Post 70.3 Utah: 6hour 95 mile ride

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The day after 70.3 Utah Jo, Pete, Fiona, and I met up and went to Zion National Park. We drove through the man-made tunnel, took the shuttle to the far end of the park, and did a few hikes up to the Grotto and the Emerald Pools. Our legs were a bit sore from the day prior. It was great to finally hang out with our mates.

We had left-overs, made some cake, and I passed out watching The Big Lebowski and not finishing all of my red wine. ☹

At some point during the day I had the great idea to pass on driving 4 hours R/T to Bryce Canyon and instead go for a 100mile bike ride. So that was the plan and by surprise, we woke up, and continued on with the plan.

I cooked Fiona one of my favorites: Eggs over easy on top of fried bread. Soo good and something we hardly ever eat because we rarely buy eggs or vegetable oil but we had made brownies and cake after the race so we just went with it.

I took Sydney for a walk around the RV park and we got our gear together. Some clif shot bloks, Gatorade, coke, redbull, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas.

I used the “Strava Global Heatmap” https://www.strava.com/heatmap#9.05/-113.62184/37.31992/blue/ride which helps identify where anyone has ridden or ran using Strava. There was a nice figure 8 loop in which half was used widely and then another, not so much. I estimated it to be 100miles from St. George up to Enterprise, UT. I also used some google maps and it looked good.

The goal was 100 miles and to just enjoy exploring Utah on 2 wheels.

We headed up Main Street where 2,500 athletes crossed a now imaginary finish line just 2 days prior. Up Diagonal Street to Rt 18 to where I saw Lionel Sanders flying to the win and course record as well. We turned west on Rt 8 which had a great bike lane with smooth pavement. Soon, we were on a Native American reservation, The Shivwits. We saw cows and farms. We had a nice short 15% grade climb up to Gunlock state park. It was a beautiful lake and absolutely quiet. Perfect spot for us to paddleboard next time we’re up this way. Then we passed through the small town of Gunlock where a dog was laying down in the middle of the road. Up ahead the planned on Rt 006 turned out to be a dirt road; the strava riders must have been on mountain bikes. So we headed up the gradual climb and at the top we could see Veyo Volcano. I hadn’t noticed all of them during the race but this one was a pyramid shape extinct volcano and a beauty. I saw at least 4 other volcanoes as well. And lava rock was everywhere. The rock formations, the colors, are pure beauty. We came to Rt 18 and hit up Family Dollar for some sugar.

Then, we headed North with the intention of going to the town of Enterprise but soon, the road narrowed without a shoulder. I waited for Fiona just as I got a front flat. She called me and then she finally turned up; she had gotten driven off the road a bit but was ok. So, I decided there to turn off the highway and towards Pine Valley. We were now at 5,500’ after climbing 3,000’ and with 9 miles till the recreation area, knew we’d be climbing more. I could see snow in the 10,000’ mountains overlooking the St. George area. We rode through the fantastic campgrounds which were also empty at 7,000’ which made me happy since out next half-iron distance race in 5 weeks is at altitude in Show Low, Arizona. We filled up the bottles with natural spring water. Then, we headed back. The heat was noticeable dropping back to 5,500’ and soon enough we were back at Family Dollar for more sugar: Coke & Mt Dew.

Volcano Veyo was right in front of us with some more climbing. Then, we passed the exit of Snow Canyon where we emerged with 6 miles to go in the race. This time, we stuck to the bike path which was like a rollercoaster and a lot of fun especially hitting 49mph without even trying. 2X I said “WOOOAAA YAAAYYYY”. The views were incredible and we also headed to the Red Cliffs overlooking St George.

We headed back and while I was disappointed we didn’t hit 100 miles, (95miles, 5hr55min moving time, 6,421′ of ascend, ~234TSS), my legs were now shot and I was done. It was a great day and Utah is beautiful. Fiona worked hard and got it done even though I always give her shit.

On the “Central to Top of PineValley” segment, Fiona came 3rd female and dead-last in 23rd position for the 11.55mile climb. In fact, there have only been 54 attempts. But, on another segment right after the Volcano before the entrance to Snow Canyon, Fiona and I are again nearly dead-last because we stopped to take pictures and videos: my spot is 3,213 of 3,292 on Diamond Valley/Snow Canyon Descent. So today, “we took the segment less traveled”. It was quite, bare, and awesome.

2018 Schedule:

Half Marathon Vegas, Nevada (May 2018)

Deuces Wild Half ironman, Arizona (June 2018)

Las Vegas Half ironman, Nevada (August 2018)

Sandia Crest Marathon, New Mexico (September 2018)

Bartlett Lake Olympic Triathlon, Arizona (October 2018)

IRONMAN Arizona (November 2018)

Tucson Marathon (December 2018)

 

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