Ride 89 Day 8

126.45 miles, 4,121 feet of climbing

It was nice waking up in my own bed and I was just a little reluctant to leave it.

I rode down to the park near my house. Jeff Haddon, a friend of mine, met me there. It was nice having someone to ride with. In Farmington, Jared Moon, another friend joined us. We rode together to Salt Lake. I enjoyed the company, and they decided to pull me, so that was really nice.

When we got to Salt Lake City, Jen Murano, Ashley Howell, and the rest of the Huntsman crew were on the sidewalk at West High School with signs encouraging and supporting us. It was really nice.

This is the section of the ride I wasn’t looking forward to. I know most of the ride, and much of it was through urban areas, which aren’t exactly known for natural beauty. As I made my way through downtown, I could see a lot of homeless people. It made me sad seeing a man sleeping on the sidewalk with a blanket over his face. On the other hand, riding through the area gave me time to consider my ride. I rode past Intermountain Medical Center, where my grandfather died. Officially, he died of pneumonia, but since he had lost one and a half lungs to cancer, I see that as the underlying cause.

By 8 a.m. I was going around the point of the mountain. In American Fork I had an experience with a mouthbreather. I was at a stoplight, waiting to go forward and some guy in a jacked-up truck (yes, another man compensating for something) started screaming at me, telling me to get my bike on the sidewalk, that this was reserved for vehicles. I told him he was being recorded and that my bike was where it was supposed to be. He got irate, but didn’t do anything. Once the light turned green, I continued forward and he peeled out turning right in a display of exhaust and impotent rage. I’ll post the video once I can get it off my camera (I forgot to pack the appropriate dongle) so his mama can see the civility her boy lacks.

But since that was the only negative encounter in 80 miles of urban driving, I’d call it a good day. About halfway through my ride (in Orem), Joe Pyrah stopped by the visit and give me some encouragement. We visited for a few minutes as I ate a snack, and then I continued.

Other friends texted saying they wanted to visit as I came through, but other conflicts came up. I appreciate all of the support.

I saw a sign on the side of the road as I went through Mapleton: “Is your network hacker safe?” Wow. That was something I hadn’t considered. I don’t know who my network hacker is, nor do I know what peril he or she is facing, but now I’m worried about this person.

Today all my climbing was at the end of the ride. I started up Spanish Fork Canyon. I climbed up to the top, past the view of Thistle. Highway 89 used to go along the bottom of the canyon through Thistle. In 1983, a landslide closed the bottom of the canyon, which led to flooding and the abandonment of the town.

As you’re cycling down the road, you see a lot of things. Things that have fallen out of cars. Sometimes I stop and pick things up. I’ve found some good tools, blankets and other items this way. If I could find the owner, I would return them. As I reached the top of the canyon, before it descends to the 89 junction, I was a bit shocked to see what looked like a body wrapped in a rug. I started slowing down and then realized it was a body pillow. Whew.

But later I found a bluetooth speaker and a strange metal drum in a carrying case. It was kind of cool.

The last climb was the hardest. It was higher than the first, but 14 miles long with a low grade, combined with headwinds, it was a long slow slog. I was exhausted by the end of today’s ride.

Annie’s aunt contacted her yesterday asking if we wanted to set up our tent in her backyard instead of the campground we had planned. She wanted to, but it meant an extra five miles of riding, which felt really long. But I did it and now we’re a few miles farther down the road, which means tomorrow’s ride will be just under 100 miles. A nice break.

Even though I wasn’t looking forward to this ride today, what made it special was all of the support from friends who rode with us, friends who came to the road to say hi, and relatives who invited us to stay and greeted me with enthusiasm and encouragement. All of the support nearly brought tears to my eyes. That or I just felt like crying from the heat, headwind, and long miles today.

One comment on “Ride 89 Day 8

  1. I was one of those “other friends” who texted and wanted to see you but didn’t make it. Shem, you area marvel!!!!! Keep it up, my friend. It’s exciting to read the posts and see you go. 126.45 miles in one day is just extraordinary.

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