A Note From Fatty: This is part 2 in “Actions and Consequences,” my story about the final big ride The Hammer and I took in preparation for racing the Salt to Saint. You’ll find Part I here.
We were going…finally. Since we didn’t get out the door (the second time) ’til nearly 8:00am, it was plenty warm; I didn’t bring armwarmers, though The Hammer did. Neither of us brought jackets. Why should we? The weather forecast had us down for 0% chance of rain ’til 1pm, and after that we just had 30% chance of thundershowers for the rest of the day.
Our plan, as we had agreed the night before, was to ride ten miles out beyond Cedar Fort — one of our most frequently-ridden TT routes — then come back to Redwood Road and take it to Goshen. From there, we’d take Goshen Canyon to Nephi, then keep going until we figured turning around and heading back toward home would give us 200 miles.
But during the first few miles of the ride, I had an idea for a simpler, more elegant, revised route. “Let’s skip the Cedar Fort nonsense,” I said. “Let’s instead just hang a left on Redwood Road and then follow the Salt to Saint race route until we’ve gone a hundred miles. That’ll put us somewhere between Fountain Green and Manti. Then let’s just turn around and retrace our route back to home. That way, we’ll see more of the course we’ll be riding in a couple weeks and have a better idea of what doing this race will be like.”
The Hammer looked at me, startled. Why was she so startled? Because I usually don’t have ideas like that — ideas that simplify, are elegant, and demonstrate an understanding of distances between towns and where roads lead.
It was almost as if I had been looking at maps or something.
She agreed, and by so doing, made the third alteration of where we were headed, and what time we’d be at any given point.
We wouldn’t consider any of this at all, however, until much later in the day.
The Hammer and I rode along, taking turns pulling, marveling at how little effort it took us to go pretty darned fast when we work together, down low on our Shivs. On a flat road with no wind, we can sustain 21 – 25mph with very little work at all.
Of course, the road isn’t always flat, and the wind is sometimes in your face. And — for about a ten mile section of pavement — there is the absolutely worst chip seal I have ever ridden on. Within five miles, your feet, hands and…other soft tissue…go completely numb. “I’m not going to be happy about being back on this part of the road when we hit mile 160,” The Hammer said, and I agreed.
But even with all this, we kept up the kind of pace we wanted to maintain in this thirty-hour race — a pace where our legs never feel like they’re anywhere near the red zone, but by no means lollygagging.
By the time we got to our first planned pit stop — the gas station and convenience store in Goshen, we had been out just under 2.5 hours, and had gone 50 miles. We were cruising, on average, around 20mph. Not bad at all.
I refilled our bottles; The Hammer bought us cheese danishes and a Mountain Dew to share.
As we got ready to leave, I excused myself to use the restroom in the gas station. As I stood facing the toilet, I could not help (without closing my eyes anyway) but look at this incredible work of art, mounted at eye level on the wall behind the toilet:
Any road rider who has ever ridden around Utah Lake will confirm: this adorable painting has been on the wall since…well…ever.
“We should take up a collection to get new bathroom art at that place,” I commented to The Hammer.
“What art?” The Hammer asked.
And that, my friends, is the difference between boys and girls.
A Beautiful Day
As we left the convenience store, the lady working there asked where we were from and where we were going (considering that this is the only place to refuel for many miles around, she probably gets to ask this question to a lot of cyclists).
“We’re from Alpine, and we’re headed out toward Manti, and then back home,” The Hammer replied.
“Well, you sure picked a perfect day for such a long ride,” the lady behind the counter said.
And she was right. The weather was warm — but not hot — and there was no wind to speak of. A perfect day.
And it would remain perfect for another couple hours, at which point it would become something else altogether. Something amazing and powerful and as scary as hell.
Which is where we’ll pick up tomorrow.