A third of the way

Saturday is now winding up. It was long and hot and a large majority of the group had success today. Some fools (a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds who went out for pancake breakfast in Ogden at 7 am) were on the road at quarter past 5 this morning. They pretty much had to start biking with winter parkas because it gets cold in the desert overnight, then carry the jacket for the rest of the day. Each to their own I suppose. I rolled out of camp soon after 7 am anticipating that Nathan and Tyler would catch me in about half an hour (they were leaving 5 minutes after me) and I would appreciate the longer warm up. I ended up riding the first hour alone and still no sign of the boys. By that time we were entering the town/city of Bountiful. The road was tree lined and in the shade, the hills were gentle and rolling and the pavement was excellent. With beautiful roads like this it’s no surprise that there were locals out for a Saturday morning ride as well. I opted to ride with some of them for a few stretches. It meant that I was cruising along at 25 mph (40 kph) for a solid 45 minutes and really meant that Tyler an Nathan were never going to catch me. On the flip side it did mean that I did get to have a few more fantastic conversations about the tour, the local cycling scene, my church, poverty and the like. That was far better than finding those guys anyways. It was fantastic and by the time I had reached the outskirts of Salt Lake City I decided to just finish with the push into town and forget about joining up with any other tour-cyclists for that portion of the ride. I plugged a song in my head an hammered down for another 45 minutes, reaching SLC with an average speed of 29 kph.

    Great is the Lord and worthy of glory,

    Great is the Lord and worthy of praise,

    Great is the Lord,

    Now lift up your voice,

    Now lift up your voice;

    Great is the Lord!

    Great is the Lord,

    He is holy and just,

    by His power we trust in His love.

    Great is the Lord,

    He is faithful and true,

    by His mercy He proves He is love.

Upon entering SLC my route was blocked by a parked train and a friendly Harley Davidson rider informed me it could be parked for anywhere between 5 minutes and an hour, I opted for the detour and by the time I was back en-route there were other cyclists who had opted to wait who were already ahead. So be it, I had guaranteed that my day would exceed 100 miles now an I didn’t have to do the extra mileage on any big climbs.

First CRC in SLC hosted us for refreshments in their basement before the climb began as we headed out of town, I didn’t get the order of my stops in town correct and went there first, I should have made my stop at the Mormon Temple first and the church second, it would have been shorter. Oh well, more mileage again. The stop at the temple was kinda what I expected, some really well kept gardens, some fancy buildings and plenty of tourists walking around with cameras around their necks wondering why there was some dude decked out in spandex walking around. It would have been better I’m sure if I’d gone on a tour but the aforementioned spandex and more than 5000 feet of climbing still to do that day dissuaded me from that notion.

I returned to the church, now guaranteeing myself more than 170 kms on the day and found Nathan, Eritia and Hilena just getting set to roll out, I joined them for the climb which really just meant we left at the same time and agreed to meet up at the top. Hill climbing is really and every-man-for-himself kind of activity and by the time we had left the city we were already spread out over a couple hundred meters. Nathan is only 160 lbs and no-one could stick with him up the hill.

The first climb was called emigrations canyon and was more of a steep valley than a canyon but that was OK with me, it gave us the ability to see where we were going which is something I am more and more realizing that I appreciate. Lots of the other cyclists say how much they hate it when they can see how far they’ve got to go, I think it’s the best thing we could get. The grade was very manageable and we had patches of share and the ends of the driveways to the half million dollar homes along the road. It was very obvious that we were entering a rather affluent part of the country. Besides Bountiful earlier that morning and a couple of rich suburbs of Boise we really haven’t seen a whole ton of wealth this summer. When we talk about poverty so many times each day the wealth of an area is something you quickly notice from the seat of your bike. We make jokes sometimes about our campsite looking like as refugee camp with 150 people lined up bowls in hand to get dinner. Really though more often than not this week our patch of town has been the wealthiest, thousand dollar bikes in the fields and hundred dollar tents set up amongst them, often clotheslines can be seen with more than a thousand dollars worth of cycling shorts hanging on them (that’s only 10 pairs of bibs if you were wondering how long these clotheslines are). Really though, we’ve spent a lot of time being wealthy in surroundings that are less so. Today was the polar opposite.

Oh yeah, Emigrations Canyon, that’s where I was at. This road was also chock full of recreational cyclists flying up and down the hill, well mostly flying down the hill because they’re locals and are smart enough to climb up in the morning and come downhill in the afternoon when it’s getting hot. There must be a huge shop in town that sells only specialized because it was certainly the majority brand out there. There were a couple really sweet bikes spotted too, people riding HED Jet wheels (90 mm I think) on a 2007 Felt DA for a quick jaunt up the mountain, again the wealth of the area was apparent.

The top of the pass greeted us with the other half of FCRC’s refreshments for the day, gatorade, powerbars and water. The latest joke is that Canadians should spell it Gatourade, I don’t think it’ll catch on though. We then took off down the other side of the pass and hooked up with the interstate. It was freshly paved and black as night. The heat was rising off of it and it was steeper than the first pass. This valley (Parley’s Canyon) was broader and had less shade, well no shade at all, and the sun was even higher in the sky. Within about 10 minutes of getting on that road I had sweat beading on my skin and actually flowing down my arms and legs. All of the sunscreen from my face ended up in my eyes and I started to loose a good amount of water due to tears as well. the three bottles I had filled up were empty in 45 minutes, luckily that meant I was also at the summit; six thousand seven hundred feet or something like that, the highest we’d been on the tour to date.

The roll down from the summit to the campground wasn’t quite just a roll down. We still had plenty of climbing to do but it was all quite a bit tamer. We caught up with Hans Doef and Laura Holtrop in Park city and rode with them for the remainder of the day. Just as we left town and were pretty sure it was a 3 km coast down to the state park we saw our last nemesis for the day, a 5 % mile long hill. The comments were of the flavour that shall not be repeated here.

Camp here is pretty cool, we’ve got a picnic shelter for eating next to the mobile kitchen and our tents are in the walk-in campsites across a bay in the lake. We spent a bit of time down by the lake reading in the shade this afternoon, more laziness is planned for tomorrow and there is a church service planned for the park tomorrow evening. Monday we get started with the Rockies (we crossed Wasatch today they’re apparently independent from the Rockies) and another fantastic week will begin. It’s hard to believe we’re already three weeks in, this one seemed to go fast. Each day that you spend more than 6 hours on the bike there isn’t a whole lot of other stuff that gets accomplished, it means that the days really go by quick.

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