Posted by: rustymccain | June 19, 2011

Bryce is Nice!

This post is for yesterday’s ride.  We had no internet access last night. I will post about today’s adventure a little later.

Just when I thought our ride could not get more beautiful, it does. Yesterday was a good day, we got a good night’s sleep and today we braced ourselves for the second of our toughest four days. I really don’t know if it is the toughest four days, but for now, it looks like it. Today’s route was to take us from Panguitch, a quaint little town in the middle of about 5 national parks, to Boulder, a town of less than 200 people. Because of all the national park land here and the ruggedness of the terrain, towns are few and far between. Our ride today we figured to be between 92 and 98 miles.

Near Bryce Canyon, Utah

When we started our ride, the temperature was 39 degrees. We had prepared for cool summer weather but didn’t prepare for that cold. By the time we got out of town, we started losing the feeling in our toes and our fingers. It was not the most pleasant of feelings, but it was really nice to have something hurt more than my butt.

We got about 7 miles our of town and started a climb toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Amazingly, in the space of about 2 minutes, it seemed to warm up 20 degrees. I know it probably was not that profound, but Ray and I both noticed it at the same time. We soon got pretty comfortable and again enjoyed perfect weather. The rest of our ride today would be nothing but a panorama of some of the most beautiful rock formations I have ever seen. And you have a lot more time to see them on a bike!

The Boys Near Bryce Canyon

While the route was beautiful it was also tough. Lots of climbing and lots of scary downhills. Toward the end of the ride, we were on a three-mile stretch of road called the “Hog’sback”. It ran along a ridge and had up to 1500 foot drop-offs on each side. There were not guard rails. The wind was swirling. I am not saying I was scared, but at the end of the ride, we had to go by the local fire station and get the “jaws of life” to get my hands off my handlebars.

Our maps state that some of our climbs reach 14% grade in Utah. We think we found them today. On one particularly hard climb, we ran into two ladies, Becky and Carly, who turned out to be riding a similar route to us. We were able to talk to them at a rest break at the summit. There they instantly gained my total respect. Not only were they doing our same route, they are pulling the B.O.B trailers that we had decided would be too difficult! They are doing a fantastic job and are very determined, so I will be pulling for them to make it all the way to the Atlantic.

Canyon Riding Near Boulder, Utah

Our ride ended up being 94 miles. Despite being very difficult, it didn’t kill us and we are currently looking for stuff that isn’t moving. If it isn’t, we will eat it.

We are still on target and tomorrow start with a 15 mile climb. If we can get through tomorrow and the next day, we get a rest day!


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