The Hot Heat!

24 06 2010

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Saturday 19
Mileage: 63.55
Average Speed: 13.5  

The climb today was one we had been dreading for almost a week now as our maps show the route beginning in the heart of Cedar City at 6,000 feet and gaining almost a mile in altitude up to 10,500 feet. After 23 slow and agonizing yet breathtaking (in more ways than one!) miles we reached the summit at Cedar Breaks National Monument. The view from here was an incredible mixture of reds, oranges, yellows, and whites spread out over a massive sandstone canyon complete with spires and mesas. Along the climb we met a few groups of nice people who couldn’t believe that we had biked all the way up from Cedar City. After enjoying some lunch at the summit we began what we thought would be a nice relaxing downhill into Panguitch where we would end the day. Little did we know we had a series of short, but steep up hills before we would eventually descend the 4,000 feet into town. The descent went fast (But not too fast!) and effortlessly as we coasted the remaining 40 miles to the finish. After checking a few different campgrounds we settled on Bryce Canyon Pines Campground and enjoyed nice warm showers and good nights sleep.

6/20/10
Mileage: 85.30
Average: 16.6

Today was a great ride and our longest so far.  It wasn’t like it was an easy ride either.  There were a total of three climbs where we went up about 1500 feet on each.  During this time we went through beautiful Red Canyon National Park and were able to enjoy the scenery for 10 miles.  Something different about this part of the ride is that it was on a relatively new bike path.  This was a nice change in that it allowed freedom from traffic and enabled us to talk the whole time.  After reaching all the summits we had a great descent into the canyon where Escalante River is.  We had mostly been in the desert with the beautiful red rock all around us.  The change in vegetation on our way down made the area surrounding the river look like an oasis with bright green trees and a shallow river.  We really wanted to stay there for the night however, the campground was full.  With no safe place to set up camp along side the road we had to return to Escalante State Park to camp for the night. 

Once we got there we took out all of our maps to see how many miles we are going to be logging for our journey.  We figured out that by the time we get to Boston in early August we are going to be logging 4,000 miles.  We were all surprised, however, after the initial shock it began to make sense.  The maps don’t take us on the most direct routs in avoidance of bigger mountains as well as unsafe roads for biking.  Although, there was no avoiding Monarch Pass in Colorado.  In about two weeks we will be doing our toughest climb where we will reach 12,000 feet!  Eek!    

Something else we have wanted to comment about on the blog for a few days now is something that Joe told us.  As many of you may know, a couple years ago we had Orange bracelets made with Eric’s initials on them.  We gave them out to as many of Eric’s friends and family as our supplies would allow for.  One day when we were all climbing, Joe was struggling.  Then he looked down at his bracelet and thought about Eric and others who have fought and lost their battle to cancer. When he brought it up after the climb, it became aware that we had all done this at various times while climbing.  Our motivation and drive for making it over the next summit and eventually to Boston remains strong. 

6/21/10
Mileage: 60.38
Average: 14.8

We ran through the typical morning routine and before we knew it we were continuing our journey through Utah.  We seem to enjoy climbing as we immediately begin biking up a very steep hill to begin this day’s ride.   We road over a few rolling hills before enjoying a few miles of relatively flat road.  It was during this time that Colin and Joe decided to express their emotions the only way they could, through song.  They alternated lines with Colin beginning and Joe responding.  While we know that they are good singers Alex may have thought otherwise.  The lyrics fit to the tune “On top of Spaghetti” and went something like this:

                                    My body’s not happy

                                    My body’s not glad

                                    I want this to over

                                    Before I get mad

                                    We went over a big hill

                                    In the blazing hot sun

                                    I want it to be over

                                    But man is this fun

Now we know you have two questions going through your head and yes they are writing more songs and are willing to sing at house parties…

Overall the ride was a good one, the weather was nice and we were able to enjoy a breeze that kept us cool as we ascended about 4,000 feet up the mountain.  When coming down the mountain we decided to stop part way down to eat lunch.  It was when we were finishing that our friend we had met in Eureka, Nevada arrived.  After talking to John we established that we were heading to the same campsite and agreed to share.  We rode with him for a while down the mountain but eventually split up as our rugged companion is fully loaded with at least 100 pounds worth of gear.  It was beautiful to be able to watch the trees of the mountain transform into the big red rocks that surrounded the little town of Torrey.

We arrived at the campsite to see a “Full Campgrounds” prominently hung before you enter.  Now, lucky for us we are fortunate enough to have Brittany.  For she was able to go ahead of us and secure a campsite before they filled up, making our night that much easier.  To make things even better she had popcorn and beer in celebration on Colin’s birthday (June 22).  We munched on the popcorn and before we knew it our friend John arrived.  We all ate dinner together and talked about the next days ride.  It was during this time that John shared his stories with us regarding the websites “couch surfer” and “warm showers”.  He mentioned how he had met some nice people and recommended we look into it, which we agreed to do. 

Overall it was a successful day.  We were able to reach 1,000 miles for the trip, camp out with a fellow traveler and celebrate old man Colin’s birthday.  We definitely look forward to what the rest of the surprises that this trip will bring us. 

6/22/10
Mileage: 88.93
Average: 16.4 

In honor of Colin’s Birthday, Brittany made eggs for breakfast.  Our friend John stuck around while we cooked due to the offer of a warm breakfast; a much needed change for all of us!  We were surprised since John usually leaves around 6 is in the morning to get going for the day.  Then after a great breakfast we got going around 10.  Many miles down the road we caught up with John again and biked with him to Hanksville.  There Alex and Colin ordered a pizza that Colin thinks might have saved his life because the rest of the day they didn’t each much due to the extreme heat.  After Hanksville there is absolutely nothing for 50 miles, nothing but a desert.  The only thing that saved us from over heating was the wind.  We would have to guess that the temperature was in the high 90’s which is quite brutal when biking close to 90 miles. 

At one point Colin was running very low on water and was starting to feel dehydrated.  He had learned, from the book Born to Run, if you take a sip of water and hold it in your mouth for a while your body begins to feel hydrated.  He did this for a few miles until we saw the white stallion van coming to save the day.  However, the van didn’t slow down and kept going around the bend.  We started to freak out that we may have just lost our only opportunity to fill up to carry on the rest of the ride.  Luckily, Brittany was just looking for a safe place to stop the car.  We rested in the shade of the car and rehydrated before carrying on.  With only one more climb to go and about 15 miles left for the day we were happy to get out of this blazing sun.  We crossed over the Colorado River and stopped for the day.  From there we drove 2 miles to a campground which is right on Lake Powell.  The lake was formed as a result of the Colorado River being damned.  First things first, cool off time!  All five travelers (including Bandit) went for a swim in the lake.  Bandit surprised Colin with the ultimate birthday present, his first actual swim; doggy paddle and all!  While cooking dinner we continually re-entered the cool water the lake had to offer.  Curiously enough, there were fewer bugs if we waded out into the water than there were on land.  Because of this, Colin and Joe decided to eat their soup while standing in the water.  Colin then decided to sit, float his bowl, and enjoy a dinner with the water as his table.  He exclaimed “This is the best dinner ever!  I can eat and pee at the same time!!!”  What a Birthday! 

With the sun quickly setting, we set up our tents only about 5 feet from the water.  We came to find, even with the sun on the other side of the world, we could see clearly because of the bright moon.  Although it was a warm day, it was a great ride and our longest yet! 

In sweat and sunscreen,
Cow Pie, The Lorax, Dirty Diaper and Fallen Turtle

PS: Throughout our journey thus far, our actions have resulted in witty nick names.  Can you put the name to the nick?

PPS: We ran out of time to type a post for the 23rd.  For now, in a sentence, it was hot and their bodies were tired.  Today we will enter Colorado, our 4th state!  Wahoo!

The ride down to Escalante River

All three biking!

Sharing a campsite with John!

The view next to our campsite in Capital Reef National Park

The Colorado River

The best dinner ever!

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3 responses

25 06 2010
mom utz

Wow what a great blog
You guys are so cute
It’s really an amazing trip and adventure you are on.
Keep those wheels spinning
Loves you guys
Mom Utz

26 06 2010
patricia

Happy Belated birthday to Colin and love your posts. We can see you are having the time of your life!

27 06 2010
Amanda

Colin I owe you a birthday dinner and birthday cake now!! I’m just going to have to have a combinded Britt/Colin birthday dinner party I guess when you get back, however the whole eating and peeing at the same time might not work in the house…my mom might be mad! We miss you!! My mom says hi! Love you guys!!

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