June is the driest month of the year in southern Utah, at least it is supposed to be.  This year however has been an anomaly with cooler and stormy weather being quite frequent so far.  Saturday morning at the start of the Bryce Canyon 200k the weather looked quite threatening as 9 Color Country riders set out for the day.  The forecast looked pretty grim but everyone tried to stay optimistic, after all even weathermen are wrong sometimes! The forecast winds hadn’t appeared yet and good progress was made towards the first control in Tropic, a little town just outside Bryce Canyon National Park. The climb up the bike path through Red Canyon was lined with flowers and along with the deep reds of the hoodoos on each side it was quite spectacular. Once on top of the plateau we could see for miles. There were many rain squalls in the area and it looked to be only a matter of time before we got wet.  But hey, if you don’t ride in the rain then you don’t really ride do you!

We descended to Tropic on wet roads but it was not raining on us.  The squall must have just passed by and we missed it.  The control in Tropic is at a country store and has about everything you need. We filled up on typical brevet food like donuts and V8’s.  With the paperwork done we started back up the hill we had just descended.  This was a short out and back leg to the control and then at the top of the climb the route would turn north into John’s Valley. A strong tailwind powered the riders along this section before dropping down into Black Canyon and on to Antimony.  Antimony Mercantile is not a control but it is a must stop since there are so few services in this area.  It is a good spot to grab a sandwich and they have great pie too!  The randonneur must fight such temptations or he might not finish his ride.

Continuing the loop along the Sevier River winds became less favorable with the exception of the short leg out to the next control at the town Junction.  From here you headed south again and straight into a headwind.  Storm cells still hovered in the area and it was hit or miss if you got rained on.  Everybody got the wind however and it seemed a little unfair that the headwinds played no favorites.

Carlton and Mike were the first 2 riders in and only had rain for about 5 miles. Harold was next in followed by Dion and Doug who had mixed rain and hail for 20 miles.  The Young family finished in their ride near Antimony and got picked up by family.
In summary, the dire forecast did not live up to the hype and I think the riders enjoyed the unsettled weather on the backdrop of this spectacular route.  As for the wind what can you say; it played its usual part both helping and hindering at times during the day.