Ride 89 Day 10

115.96 miles, 3,658 feet of climbing

Some days are incredible. Everything works just as it should.

Today was not one of those days.

Because of the forecast, I woke up at 3 a.m. This was after trying to sleep in an RV park (something I promise I won’t try to do again. The crowd wasn’t as rowdy as the Alpine, WY campground, which is owned by the saloon at the entry). But there were a lot of people running around in their side-by-sides, and the halogen light from the bathrooms shone on our tent like a government work site.

When I went to get my breakfast (mueslix with nuts, fruit, and seeds), the milk had gone bad. I scavenged around and found a bagel and a banana. Those are fine foods, but it threw off my groove a bit, since I eat my special mixture of oatmeal before rides.

I left before anyone woke up, planning to get some miles in to make the day shorter for the kids. For a day with an extreme heat warning, it was awfully cold. I started pedaling in the dark. The first 76 miles were uphill more or less. It felt like I was pushing through cement, but I kept going.

An hour later, I was riding through Junction, UT when my headlight went out. I turned on the flashlight on my phone, arranged it so my vest would hold it up, and kept going. About 40 minutes later it was light enough that I felt I could turn off the phone. Several minutes later, Annie and the kids caught up. My speed wasn’t great but I continued on.

When I had gotten 55 miles under my belt, we reached the junction of Highway 89 and Highway 12, we took a break and drove over to Bryce Canyon National Park. We’ve been there a few times, and honestly, it’s my favorite place on earth. Because we were trying to finish the ride before the heat got too bad, we went to the gate and took a picture.

I changed my kit out and got a snack and resumed the ride. But the temperatures had risen from the 60s to the 80s. I felt a lot better and I picked up my pace. I had 21 miles left until the long climb turned into a big descent. Once I reached that hill, I tucked in and picked up the speed. When we got down to Mt. Carmel Junction, we visited the gate of Zion National Park. When I resumed the ride, it was 111 degrees. Annie filled a tube sock with ice and draped it around my neck.

I’ve ridden that last part of the ride a few times during Salt to Saint, but I’ve always ridden it at night. I was looking forward to seeing the scenery. I went a few miles up the climb but ran over a piece of tire and got a flat. I started riding again, but something felt wrong. Once again it felt like I was trying to move through cement. I eventually found my wheel wasn’t seated properly. Once I fixed it, I picked up the pace. The final part of the climb was through a construction zone. Annie and the kids buzzed through it, and waited for me. They were cheering for me as I came by. The construction flagger heard and joined in as I went by.

Soon I hit the top and started back down the other side. I finally made it to Kanab. I was so happy to be done.

My one constant companion

More random thoughts as I ride along:

Lessons from a bicycle

  • When things get hard, shift to an easier gear.
  • Working with others makes things easier.
  • When you pull someone along, it reduces your drag.
  • If you don’t deal with a pain in the rear immediately, it will only get worse.
  • If there were no climbs, there would be no descents.
  • You can’t maintain a good course if you’re looking behind you.

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