 300 miles back to Grand Junction, instead choosing to head back the same way they came — on a bike.

“It was a great trip,” Lehmann said. “We really enjoyed it. You aren’t using any gasoline, and you can stop and look around whenever you want.”

Originally, Lehmann and Lind were planning on riding back to Grand Junction after Ride the Rockies separately, but found out they both were heading back on the bike.

“I was planning on taking Highway 50 and just taking three days to beeline it back,” Lehmann, 59, said. “She was planning a route that was a little longer but more interesting.”

The paired journeyed out of Salida for a 40-mile ride to Saguache. “Once we got to Salida, I was ready for the ride after the ride,” Lind said.

The first day of the Lehmann/Lind journey wasn’t the best day for a ride. The pair fought a nasty headwind the whole ride.

This year’s Ride the Rockies was notorious for being one of the more difficult rides. RTR included a ride over Grand Mesa, complete with rain and sleet, as well as a daytrip from Ouray to Durango that took riders over Red Mountain Pass, Molas Divide and Coal Bank Pass.

Lehmann said even as difficult as the Ride the Rockies was, his ride from Salida to Saguache was his toughest over the week and a half.

“You can’t relax when you’re going into the wind like that,” Lehmann said. “It’s whipping you around so you have to grip your handle bars and continuously pedal. There is no break.”

Lehmann said their next day was more pleasant, taking a 70-mile ride from Saguache to Gunnison on Highway 114.

Lind has been on solo tours of Colorado as well as in Ride the Rockies. Lind, 56, said it’s much different riding solo than alongside 2,000 riders.

“I like the solo or dual ride because it’s quiet and there isn’t as much noise,” Lind said.

“You get on a pass like from Saguache to Gunnison and there are hardly any cars. It’s just beautiful there and you get into a zone where you ride at your own pace and aren’t stressing yourself out.”

Next, Lehmann and Lind rode 90 miles from Gunnison to Paonia.

Lehmann said one of the most important parts of their ride was being prepared. During Ride the Rockies, riders have the luxury of aid stations.

“We made sure we had over a gallon of water every day because there were stretches like from Gunnison to Crawford where there was nothing,” Lehmann said. “Not even a place to get water, so we prepared for that.”

The final stretch brought Lehmann and Lind back to Grand Junction on Highway 50. The pair said they contemplated ending their journey in Delta because of the familiarity of the final 50 miles.

“We thought about having my wife or her husband come down and pick us up,” Lehmann said. “But I said no, we have to go the whole way, door-to-door.”

Lehmann said he’s not done exploring the western United States on his bike. He plans on touring eastern Utah as well as northern Colorado.

“For me, Ride the Rockies was the prep for the tour,” Lehmann said. “I’d been wanting to do some touring for a while, and I think I enjoy smaller group touring.”


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