September 19, 2023
Stage 11 was another magnificent Cannonball day, and in terms of great riding roads and magnificent scenery, even outdid yesterday. Highlights of the day were Colorado National Monument with miles of very challenging switchbacks and steep drops, producing 25 miles of pure awesomeness. The unique rock formations in the National Monument were just spectacular; around every curve was another stunning vista. Huge monoliths reaching up to the sky, deep canyons with formations starting at the bottom, and tunnels that can be ridden through made for total sensory overload.
After the monument, the course brought riders along the Colorado River onto Route 191, one of the best roads in America. This route was 40 miles of curves and fabulous views of both the rock formations above and the river below. The course brought riders into Moab, Utah, a fun little city that offers a wealth of funky shops and cute cafes. This is where most riders filled both their tanks and their tummies before proceeding to the next destination just north of Moab: Arches National Park.
Arches is so popular that advance, timed reservations are required, and the lines to get in can be quite long. But the wait is well worth it. We rode through only a small section of the park, around 15 miles, but we did get to pass through a good selection of the more than 2,000 arches spread across 120 square miles. These fascinating formations lie on top of an underground salt bed, which, in combination with erosion, compression, and other feats of Mother Nature, resulted in these unique displays.
Today’s elevation went from 4,500 feet to 6,800 feet, and the antique low-horsepower bikes sure felt it. Yesterday, due to the severe elevation changes, #99 Todd Cameron changed out both the front and rear sprockets several times on his 1909 Indian Single, the oldest machine in this year’s Cannonball, just to complete the ascent to Monarch Pass. He also swapped out the valve and guide with a spare he carried. And there was lots of peddling! Today, he only had to change out his sprockets once. Winning!
There were eight Do Not Starts today, seven motorcycles are out of the run completely and one bike ended up on the trailer. For 11 days running, #99 Todd Cameron and #1 Dave Currier held onto the top positions, and #2 Brian Pease holds third place for his third day. Once again, all other points leaders hold their positions in classes three through seven, and 36 riders, same as yesterday, have maintained perfect scores.
Most riders are saying that today was the best riding day, and those who have participated in prior Motorcycle Cannonball or Cross Country Chase endurance runs commented that this year’s Cannonball was the best of all the events since their inception. Tomorrow is the longest day of this competition at 297 miles, starting in our current location of Green River, Utah, and ending in Kanab, Utah. And if you thought the roads and scenery over the past few days were awesome, just wait. We’re gonna blow your mind every day!